The Big Move Part II

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Once the pipes were removed from their windchests, the air ductwork disconnected and the electrical wires cut (all wiring had to be replaced to meet current electric code requirements), the heavy wooden chests had to be dealt with.

On the upper level, we made supports above the chest level out of doubled two-by-fours, with plenty of diagonal bracing to prevent load shifting.
Starting with the smaller chests to get a feel for the job, we used rope falls to gently and safely get each chest down to the lower level.
Once down, it was easy to swing it around and pass it through the tonal aperture.


Other members of the crew, waiting on the other side, guided it onto the dolly so it could be rolled out to the truck.
One of the most important challenges facing our team of volunteers was constant awareness of the fragility of organ parts and the danger of working high above a concrete floor.

Access to the upper level was by vertical ladders, and the access walkboards within the organ were very narrow.

We certainly did not want any injuries to our people. Nor did we want any damage to the organ. One simple slip could cause a fall damaging dozens or more pipes and costing hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair or replace them.

For this reason we took breaks when we got tired, and drank coffee or soda to stay alert, since due to our time constraints we had to work late into the night.

Each time we got another chest down, we had to move the rigging support crossbeam to a new location for the next one. It was then fastened in position and tested for rigidity before the weight of the chest was put on it.
The larger chests required more attention to rigging. The ropes had to be placed so they did not put pressure in the wrong place.

Where necessary, spreader bars were used to keep the ropes from shifting if the chest had to be tilted to clear the support frame, and ropes were seized to the hooks to prevent them from sliding on them. Fortunately, the chests were relatively balanced in weight, which made our job easier.

One of the swell chests, which alone held seven ranks totaling over 500 pipes, required both rope and chain falls due to its weight. Once we had that one, the largest in the entire organ,  safely down, we knew we could finish the job on schedule.
Of course, not only did we have to get it lowered to the bottom level, but we then had to turn it on its side and get it through the narrow tonal port, which it cleared by inches.

While the lifting gear made this relatively easy, once we had it halfway through the opening we had to use people power (with the whole crew) to get it onto the dolly and roll it out to the truck.


Finally, we had all the chests safely down and could load them into the truck. The two large relay cabinets that housed the electropneumatic switching for the various divisions, were also removed using the rope falls and loaded into the truck.

The organ chamber was now empty, except for ten large pipes that were not sold with the organ --- I understood that they were an incomplete octave for the 32' ContreBourdon that were to be unstoppered and used as part of a 16' open rank in the replacement instrument.

Now. the only major parts left were the blower assembly and the two big combination action relay cabinets, all located in the basement blower room. 


Moving the Blower

Home ] Where it Was ] The Big Move ] The Big Move Part II ] The Big Move Part III ] The New Church ] Console Rebuilding ] Renovation ] Final Preparation ] Installation ] Credits ]

This page was last updated on 11/10/08.
All content copyright 2006 Brian F. Bailey, W4OLF