Work Progress on my current Commission for the St. Anthony Church in Strong City, KS

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-20-2007 08:54 PM 3075 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have received some correspondence lately asking about what I am doing right now in the shop. So, I thought I would post a little progress on my current commission piece.

The people at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Strong City, KS asked me to build a Hymn Number Stand to match the other pieces in the church I did earlier this year.

Here is a list of the other projects that go with this commission that I have already completed, some have been posted as projects, while others haven’t yet:
- Two new side Altars
- New Lectern
- New Processional Cross
- Restored Sacrifice (Front) Altar
- Restored High (Back) Altar

I started out to make a pretty simple thing to display the hymn numbers that the congregation will sing each week. Here is my concept sketch that I did for the board members, and for my proposal price.

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Then, they awarded the job to me, and I have had several weeks to think about it while I was cleaning up my backlog of other items to build.

Having too long to think about a project isn’t always good for my business income normally. This is especially true if I have already priced the work.

The more time I think about something, the more I find ways to stretch the project, and my abilities.

I have been wanting to try my hand at a tripod base table using sliding dovetail joinery, so I adapted that concept to the Hymn Number Board, and came up with this revised concept sketch.

I came up with this concept sketch while riding in the car with my wife driving and the kids playing in the backseat, while traveling to see my wife’s family. After drawing up the sketch, I have tried for the past three weeks to talk myself out of going to this extreme on the design. It isn’t that difficult of a project for some folks, but this will be a challenge for me, and that is what I was after. Finally, I tucked the pressure behind me and forged ahead. I am happy with the progress I have made this week, so here a few progress photos.

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Here is a photo showing the side posts with the Haunch-Mortises cut. I used my Legacy Ornamental Mill to do this work, which is pretty easy to be honest. I don’t know how I would do this type of work without the Legacy. I guess I wouldn’t, and would just settle on doing something easier, like a Mission Style leg post.

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Here is a photo showing the Haunch-Tenon that I used to attach the board to the side posts. I decided to use this joint so that the post would be stronger, and not weakened so much with a big mortise the full length being machined out.

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The next step for the board is to carve the word “Hymn” on the front, and then glue it into the side posts. I will glue the full length of the board to the side post, putting glue in all of the mortises. Since the grain is running the same direction on both boards, they will move in unison, and I am not concerned about gluing the joint. This however, is not true if you are using this joint for a bread board end on a solid wood table top. I did that project last summer, and the gluing process is completely different, but that is another story for another time.

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Here is a photo showing the side posts ready to glue to the board, but first I need to drill the round mortise holes for the section of side post that I have machined as a Barley Twist on my Legacy Mill.

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This Photo shows the base assembly in a trial fit. Things are looking good here, next step is to make the final shape of the legs, and get them ready to fit the brass covers/wheel.

The carved phrase on the Strecher board is from Psalm 69:32, “Sing Praise to the Lord.” I felt this Psalm fit the purpose of this furnishing for the church.

The Stretcher board fits into the sliding dovetail in the two round posts. This is sort of like putting two tripod tables together. I have received the brass foot coverings with brass wheels from and will add those also when I get to that point. I did the sliding dovetail mortises on the Legacy Ornamental Mill. It is so easy, I wonder why I haven’t tried it before. The sliding dovetail tenons I cut using the same router bit on my router table.

To do this work, I had to design a horizontal boring fixture to drill the holes straight. In the past I have used the “eye-ball” method, but I wanted to make sure it was straight this time. I built the boring fixture last week. You can’t see the holes that I drilled in the base posts, but there are 3/4” dia. holes about 3” deep, perfectly centered and straight down the shaft of the post.

How did I do that? It is a mystery I am not yet ready to disclose….......

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Thanks for looking,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

13 comments so far

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4263 days

#1 posted 07-20-2007 09:00 PM

I love a project that also has neat tools in it. That router/Mortise making thingy… what is it?

View jstewart's profile


141 posts in 4117 days

#2 posted 07-20-2007 09:00 PM

I’m curious. How did you go about cutting the haunched, multi-tenon? I kind of wanted to do something like that recently on a project. I didn’t know how, so I just went with a single, wide mortise. I would love to learn how to do what you did. It looks great.

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4432 days

#3 posted 07-20-2007 09:04 PM

Joshua, it is pretty easy, just mark out on your long tenon where you want the final tenon ends to be. Then, cut them out either by hand, a jig saw, or a band saw. I used a bandsaw, and cleaned it up a little with the Dozuki.

I first tried this haunch-tenon on a bread board end on a large slab dining table I did last summer. I took a lot of photos, but have never taken the time to write it all up in a step by step plan to share with everyone. Maybe I should get that done…...

Obi: the machine is a Legacy Ornamental Mill that was given to me as a gift by a customer several years ago.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4203 days

#4 posted 07-20-2007 09:33 PM

I just have to relate a story that I heard last night at our church’s Leadership Conference.

Our Pastor told us about the time in an earlier church where the elders asked him to visit a couple who had, in the past, been real faithful stalwarts of the church. For some unknown reason, they had just stopped attending the church.

When the Pastor made his visit, he was greeting by a warm smile from the wife and an icy stare from her husband. He was invited in for a tea, but no sooner had they sat down when the man declared that he had no time for church any more and that there was no use the Pastor trying to convince him otherwise. He got up and stormed outside leaving the dumbfounded pastor with the man’s embarrassed wife.

The paster asked her what on earth had cause her husband to become so bitter towards the church after so many years of faithful attendance.

She explained that it happened when the church had changed from using hymn-books to projecting the words of the hymn on a screen. The old hymn number board was redundant and was taken down. This was the reason.

The Pastor thought he understood, and sympathetically tried to explain that using a projector for the words of the hymns was a more efficient way for the congregation. He knew some of the older members felt uncomfortable with changing any tradition, so he did his pastoral best to show his concern for her husband.

But no- that’s not what upset her husband. You see each week he would write down the hymn numbers from the board and use them for his weekly wager on the state lotto. When the church stopped posting the hymn numbers, the man lost his reason for faithfully attending the church.

True story!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4018 days

#5 posted 07-20-2007 09:58 PM

Mark can you tell me a little more about that cool looking router jig/milling machine type thingy, looks very cool…

—- Ahhh I see you already answered that in the comments above, ignore me : )

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View TomFran's profile


2957 posts in 4021 days

#6 posted 07-20-2007 10:51 PM

Mark, Great work! Guys like you and Lee Jesberger keep me feeling humble.

Thanks for sharing this with us – it helps me to learn a lot.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Joel Tille's profile

Joel Tille

213 posts in 4271 days

#7 posted 07-20-2007 11:21 PM

Very Nice Mark!! – Thanks for the progress photos, it helps in the visualizatin when someone does not know some of the terminology. e.g. ”Haunch-Tenon”.

-- Joel Tille

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4112 days

#8 posted 07-21-2007 01:05 AM

Extraordinary as usual Mark.

-- Bob

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4187 days

#9 posted 07-21-2007 08:54 PM

(Great story, Don.. haha)

Mark, it’s nice to watch your creative process unfold…. we almost get to see how your mind works, followed by what your hands can do.

Impressive as always. You are an inspiration

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4427 days

#10 posted 07-22-2007 01:31 AM

Mark. Another nice job under construction.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3989 days

#11 posted 07-22-2007 03:38 AM

Mark, that is a great piece of work. Now, what is a Legacy Mill??? I thought some one had tried to sell me two of eveything on the market but I’ve never heard of this one.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4113 days

#12 posted 07-22-2007 06:45 AM

T.S. Check out Legacy Ornamental Mill site.

I have been wanting a LOM for years but they are very pricy for a hobbyist, especially if you want a larger model. You are convincing me to bite the bullet with this project and the processional cross. There is just no other tool that I’ve seen that can do the things the LOM does. Looking good can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4006 days

#13 posted 07-23-2007 02:53 PM


Incredible stuff, as always.

Having done woodworking shows, with ezee-feed, I got to know the owners of the Legacy Ornamental Mill Company. These are two brothers, who are both great people. They were very helpful to me in getting to “know the ropes”, on these woodworking shows. They’re advice was always freely given, and appreciated.

And their product, like them, is first class.

I’d love to have one in my shop, but space is a problem, as always. (not to mention money)


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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