Our philosophy about organbuilding is straightforward: We are only interested in crafting instruments of the highest quality and we are proud of our ability to build almost every part of our instruments within our workshops. Our facilities include two different wood shops, complete pipe-making departments for both wood and metal pipes, a console department, a keyboard-making department, a windchest department and four voicing stations. We also have two large assembly rooms where our instruments are put together and tested before they leave our shops.
The amount of capital in our workshops represents a dedication to quality in our product that few organbuilding firms in the world today can match. This commitment continues to the on-site installation which is done by a team of Létourneau technicians from our workshops. In this way, the same team of individuals who assembled the organ in Saint-Hyacinthe can carry out on-site adjustments as required. After all of our instruments have been installed and voiced within their new homes, they are covered by a ten-year warranty against any defects.
In thewords of one client writing to his church’s Vestry:
Létourneau is a true pipe organ builder. With the exception of electrical and electronic components, they create an organ from raw material, and all chests, pipes and casework are crafted on their premises. Metal pipes are made by melting tin and lead ingots in specific ratios, and then pouring them onto a long, flat table to create the sheet metal for the pipes. Altogether, a metal pipe must go through seven craftsmen and their respective processes before it is completed and accepted. Many pipes never make it through the gauntlet: If any of the craftsmen detect a flaw, they can reject the pipe and have it melted down, becoming raw material again. Though this sounds difficult, it is easy and convenient to do since all the processes are right on the premises. Ultimately, this works to the advantage of Létourneau’s customers since the final product meets exceptionally high standards.
Similar processes exist for the wooden pipes, chests and all casework. The woodwork we inspected was uniformly outstanding in the areas of joinery, finish and quality of materials. Chests and pipes are much thicker than the wood used in our former organ and other instruments we’ve observed. Wind lines feeding air throughout the organ are made from wood and are acoustically insulated on the inside – as compared to the metal ductwork used in our former organ. Overall construction of all chests, pipes and ductwork is massive.
Having full control over the manufacturing process – as Létourneau does – obviously permits better quality control and provides a superior product at a lower cost. Not all pipe organ companies function this way – another pipe organ installed in our area was provided by a company that does not make their own pipes or casework. Instead, these are contracted out and assembled. This is not to say a quality instrument cannot result, only that it would be more difficult and costly to reject flawed components and more difficult to assure uniformly high quality.
Our tonal philosophy was once summed up as “eclectic with a French accent”, a humourous but accurate depiction. Adjectives frequently used to describe the sound of our instruments range from warm, full, balanced, clear, brilliant and grand. Having said this, we enjoy working closely with our clients and willingly direct our approach towards specific tonal goals, such as a smooth English “Full Swell”, a classical North German principal chorus or a blazing chorus of French reeds.
The following videos demonstrate our fabrication processes.