John Smith Organs

Frequently Asked Questions - And some answers

What do I need to be able to build a successful organ from the plans?

A desire to build your own organ.    Previous experience at making things - ideally working models - some basic woodworking skill, and the patience to cut out all the little bits that have to be stuck together.   Acceptance of the fact that you need to read and follow the instructions, and do this in conjunction with viewing the DVD for final details.   You need the ability to work from basic drawings, BUT - if you need full engineer's drawing, with every small detail specified to tolerances of thousandths of an inch, then these plans are NOT for you!   If you have a supply of materials to hand, that is an advantage, but not vital.

What do I NOT need!
Pots of money!   The organs are designed to be made almost entirely from everyday materials - usually off-cuts from other projects (if you have them). You don't need clever woodworking techniques or expensive tools.  There is no need to work to fine, precise, measurements - a ruler and a pencil will suffice.   Musical knowledge is NOT required - but you will probably acquire some by the time you are finished.

What will it cost?
For the Busker - for example - An estimated cost of 50 would apply to someone who has made other things, and has wood, glue, screws and other bits and pieces to hand.    If you have to buy everything from new - including perhaps some parts from a supplier, then the figure will be more like 130.   If you spend around 200, you could buy just about everything, including plans, music roll, and a bandsaw and a pillar drill from Aldi or Lidl!  You can check the costs for pre-punched music rolls on Melvyn Wright's site - see Links page.   (He no longer sells paper versions for punching rolls oneself).
The costs associated with the Universal might be double those for the Busker.
The organs that use MIDI require some electronic components and solenoid valves that push the cost up by another 200, but it depends what items you buy, and where.

Where can I find more hints and tips about making the organs?
Melvyn Wright's site also has a page devoted to Articles about the John Smith Organs, which contains lots of useful information from other people who have made my organs.

What do I do if I really get stuck or can't understand something?
ohn is willing to help purchasers of his plans with their constructions, and can be contacted by e-mail at  or at his new address:
But DO re-read the instructions and plans, and check the video again, before e-mailing!