Organbuilding by Verschueren
Organbuilding activities characterised by vision and enthusiasm have been undertaken in Heythuysen since 1891. In order to achieve an optimal result, we strive to make or to restore every element of each organ in our own workshop. Please see our photo gallery for an impression of our workshops and of the craftsmanship of our employees.
We have developed a vision for the building and restoring of organs in different styles based on our extensive experience. Organbuilding is, as it has always been, changing, and we take care not only to follow the developments but also to participate in them. For this reason, we invest time and attention in documentation and research. In addition we focus extensively on developments in the organ world both within and outside The Netherlands and enjoy exchanging ideas about our own approach with clients and organ experts.
During recent times, we have sought inspiration from historic organs when building new instruments. The sound and concrete expression of historic instruments are the driving forces behind the creative realisation of our new organs. It is no surprise, therefore, that in our workshop restoration and the building of new organs are seen as two sides of the same coin.
Design and Drawings
A good instrument is based on a coherent concept. The relationship between the sound, the physical design and the touch are, therefore, of primary importance. A good result can only be obtained following careful preparation in the form of design sketches, technical drawings and a plan for the specification and the scalings. In this context, we place great importance on consultation with advisors, organists and architects.
In order to maximise the quality of the materials we use in our organs and, for this reason, we maintain a large wood store. The machine-based woodworking activities are centred on a single room. In the neighbouring departments, the vast majority of the individual parts which make up the organ are produced. These include, among other things, the cases, bellows, keyboards, actions and wooden pipes. In order to facilitate the construction of iron parts (f.e. stop action), a separate room is equipped with a lathe, a forge and welding equipment.
We place great importance on making and restoring metal pipes in our own workshop. We have the facilities to cast pipe metal at different compound and treatment (either on cloth or on sand). In order to develop the sound to its fullest potential, the sheets are subsequently treated by hand (in other words thinned out with the aid of a plane and a scraper) and cut out. Restoration is carried out with the intention of maintaining as much original material as possible. The different parts of the reed pipes are also made by our own pipeshop. When required in the context of restoration projects, we can also work with zink and copper.
Voicing and finishing
‘Pre-voicing’ is limited to the cutting-up of the pipemouth and the alignment of the lips and languids. Many instruments, especially those for foreign countries, are set up in our assembly hall. The layout and adjustment of the action and winding system is conceived in order to best serve the intended sound characteristics. The on-site voicing takes place in the organ’s final location in view of the context of the acoustical charateristics of the room.
Training and background of our organbuilders
Due to the lack of an official education for organbuilders in The Netherlands, an important part of the training takes place within our own company. The vast majority of our employees have, nevertheless, a qualification in woodworking. In addition, a number of our organbuilders have a background in musical performance, musicology, architecture or mechanical engineering.