How to repair a pump organ bellows

Written by james werning
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How to repair a pump organ bellows
An old pump organ, if properly restored, can bring joyful music to friends and family for many years to come. (vintage organ close up image by MAXFX from

A restored pump organ -- also known as a reed organ -- is not only an attractive piece of furniture; it can also bring beautiful music to your family and friends. A common problem with old pump organs happens when the sheepskin material on the air bellows becomes dry, brittle, and cracked from the repetitive pumping action. Thankfully a broken bellows can usually be repaired with a small investment of time and money.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Utility knife
  • Lambskin
  • Scissors
  • Wood glue
  • Hot melt glue
  • Hot melt glue gun

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  1. 1

    Cut out the damaged bellows material with a utility knife, removing material all the way to the wooden frame if necessary.

  2. 2

    Stretch a piece of new lambskin over the area to be replaced, with the smooth side down. Draw a line on the lambskin around the outside edge of the hole, leaving about one inch of overlapping material. Cut the new lambskin along the pencil mark with scissors.

  3. 3

    Apply a bead of wood glue or hot melt glue around the edge of the hole. Press the new lambskin firmly into position. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Tips and warnings

  • Hot melt glue is preferable to wood glue, if you are covering folds or creases, because the hot melt glue, if liberally applied, can prevent air from leaking through folds in the creased areas.

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