Calendar February 13, 2018 16:42

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Most people who know me know that I am a pragmatic person. I build organs limited to five or six stops. To do so in a valid way requires not only good tonal and visual design, but good mechanical design as well. The organ is both significant parts art and engineering. This blog entry introduces a story I wrote that explains two ways in which computer technology assists my design process.

Posted February 13, 2018 16:42

Calendar February 7, 2018 17:23

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I took some time when I first set up shop here in Minnesota to develop a design language that I describe here as influenced by the Grand Avenue, Macalester College area of St. Paul, one characterized by early-century, industrial-agricultural affluence. My studio work began to take on that influence which could be described by contrasting dark woods with light, and the use of mechanical joinery apparent in dovetail or box joined constructions.

I then set out to create a structural design architecture that would form the design foundation for a family of cabinet pipe organs. I talk some about that process in the following story linked to here.

Posted February 7, 2018 17:23

Calendar January 28, 2018 10:54

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A side benefit to reposting my design blog entries in this space is that they give a sense of who I am beyond the technical descriptions of pipe organ related content that otherwise appears on this site. Here is a typical post from last summer where I wrap up my first attempt at workshop carving, and then talk some about cycling and photography.

The first organ I built had just become available due to a church closing, and that was, and still is on my mind going forward. I give my brief thoughts on the organ as a tool for music, one that should be used to accomplish a set of defined goals and create new experiences for all who participate in its music. You can read that blog post here.

I describe the workshop carving project in some detail using the storytelling app I talked about in a previous post. You can read about it here.

Posted January 28, 2018 10:54

Calendar January 27, 2018 15:25

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Digital storytelling is a unique and compelling way to present an idea. I was introduced to the concept of digital storytelling at the University of Minnesota. I would describe the stories I write as photos backed up by words, rather than words backed up by photos.

I decided to first give digital storytelling a try by describing my professional journey as a pipe organ builder. I used a new Microsoft app to write the three autobiographical stories that described that journey, and then introduced them in this design blog entry.

Posted January 27, 2018 15:25

Calendar January 27, 2018 15:15

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I spend a good deal of time in local coffee shops doing design work. It's always good to change up the work environment some. After a while, you get to know the baristas, and they get to know you. I thought that I would insert a fun post here from my design blog that has nothing to do with organ building, and everything to do with coffee shop goodwill.

Posted January 27, 2018 15:15

Calendar January 27, 2018 15:09

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You cannot escape math and physics when designing a pipe organ. My engineering education and background lets me see important relationships between energy and sound, between structure and applied forces. Yet I consider my work to be historically referenced where to me it matters. I talk in this design blog entry about the methods I use to develop the tonal design of an organ that rely more on the work of the old masters rather than emperical relationiships.

Posted January 27, 2018 15:09

Calendar January 27, 2018 14:59

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Anything I do seems to have a unique identity that emerges if I build enough of whatever it is I am building. I always wanted that to be true of the organs I built where there would be a design evolution that would produce a definable family of instruments. The eighteenth century country parish organs of Gottfried Silbermann definitely form a common design family.

I needed to evolve a unique structural architecture though for a common design language to emerge. I did this by employing parametric solids modeling in the design process of various projects that I could define as both cabinet and structure. I talk about one such project in this design blog entry.

Posted January 27, 2018 14:59

Calendar January 27, 2018 09:15

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I talked about workshop projects I do to expand my skill set outside the bounds of pipe organ building in my last entry. Some projects also provide surrogate opportunities to develop construction techniques relevant to cabinet organ building as I envision it.

One could describe my idea of pipe organ building as minimalist. I imagine that my minimalist approach could actually help a musician develop creative and innovative uses for an instrument that at first seems limited, yet is anything but.

I talk some about developing cabinet frame constructions and my thoughts about limitation here in this design blog entry.

Posted January 27, 2018 09:15

Calendar January 27, 2018 08:49

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My workshop affords me time to build woodworking projects that develop and extend my skills as an artisan that the building of an organ might not otherwise allow. Some of these projects make it to local galleries for consignment.  I talk here in this design blog entry about what inspired the design of one of my more unique projects. After all, it can't be about pipe organs all the time.

Posted January 27, 2018 08:49

Calendar January 27, 2018 08:39

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I started the processes of designing a new organ about five years ago. I write about that here in this design blog entry on my approach to tonal design. I was thinking about building a small recital organ back then. The availability of my first organ may take me in any number of directions with the building of a new organ.

Posted January 27, 2018 08:39

Calendar January 27, 2018 08:25

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A church can often be an organization without individuals united by a common goal or purpose. No wonder then that I think about the design of a cabinet organ for a unique recital venue like an art gallery space for instance. The structural difference between an organ designed for church use and one designed for recital use is not all that different. The difference lies in tonal design as each are built for a different purpose.

Here I wrote a blog entry that took me back to an original idea I had when first starting out.

Posted January 27, 2018 08:25

Calendar January 26, 2018 19:43

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I write about the use of technology in this entry from my design blog that assisted me in the complex process of designing pipe groupings for organ case pipes. These are the pipes that you see laid out in some geometric form in the front of an organ case. I use examples from the first organ I built to describe the process and tools I developed to create a three-section front pipe grouping for the instrument.

Posted January 26, 2018 19:43

Calendar January 26, 2018 18:59

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This entry is especially relevant as I wrote about the motivation behind the organ I built now made available by the closing of a church. I write elsewhere about how the instrument may actually provide material for a new instrument. This entry details how the organ itself is the result of repurposed material designed into what became the first instrument I built as an independent builder.

Posted January 26, 2018 18:59

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In addition to managing my evening and weekend organ building workshop, I also work at the University of Minnesota.

People at the University encouraged me to write about my thoughts and experiences regarding design and engineering as they specifically relate to the work I do in the shop, so I started a blog.

Here I include links to entries about design topics specifically related to pipe organ building.

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