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Building a pedal board - 11 Print E-mail
Written by Vidar Fagerjord   
Wednesday, 15 October 2008 21:10
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Building a pedal board
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Update 08.11.2009

Two coats of clear lacquer, and the pedal board is ready for the final assembly!

I started by adding felt strips to the curved frame pieces at the front. I used a special tool for making holes for the dowel pins. I first cut the felt strips to correct length, then I placed the tool on top of the first dowel pin. I then could position the felt strip accurately sideways. The holes was cut at the center of the strip, since I cut the strips to the same width as the curved frame piece. I then put the felt piece on the dowel pin, then placed the tool on the next pin so that I got the exact spacing. This turned out to be a very fast and accurate method.

I then applied contact cement to the felt strips and the frame using a plastic knife.

When the glue stops being sticky, it is ready. I slid the strip down the dowel pins, and pressed it in place. It is important to keep the strip level with the contact surface before the two glued surfaces comes in contact with each other. I then pressed the felt thoroughly to the frame, making sure that the whole strip had full contact. When the glue has hardened, the strip won't come off easily!

I then proceeded with the pedals. I found that 5mm felt wasn't enough to make the pedal board as silent as possible, so I added small felt pads on both sides of the pedal. That resulted in a very quiet operation, although a pedal board won't be dead silent!

I abandoned the idea of using leather in the slots in the tip of each pedal. I cut the slots too narrow for this to work, and I also found that the resistance might be too big. And since there's very little lateral play in the pedals anyway, I decided to opt for another route. I simply lined the inside of the slots with fabric from an old pair of jeans! The fabric is VERY resistant to wear. And since there's a little room on each side of the dowels now, the fabric should last a long time.

I cut strips with the same width as the pedals are high, then inserted the fabric in the slots as shown in the image above. That gave me the length for each pedal. I then applied contact cement to the fabric strips and the inside of the slot. By holding the two ends of the strips with one hand, I could utilize the plastic knife to insert the fabric fully into the slot without making contact with the sides of the slot. I then pushed the fabric on to the sides of the slot and used the plastic knife to press the fabric thoroughly to each side of the slot.

I then trimmed the excess fabric, and glued some felt pads on the tip of the pedals:

This proved to be adequate for silent operation. However, if I could have gotten hold of some thicker felt, that would've been the best solution. Anyway, this method works too...

Here's a shot of the felt pads "in use":

I then mounted the pedal springs. I had pre-drilled holes in each pedal and in the frame piece, using a drill bit that's slightly smaller than the piano wire I used to make the springs. I used a hammer to jam the wire into the holes, and they won't come out unless i want them to!

I also mounted a felt strip under the heelboard, which press down on the pedals ever so slightly. This quiet the operation as well as stops the pedals from making contact with the heelboard.

You can also spot the screws used to fasten the pedals.

And that's it! Apart from the back cover, the magnets and the electronics, the pedal board is now finished! I have to figure out the best solution for mounting the reed contacts, so I'll have to play around with that a bit. I also need to glue one magnet to the tip of each pedal, and make the covers for the back. I also need to mount some felt underneath the pedal board, but I need to find out if that's enough to dampen the noise of the pedals when they slam up and down.

But enough talk: Here's the fruit of almost a years worth of work, splinters, glue, dust, sneezing, sore hands, blisters, stained fingers... In short, here's the pedal board:

And here's two images of how the pedal board looks when placed under the organ bench (yes, the bench is faced the wrong way, but that's because it is faced the keyboards! The pedal board will go on the other side when the electronics are mounted!)

Now I have to find the best way to mount the electronics, and the pedal board is finished. Next up will be adding swell/crescendo pedals and some toe pistons.

Man, I hope I haven't forgotten how to play pedals!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 21:15
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