by Dr. Bill Black


This month we will continue where we left off with the case construction in Part 14. All the fabrication of the case is finished except for the back of the case. The back of the case is basically composed of three parts, the top section with two doors, a center board below the shelf and a removable lower section to access the pressure pump.

In PHOTO A we can see these three parts of the back installed. The center section of the back of the case is mounted below the shelf. The frame for the two doors on the back is also mounted on the upper half of the back. I designed this part of the case so that these parts are screwed together and removable for better access to the internal parts. We have installed the two doors and hinges with removable pins. Later when the crankshaft pulley has been installed, this will prevent the door on the right side from being opened the whole way and the removable pin will allow the door to be taken off for access. Originally, these doors would have had a solid center panel. I wanted the internal workings of the organ to be visible. So, I took the finished doors to the glass shop and had glass installed.

PHOTO B shows another view of the completed doors. In the instance of the Wurlitzer 105 organ, the crankshaft is located above the shelf on which the roll frame is mounted. In the larger Wurlitzer organs, the crankshaft is located below the shelf which holds the roll frame and the crankshaft extends through a hole in the center board. In the case of the 105, the crankshaft extends through the side of the upper frame. Usually an adjustable wooden bearing is mounted on the inside of this board to support the crankshaft where it goes through this board. I will use a surface mount pillow block on the outside of the upper frame.

In PHOTO C we have removed the doors in order to paint the frame.

PHOTO D shows the completed lower section of the back. The panel insert is not actually removable and is just to dress it up a bit. We also used a pressure sensitive Wurlitzer decal from Decals Unlimited for added decoration.

Next month we will continue to decorate the organ case. Some months ago, Bette Largent wrote a great article for the e-zine entitled ALL THAT GOLD. Inspired by that article, I decided to try my hand at working with gold leaf. Rather than using the actual gold leaf, I used the composition leaf which Bette described, available in kit form from Old World Art in Ontario, California. I was happy with the results.

Dr. Bill Black is one of the nation's most knowledgeble Wurlitzer band organ experts. He has made recordings of many band organs and other mechanical music machines which are available for purchase at CarouselStores.com.