By the start of 2019, the Ulster Orchestra’s celeste, built in the 1920s by Mustel of Paris, was in a sorry state. The sustaining pedal had long since ceased to work, various notes were not working at all, while others worked only intermittently. The case was also in poor condition, with the lid split and no longer staying open, and cloth panels loose.
The instrument was stripped down, with all keys and rods removed, allowing the ranks of chimes to be removed. The broken inner frame, which was the cause of the sustaining pedal not working, was then replaced with a new oak one.
The causes of the notes not working were various: loose hammer heads were reattached to the striking arms; dampers adjusted for all notes; springs adjusted. The keys and ranks were cleaned in preparation for reassembly.
The carcass needed work additional to the new inner frame. The lid, which had a split at one end, was glued up. The lid hinges needed attention to allow the lid to remain open, a new pin replaced a missing one on the music flap and the various marks to the varnish were touched in. The hessian cloth which formed the panels was reattached.
Then came the reassembly process, with newly cleaned keys being replaced, and rods reconnected to the striking mechanism of each chime. Further adjustments were made to the individual dampers once the keys were attached, to ensure a clear ringing tone on each note.
Finally the rear panel was put in place with new felt washers and brass screws.