Rieger Tour - Metal Pipes
Previous: Wood Pipes
The raw material for metal pipes is lead and tin. these are used in various ratios for different purposes in a large instrument.
The lead and tin alloy is melted in a cauldron. This is heated to several hundred degrees (F or C, either way!) to form a remarkably thin liquid.
The liquid metal is poured out on a table to cool into a large sheet. In the foreground you can see two of the carpet covered V-shape stands which hold the round pipes while they are being constructed. At the right edge of the picture, you can see the yellow recycle bin for the 50% metal (half lead and half tin).
The metal sheets are wrapped around this large drum and "turned" down to a specific thickness. In the foreground you can see the cutting tool which is slowly traveling across from left to right. It is moved by the belt which is attached (at the right end) to the large drum. The shiny part of the metal at the left has been turned down to the desired thickness. The duller part at the right is what the metal looks like after cooling (and before cutting).
Here we see the sets of metal templates which are used to cut out the pieces which are used to construct metal pipes.
Here, workers discuss template placement. Notice the special rulers hanging at the left. They are marked at the cutting points for various types of pipes.
A worker is marking a sheet of lead-tin alloy from the template. Notice the green felt covering on the workbench. This prevents scratching the pipe material.
A shear is used to make straight cuts.
A long roller is used to form the flat sheets into the round pipe shape.
Here, some of the pipes are stored while work is in progress.
The tapered parts are formed by "hammering" them over wooden forms. The "hammer" is actually a large piece of hardwood.
We can see the wooden tapered forms here. They are hooked under the inverted U-shape holders on the bench so that they stick out into the air for easy access during the pipe forming process.
Here we see some tapered pipes ready to have their seam soldered together. Soldering is a very tricky thing as the pipes themselves are made of "solder"! The lead-tin alloy is the same thing that electricians and plumbers use for soldering.
Some more pipes waiting for additional work. In the foreground we can see the oval cutout at the ends where the mouth will be soldered in a subsequent step.
More work in progress. The ladder leads to additional storage above.
Previous: Wood Pipes
Virtual Tour of Rieger Orgelbau © 1999 Richard Crowley