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Building a pedal board - 2 Print E-mail
Written by Vidar Fagerjord   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 21:10
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Update 10.11.2008

I've made the hinges at the back of the pedals. I got some pieces of stainless steel sheets cut to size (20x150mm). I made a "template" from a scrap piece of wood by drilling the holes at the correct positions, and used a screw to mark the alignment:

All I needed to do was to place the template in the vice so that the hole in question lined up with the drill bit. From there, it was 32 x 3 times "press for instant hole":

After all the holes were drilled, I grinded the pieces to a smooth surface:

I marked the placement and pre-drilled the screw holes to prevent the pedals from cracking:

I made one pedal as a template, and used it to adjust the placement of the hinges. Here's a shot of the template and all the pedals:

And after a lot of work, this was the result:

I also drilled the hole for the screw that will fasten the pedals to the aft frame. Initially, I didn't plan to have that much "overhang" on the hinges, but as it turned out it was for the best. More on that later.

The next job is to screw all the pedals to the framework in order to mark the exact placement of each pedal on the foremost frame.

The idea to use a steel plate as the hinge came from Raphi Giangiulio's organ. He reports that this method improves on lateral stability and the overall "feel" on the pedals. The only drawback is that the pedals won't be strong enough to stand on, but there's really no need for doing that, I think. At least not on my organ.

After a LOT of hours in the workshop, this project is now well under it's way. The best part? I can already see how it's going to be, and when the pedals are finished and hooked to my Hauptwerk computer, I'll be instantly rewarded. How nice is that?

Update 11.11.2008

You've got to have good knees and a strong back - if you're tight on space! I had to use my living room to get the placement of the pedals right. I made a tool to mark the different arcs (I used it to mark the concavity on the frame as well). One end has a hole for a bolt, the other end has three holes where I can insert a pencil:

This way, it is simple to mark the three main arcs on the pedal board: the front and aft end of the total playing surface, and the aft end of the sharps (viewed from the player's position).

Each pedal should "meet" at a point 9 feet from the front of the sharps. On the image above to the right, you can spot the markings where the sharps will be placed. The distance between each natural (for example C-D, D-E) is 2.5 inches (6,35mm). This measurement should be from the center of each pedal, but you can simply measure from one side of, say, pedal C1 to the same side of the D1 pedal (C1 being the leftmost pedal). Each octave should be 17.5 inches (44,45mm) - this distance must be maintained.

A quick run-through of the measurements (32 note compass, CCC to G, AGO standard):

(8'6" means eight feet and 6 inches)

  • Concavity: 7'6" to 8'6"(both at the front and at the back - i used 9', but I'll go with it anyway)
  • Radiation: 8'6" to 9'6" (i went for 9')
  • Length between toe board and heel board (or playing surface of the naturals): 27"
  • Length of playing surface of sharps: 6.5"
  • Height of sharps above naturals: 1" at player's end, 1.5" at the other end (foremost)
  • Width of playing surface: 7/8" to 15/16" (I used 22mm)
  • Radius of curve of sharps: 8'6" at players end, 9' at the other end (foremost)
  • Depth of touch: 0.5" at the front line of sharps.
  • Weight of touch: 2.5 to 3 pounds
  • Point of speech: midway between top and bottom of travel of the pedal key
  • Placement in relationship to the keyboard:
    • centered under the manuals, middle E is in the center
    • 29.5" from playing surface of keyboard to the top of the middle E
    • Front to back: Pedal DD# (or D2#) front end (at players end) 8.5" to 10" from plumb line dropped from the front edge of keys on the lowest keyboard for 2 or 3 manual organ. 11" for a 4 manual organ.

After a back- and knee-breaking evening on the living room floor, this was the result:

Since I didn't want to mount the pedals with screws just yet, I bent 32 nails and secured the pedals to the frame by putting a nail through the hinge and into the screw holes of the aft frame. The middle E is placed at the center of the pedal board, so this will be your starting point. I laid out all the pedals in relation to the middle E and marked the position on the front of the frame. The holes for the screws at the back of the pedals is placed 26mm apart. This distance is not really important. The most important is to keep the distance between each pedal equal throughout the pedal board in front of the sharps, since this is the playing area.

This start to look GOOD! The next job is to adjust the framework (as you can see, the metal support bars are placed way too wide). I will raise the back of the pedals about 20mm. to get a slope downwards to the front of the pedals. Initially, I thought I could use one metal dowel on each side of the pedals. This won't work since there's not enough space. Instead, I'll use one dowel through the center of each pedal. When the frame is done, I'll get on with that job - not a good idea to do it before the distance between the two concave frame parts is set for good...

As mentioned earlier, the naturals will be topped with a piece of Ramin wood. The sloping playing-thingy's on the sharp keys will be made out of Ramin as well. All the playing surfaces will be mounted using wood dowels and glue.

That's it for today. Now I'll go play some organ!

Update 12.12.2008

I've purchased some musical wire (piano wire), gauge 2.38mm (0.094") to make the pedal springs. I made a simple tool for the process, based on Raphi Giangiulio's idea. Slightly modified, and it worked like a charm.

The tool is made from Ramin leftovers. I think it is necessary to use hardwood because of the forces involved making the springs. It would be bad to wreck the tool in the middle of the process...

The wire is held in place between two washers. You might spot a piece of piano wire going into the tool at two places. I placed one piece above the fastening bolt that tightens the washers. This gives an even pressure on the wire being bent, preventing it from getting loose. The other piece is placed between the washers and the round wooden piece. It's mission is to prevent the wire from being bent out of shape in the process, and gives a straight "leg" on the spring.

The round, wooden part I made from Ramin as well - I used a "cup saw", which is kind of a cup-formed saw with a drill bit in the middle (often used by electricians and plumbers).

The other arm on the tool has a steel screw inserted. I cut the head off to get a "pin". NB! That particular part must be very strong! It carries all the force while bending the spring, and we're talking about a lot of force on that pin!

All I had to do to make a pedal spring was to turn the tool two revolutions (plus a little extra to adjust and make uniform springs). And this was the end result:

Voila! A pedal spring partially made! You might spot a pile of springs in the background.

I made one spring and tested it in a temporary setup I made. I found that the spring had perfect resistance, and I made all the other springs according to the template.

And here's the end result:

(Sorry about the cigarette package...)

The long arm of the spring will be inserted into a hole in the foremost frame, and the short arm into a hole in the pedal. I will make a small slot in the pedal which the short arm will rest in, preventing the spring from twisting while playing.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 21:15
 
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