It is always a pleasure to receive appreciation from an expert in his field, so we were delighted by a message sent to us by James Atherton, head voicer of the organ builder, Nicholson and Co.
Every member of our team in Leeds strives to make the best possible organ pipes and we were gratified by James' recognition of this.
He wrote: "Shire's pipes are, in my opinion, some of the finest in the world. Terry is so very easy to work with and keen to experiment with different scales and materials to deliver exactly what we are after. The quality of the pipes is exceptional and they virtually voice themselves. If there is anything we want to change or would prefer done differently, Terry obliges. I cannot recommend him or his fantastically talented craftsmen enough."
Everyone here was touched by James' kind comments and we can only respond by saying what a pleasure and privilege it is to work with such an excellent international firm of organ builders as Nicholson's. The full message may be read here.
A black and white image can convey an atmosphere that is sometimes absent in colour shots. But then, it takes a first-rate professional photographer like Tony Johnson of the Yorkshire Post to capture the ambience and to compose and frame a successful shot. We have been fortunate that our work making organ pipes by hand has attracted the attention of various newspapers over the years and Tony took this picture of Terry Shires in connection with a feature about us.
We take pride in cutting corners at Shires Organ Pipes from time to time – but only when we are creating mitres for our customers.
Mitred joints allow organ pipes that would otherwise be too tall to fit into a particular space. In the example on the right, almost a third of the height of the bottom six zinc pipes is bent through 90 degrees.
This tricky technique requires the pipes to be made to their full length and then sawn to the correct dimension in a mitre block.
The angled pieces are then in turn tacked and soldered by hand, a process which requires experience, patience, precision and dexterity.
This rank of pedal pipes in polished zinc was made and mitred in our workshop by Terry Doyle for a British organ builder and is destined for a church in Australia.