Restoration

1911 Kimball Pump Organ restored and repurposed as a Computer desk.

I am showing this project with the intent of letting you know that on occasion I take on very special restoration and repurpose jobs for clients. If you have something that holds a special place in your heart and you would like to talk about restoring it or repurposing it I may be the guy you are looking for... so lets' talk about it.

This is a 1911 classic early American Kimball Pump Organ that has been restored and repurposed into a Computer and/or Writing Desk. These organs were found in many parlors at the turn of the 20th century. They would provide the entertainment for the family after dinner.

The organ components arrived at the shop in dire need of help. The side panels that seemed to be intact were actually coming apart at the glue joints. They were very carefully broken down, cleaned, resurfaced, resquared, and reglued. The upper portion of the organ also arrived basically intact but needed a lot of care in fixing broken panels and many loose joints.

I used original components from the organ as accent pieces where appropriate such as the drawer pulls which are actually the pipe tuning pulls from the original organ. Also, the organ keyboard is captured under the 3/8" glass writing surface. This was Joes' (the client) idea and I must give credit where credit is due… It looks wonderful and really adds to the piece. The desk compartments area consists of 4 drawers, 12 coveys, and a display shelf (for the computer monitor). This area was modeled after the styling of an early American Roll-top desk from the early 1900's. It keeps the new desk components consistent with the original organ styling and works very well.

From a construction perspective the drawers are half-blind dovetails in the front and full dovetails in the rear and slide effortlessly into their compartments. The rear panel is old school mortise and tenon frame construction holding ship lapped floating panels. Full and stopped dados are used for the inner desk compartments area. The writing surface was necessarily small in order to keep the original shape of the organ. To accommodate both a computer keyboard and still have a useable writing surface a keyboard covey was needed. This is located directly behind the glass surface and fully accepts the keyboard as well as a mouse. The computer screen shelf is centered at eye level per the clients' request. The rear panel has cable exists in both the keyboard covey and display shelf areas. The material is white oak and the finish is a Nutmeg Gel Stain followed by a nice wiping varnish.

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