After further testing and talking with another Deleika owner who has also
played the prototypical 20/31 Raffin, my latest views are:
1. There is no tonal imbalance between the melody and accompaniment
pipes, except to the operator's ears. The case bottom is open all
around, permitting the sound of the lower pipes to reach the grinder's
ears directly, unlike the front melody pipes. (Many church organs are
also located such that the organist has the poorest seat to hear the
sound and judge the balance).
Also, the unreliable valves often starve the front pipes for wind, often
making them asthmatic and flat in pitch.
2. The valve problems are mostly from the lower valve disk being too
stiff on the stem, and tilted out of horizontal. I think I can loosen
them and straighten them on their stems, so they will always seat
3. His Deleika has more troubles with valves and leakage in dry weather.
I hadn't noticed any difference yet.
4. The other owner said that Deleika's white bellows leather is too
porous, hence my wind problems. He said Raffin uses rubberized cloth
similar to player piano bellows, which is far more airtight. Also Raffin
uses a better wind-trunk hose material.
He intends someday to re-cover his Deleika's bellows. Since he rebuilt
his 51-key Ruth a few years ago this should be easy.
I wonder if the recent postings on RTV and other compounds for sealing
leather pouches could be used to advantage here as well? Or would the
silicone just guarantee that no glue would ever stick to the bellows in
5. Both of us nevertheless enjoy our Deleikas. We think the pipework
and sound (given proper wind) is as good as anyone's.
6. Someday I will post to the MMD without numbering the items, but I
think this makes them easier to follow. :-)
[ Re #6 -- and very convenient to reply to! -- Robbie