Restoration of a church pulpit after fire damage

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Project by SimonSKL posted 11-05-2014 10:01 PM 1678 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On June 1, 2013 our church suffered a devastating fire as a result of a lightning strike to the roof around midnight. The fire was contained mostly in the sanctuary but the damage was extensive. The only two things that we were able to salvage are our display bible and the pulpit.

I built the pulpit which is made of solid oak for my church in 2011 (a project that I posted in LJ). During the fire some ceiling materials landed on top of the pulpit which protected a good section of the top. Because the top is slanted so most of water from the storm and from the fire rescue just slide off. After initial inspection, I was determined to restore this.

Here are a few pictures of the restored pulpit. I burned through lots of sandpaper and I believed burnt out my palm sander too. Some burnt marks are still visible but I think they add character to the furniture and something for us to remember the fire.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

13 comments so far

View Ron Smith's profile

Ron Smith

184 posts in 3526 days

#1 posted 11-05-2014 10:12 PM

Beautiful work. First and second time!

-- Thank God for sawdust... Ron. TX resident...

View Gregg M.'s profile

Gregg M.

193 posts in 1495 days

#2 posted 11-05-2014 11:20 PM

very nice…nice that you stay connected to things that you have made.

-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

View CharlesA's profile


3288 posts in 1611 days

#3 posted 11-05-2014 11:46 PM

Some burnt marks are still visible but I think they add character to the furniture and something for us to remember the fire.

I like that.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Chris's profile


191 posts in 1120 days

#4 posted 11-05-2014 11:49 PM

Fantastic job. You are right about the burn marks that are left. They tell the history. A story of survival and perseverance. What better place to have such stories then in a church. Well done.

-- Liberalism... Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.

View peteg's profile


4171 posts in 2636 days

#5 posted 11-06-2014 02:11 AM

Nice job Simon, you know I think it’s great that even churches are allowed to show a few of life’s hard knocks :)
well done

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7383 posts in 2142 days

#6 posted 11-06-2014 02:46 AM

It’s a beautiful piece. I’m glad you could save it.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3207 posts in 3525 days

#7 posted 11-06-2014 05:25 AM


Having lived through two major home fires, I can appreciate your restoration work. The stench of working with burned wood can be overwhelming. You did an outstanding restoration on the pulpit.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Dutchy's profile


2516 posts in 1982 days

#8 posted 11-06-2014 08:22 AM

You did a great job and saved “your” pulpit.


View bowtie's profile


989 posts in 2159 days

#9 posted 11-06-2014 11:48 AM

Looks great

-- bowtie,.....jus passin thru....

View SPalm's profile


5304 posts in 3695 days

#10 posted 11-06-2014 12:54 PM

Well done Simon.
And Wow, that is going to be some work putting it all back together. Out of chaos comes opportunity.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 1783 days

#11 posted 11-06-2014 01:22 PM

That pulpit is each of us if you think about it. We can be marred by the world, by others actions, by our own actions. But we can always be cleaned up and restored with the help of those who love us the most. I always like to think about ONE of the greatest carpenters that we all know of. The builder of man.

You did a great job bring life back into this wonderful pulpit!!!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View SimonSKL's profile


185 posts in 3052 days

#12 posted 11-06-2014 02:30 PM

The damage to the building was so extensive. The repair required the entire structure to be gutted. Here are a few pictures of the rebuilding process which is still on-going. We are hoping to move back in before Christmas.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View NormG's profile


5869 posts in 2817 days

#13 posted 11-08-2014 03:03 AM

Well done

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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