How to Fix Organ Bellows

Written by cecil fontaine
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How to Fix Organ Bellows
Organs rely on bellows to create sound. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Pump organs and harmoniums, though popular during the 1800s, are now considered antique and sometimes even novelty instruments. These organs create their distinctive sound by using bellows to channel air through the instrument. Since the pump organ and harmonium are reliant on bellows for producing sound, any hole in the bellows will completely impair these instruments. If you play your pump organ or harmonium and the only sound that it emits is a rush of air from the base of the instrument, there is damage to the bellows that must be repaired.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Bellows cloth
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Access the bottom of the organ structure to locate the puncture in the bellows, which are only accessible from the back of the instrument. Remove the rear cover panel (locate and remove all the screws that secure the panel along its perimeter) and then pull it off and set it aside. Once the panel is removed, you will see the bellows, located along the bottom of the instrument's structure.

  2. 2

    Inspect the bellows to identify the location and size of the puncture. Measure the area of the hole, which must then be covered with bellows cloth. When measuring the bellows cloth, cut a patch that it is larger than the actual hole, as the new cloth must completely seal the hole in the bellows in order to close any possible leaks. The cloth patch should be larger than the hole by an inch all along the perimeter.

  3. 3

    Line the outside perimeter of the hole in the bellows with glue and then place the piece of bellows cloth over the hole. Apply pressure to the edges of the bellows cloth patch with your finger until it dries in place (this can take several minutes--check the container for specific instructions on drying time). After the patch is in place and the hole is completely covered, replace the rear panel of the organ and play the instrument to test the bellows.

Tips and warnings

  • Contact cement or hide glue are good choices for glue to adhere the piece of bellows cloth to the hole in the bellows.
  • When choosing bellows cloth, look for the thickest material available, as this will seal the hole most effectively.

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