|Project by J. Curtis Goforth||posted 10-06-2015 07:24 PM||717 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
I pastor a church that is 214 years old, and we still have the pulpit from a previous sanctuary that was on the property that dates from 1879. It was made of walnut, but had been covered with some horrible reddish opaque stain back in the 1920’s. So, a congregant and I decided to refurbish it and make it suitable for use in the current worship space instead of the current pulpit that had been purchased from a catalog in the 1960’s.
It needed a lot of work because it had been removed from its original base and a rough sawn oak board had been nailed to the bottom of it. To make it usable, we added a sturdy base to the pulpit made of walnut and some 317 year old white oak to edge it, along with a book rest I designed (with elements from the original pulpit’s frame and panel construction with lambs tongue details and walnut plugs at the mortise and tenon joints). The old oak was a nice complement to the walnut.
Instead of a stain we simply did an finish of tung oil and several coats of wax. My congregant did most of the work (since he is retired) and I also made an oak drawer to provide some storage underneath the book rest. To make it jive with the rest of the piece, I thought it was only appropriate to have the drawer be made with hand cut through dovetails. The drawer is lined with burgundy suede leather and is just big enough to fit a hymnal and a few odds and ends.
Just a note: If you want to try your hand at cutting dovetails by hand, it’s probably not the best idea to start with quartersawn white oak because it is hard! The joints are by no means perfect, but given the fact that it was going on a pulpit from 1879 I think it fits in a little better with the overall piece since it is a bit rustic, right??? Thanks for looking.