Through the decades, hundreds of tour groups have visited our factory in Hillsboro, Oregon to marvel at the innovation and skill that goes into building Rodgers organs. We'd like to offer an online version of this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the factory.
- Very little wood in a Rodgers organ comes "off the shelf." Most is custom ordered. Colors are matched by hand.
- We select both hardwoods and softwoods from certain forests for specific qualities. Ash and spruce are favored for their straight grain, stability and resistance to warping. Ash is sourced from a particular area of the northeastern U.S. to obtain the desired color and density. Spruce is sourced from Canada or Alaska.
Softwoods are primarily used for crossrails and other small pieces. Hardwoods are used for the body of the console and bench.
- Five ply lumber core provides structural stability for side panels. Our vendor creates the lumber core by gluing identically sized pieces of wood together, reversing the grain on each piece to give the wood more strength.
- High-grade, industrial strength MDF is used on the interior of consoles to add a smooth, flat surface for the veneers.
- The two Shoda CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machines handle 70% of all wood parts for the organs.
- The machines are accurate to within 5/1000ths of an inch. They were specially configured for the kind of cuts required by Rodgers: angle drilling, dadoing, grinding, beveling, boring, and mitering.
- Workers in the Shoda area are able to efficiently use time because while the machine cuts one piece, workers can sand, prep or finish another piece.
- The edge bander helps creates the seamless look around the console by covering the edges of wood and veneer.
- On some Masterpiece consoles, no veneer is needed on exposed edges because of solid wood construction.
- The laminating machine (nicknamed Big Bertha) applies veneers and also builds up layers for strength. Among the laminated pieces are decorative trim panels, pedestals, and the spring rail of pedalboards.
- Pieces that have been cut and prepared to specifications in the woodshop arrive in the assembly area for rough sanding and assembly.
- Case clamp machines are used to hold the parts at precise angles during the gluing process.
- Traditional wood dowel construction techniques are used for joining pieces.
- The White Sand area is where workers do fine sanding and final preparation for staining.
- Adjacent to White Sand, parts are sorted and stored by part number so that everything needed to create a console is within easy reach.
- Rodgers builds our own pedalboards and benches as well as console cabinets.
- Rodgers' stains are mixed to our specifications by Sherwin Williams.
- To eliminate color variations, the supply of stain is mixed and used on the same day. Color is checked daily for accuracy, using a spectrometer if necessary.
- Polyurethane varnish must be used within three hours of mixing, before it solidifies. We use a special machine to mix the poly varnish as it is needed to reduce expensive and environmentally harmful waste.
- The lacquer base and poly finishes that we use are solvent-based, not water-based. This decision was based on an evaluation of the environmental impact of producing water-based stains, which is more severe than the process of making solvent stain alternatives.
- Higher-gloss finish products are prepared in a special downdraft booth.
- Outside the paint shop is an area where the consoles can stand for several days while the finish dries and cures.
Keyboards and Engraving
- The feel of quality keyboards is one of the most important aspects of the organ. Rodgers keyboards offer 128 levels of touch sensitivity for complete control of orchestral MIDI sounds.
- Drawknobs, tabs and other controls are engraved to the customer's specifications. Small red dots indicate additional tonal resources via the Voice Palette system. Rodgers' lighted drawknobs are the most popular choice but we also offer traditional mechanical action drawknobs.
- Circuit boards are built with the latest lead-free technology and parts that have been selected according strict standards to comply with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Our lead-free solder is made of a combination of tin, copper and silver.
- At last, the cabinet and the electronics come together to create the organ. We attach a unique opus number because each organ has been customized and built to the individual purchaser's specifications.
- Our safety, EMI and environmental tests give Rodgers owners peace of mind. All Rodgers organs have received CSA certification for electrical safety, EMI/ESD compliance testing to meet FCC and international electromagnetic interference and electrostatic discharge requirements, heat and humidity testing to confirm mechanical stability in all climates, and ISTA certification of the sturdiness of packaging materials. In addition, Rodgers uses RoHS and CARB compliant parts and materials that are free of hazardous substances.