Well; where do I start? My trade is somewhat unusual. How many people do you know who build pipe organs for a living?
That's what I do. Proper Church type organs with pipes on the front (and many more than people see on this facade, behind these.) These organs are operated by blowing wind into the correct parts of the pipes to make them produce a sound.
A typical small country Church may have thirty or so pipes on display, but two or three hundred more pipes hidden behind them! Some have many more.
On the country Church model we've used here, the pipes can vary in their "speaking length" (that is to say, the part of the pipe which actually makes the sound) anything from between ¼ inch to 16 feet. Some pipes are closed off at the top, giving them a tone which is approximately an octave lower (half the frequency.) This way, a pipe of 8 feet length which is closed "stoppered", can produce a 16 foot equivalent pitch!
Some of the largest organs built have pipes which have a "natural" length of 32 feet. The biggest natural length pipes ever made are 64 feet long. One example is Sydney Town Hall in Australia. These don't produce a very musical tone, but they do give the organ "depth", and its results are felt, rather than heard as a note!
There is an organ in Atlantic City in the USA which, if it were all working, is alleged to produce the same sound pressure level as 25 brass bands! Sadly, this organ seems just too big for all of it to be fully functional at the same time! Click here to hear an exerpt of all the parts of it which are presently working, at "full blast"!
A potted history of my career:
I started my organ building career in a small Town in Essex, UK. I worked there for 19 years. The Company eventually closed down, so I went self employed for six Months. During this time I worked for a Company in London. This is one of the largest organ building Companies in the UK, and export organs all over the World. I now work full time there. Click here to visit their site.
Below are a few photos taken during the construction of the Companies last main project, a large 4 manual organ in Atlanta, built in two cases.
This shows the linkages (trackers,) and
levers (roller arms) in part of the organ.
The mainly finished right-hand case of the organ.
All the mechanical parts are in place, but it's
waiting for the pipes to be installed and tuned.
The last few members of the team left from the physical installation, enjoying a moment of leisure. I'm the ugly person on the right!
Another lunch time picture. The site foreman, Renato is on the left (drinking from his Chelsea mug!!!)
The finished article. Yes it does sound every bit as good as it looks.