How to build a DIY church organ

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The Independent Online
Do-It-Yourself Corner

Last week we learnt how to make your own dismantleable harpsichord, ready for easy conversion into an Alpine bivouac, and thus ideal for a musical camping holiday.

This week, more ambitiously, we are going to look at the dos and don'ts of building your own church organ.

ON THE PLUS SIDE

Church organs are enormously expensive to buy, even in the budget self- assembly Ikea version. Making your own is so much more economical.

ON THE MINUS SIDE

If you build your own church organ, you are, realistically, going to need a church to put it in, and not all of us do have a handy church available.

ON THE PLUS SIDE

There are many unwanted churches on the market, and there is no reason why you should not pick one up going cheap in your area. Once you have your own church, with church organ installed by yourself, you are in business! You can easily hire the place out for weddings, for instance.

Weddings can be celebrated in all sorts of places these days - stately homes, hotels, golf clubs, hot air balloons - so why not get married in a church as well? You will get full marks for originality ... !

"We got married in a Formula I racing car, actually going round Brands Hatch at the time. There wasn't room in it for the vicar as well, so he drove alongside."

"Really? We got married in a church."

"A church?! Wow - I never thought of doing that! How cool!"

ON THE MINUS SIDE.

Churches have terrible acoustics, and are the worst possible places to put an organ. Church organ music has got a reputation for being impressionistic, that is, sloppy, messy and full of runny colours. Not at all! Church organ music is crisp, dry and pin-point accurate. It is only churches that are sloppy, messy and full of unwanted echoes!

BE THAT AS IT MAY

Be that as it may, it doesn't make sense to put a church organ anywhere else, so I am afraid it's going to be in a church or nowhere, as the bishop said to the actress.

FIRST STEPS

Right from the outset you have to decide how you want your organ powered. There's a tremendous lot of wind needed to go through them there pipes, and there are three main ways in which you can generate that wind.

1. Electricity.

2. Steam-powered bellows.

3. Teams of small boys manning handles behind the organ, in a convenient space where they can also smoke unseen and play video games.

WHICH IS THE RIGHT METHOD FOR ME?

Teams of small boys are not only a standing temptation to vicars, but are also notoriously unreliable. So are steam and mains electricity. Therefore, rather than any of those three, I would go for a small private generator powered by a wind farm.

WHERE SHALL I PUT THE WIND FARM?

On top of the church, of course, you idiot. Nobody thinks that a weather vane is unsightly, so you might as well go the whole hog and install a row of small windmills along the top of your church. In fact, call it an art installation, and you will get sackloads of lottery money for it.

HOW CAN I ERECT A SMALL WIND FARM ON TOP OF A CHURCH ?

This requires a whole article to itself.

Next week, the dos and don'ts of installing a wind farm - or indeed roof garden, paddling pool or helicopter pad - on top of a church.

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