Tommy Forney's note to me and MMD about his Artizan-Wurlitzer organ
comes just at the same time as Bob Conant's note mentioning that the
newspapers used to seal the planks of organ bellows and reservoirs can
often date an organ (or at least its last renovation).
And Tommy used an old trick of paper conservators to render the paper
readable. Conservators sometimes use alcohol to make a paper overlay
temporarily transparent so that the printing beneath the overlay can be
read: wetting the paper makes it transparent, and the alcohol soon
evaporates without damage to the object. Of course, if the overlay
Tommy is dealing with is shellac, it would be soluble in alcohol, as
well as in household ammonia; so he was right to use mineral spirits.
I meant to tell Tommy that Scott Olson says that replacements are
available for those pesky Wurlitzer pot-metal 4-in-one valves. I don't
know who it is who is making them, so contact Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for details. It was my first thought, too, to replace the ganged metal
valves with individual wood unit valves.
Gordon Forcier (email@example.com) is now making authentic
Wurlitzer-type wood unit valves, taking over the business from Jill
Cooper, of Wichita. If you are crowded for space, you could consider
using the smaller plastic Lauter-Humana-type valves that Doyle Lane
(and, I think, Player Piano Co.) sells. They are used on Stinson
organs, but I don't have any experience with them myself. However
having a source for replacement metal valves gives you another choice.
As for the finger pneumatics, you are foolish if you don't re-cover
them all right now, while you have them out of the organ. If several
are split wide open, they all need re-covering with the best grade of
thin pneumatic cloth you can find (no Bilon or space-age stuff).