|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 01-19-2007 07:06 PM||3819 views||5 times favorited||15 comments|
This stool is “Not for Sale”. However, if you want something similar, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss it with me.
Now, this stool isn’t shown because it is any great example of my work, nor is it something note-worthy in my legacy of furniture design, but the message behind it could be meaningful to others. Since this is such a silly looking little project, I had decided a few months ago when I built this stool to “skip” the opportunity to post it as a project on lumberjocks.
Then, this past Sunday, a couple at my church asked if I could build them one like it as it had meant so much to them and their marriage. I told them that they could have this original one, and they both started tearing up, and thanking me, and telling what an impact my little stool, and the pastor’s sermon on Marriage had on them and their marriage. They wanted the stool so that they could place their large family Bible on it, and have it conspicuous in their home so that they would always remember how important their marriage is to them, and to God.
I had not foreseen that this “silly-little-stool” could have such an emotional impact on someone’s life, but after hearing about it, I decided to go back and post it as a project here just so that others could be motivated to put their hands to wood and create something meaningful to someone else.
I attend a non-denomination, evangelical based, small country church. We hired a new young, on-fire, pastor about a year ago, and the little church is growing now, and we are all healing through a lot of pain caused by bad experiences in the past 6 years.
Now, the new pastor, David Gass, did a sermon series on Marriage that I think could rival any pastor’s message on the subject, including the “big guys” that are on the radio and television. Over the past year, he has made a reputation of being a tremendous pulpit preacher, and the Marriage Series was an example of this gifting he has.
While he was preparing for the sermon series, he and I were discussing a small set of verses in the book of Genesis that I had learned about around 12 years earlier. Back in the early 1990’s my wife and I attended a marriage seminar taught by a nice older couple named Hiram and Marcy Cassel. We attended the conference shortly after my conversion from Atheist to Christian, and our marriage was in a big crisis during those years. We needed some advice, so we attend the seminar with high hopes. The Cassel’s spent the weekend teaching use Scriptures to encourage all of us in our marriages. One set of verses they covered was in the first part of the book of Genesis, and which forms the foundation of what we call Biblical Marriage.
Genesis 2:21-25 (NIV)
21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
The 24th verse here was the main focus. The Cassel’s relayed to us that in almost every case of marriage difficulty they had witnessed, the root cause was that someone was not doing one of the three steps in this 24th verse. They relayed to us that a man and woman must first “LEAVE” their parents, “CLEAVE” to each other making a new family, and must “WEAVE” themselves together as one body (flesh) through the act of married sex and with a new attitude of shared completeness. This meant that the new couple were not the two original people, but upon entering into the marriage covenant, were viewed by God, as one new organism made up of two halves, both needing the other half for the completing of one body.
I had been relaying this memory and message to our young pastor David, and told him that during the weekend, the Cassel’s used a description of a Three-Legged Stool, with each leg representing one of the three steps to a happy marriage. If one leg was missing, or was broken, the stool (marriage) wouldn’t stand. David liked the concept, and so I offered to actually make a stool for him to use during his sermon series to drive home the point. Now, I just had to do the project, and have it ready by the next Sunday, only a handful of days away. yikes!
Our church had just bought a parsonage (home) for David and his family, and in the yard was a sad slab of wood used for an outdoor landscaping detail. David didn’t like it, so I asked if I could have it. When I went to pick it up, I discovered that it was walnut, my favorite wood. We think that the walnut slab had been cut out of a tree that had been on the property of the parsonage and that the old stump is still showing in the back yard.
I decided when I was designing this stool, later called the “Stool-O-Marriage” that I wanted something “weird” looking, something that people would remember, and remember the message. I have learned over the years that people tend to forget sermon messages, and I wanted to help Pastor Dave make as memorable an impact as possible.
I first took the walnut slab and flattened both sides on my router-rail flattening jig, shown in the Forum Skill Share topic
For the legs, I had some old Hickory sticks that a friend had given me several years earlier thinking I could make walking sticks out of them. They were just the right size diameter for legs for the little stool, and so I “sacrificed” one of the staffs. I cut one staff into three legs, and cut round tenons on my Legacy Ornamental Mill www.legacywoodworking.com and then carved the name of each of the three Genesis principles on each leg.
I found when I started working with the Hickory pieces, that each leg blank was completely riddled with worm holes. I had left these hickory staffs in my old barn to dry over the years, and apparently, some worm loved the taste. I decided that having legs with worm holes could have some spiritual meaning as well, and decided to leave the legs “rustic,” “with knots,” and with “worm holes.” So the carved lettering would show up better, I used a black ink Markee to color in the letters.
On the back of the seat bottom, I carved the reference to the verse in Genesis. I then carved a little bit of a sculpted bottom on the seat with a hand held grinder, and glued it all together, sanded, and sprayed it with lacquer. All, in all, it took me about 10 hours of work.
Pastor David used the little stool in his sermon illustration, calling it the “Stool-O-Marriage” honoring me by explaining that I had built the stool.
Note: If you would like a CD with the Marriage sermon series on it, drop me a note with your address, and I will see that you get a copy sent to you.
So a few months have passed, and the little “Stool-O-Marriage” was sitting in my cramped little home. I didn’t want to throw it out, and I didn’t really have a good home for it, so it was just sitting in our house taking up space. Then, this weekend, the married couple relayed to me how much the study of marriage and the visual impact of the message of the stool helped them in their marriage, and so it was my pleasure to see that the stool now has a new home.
As you think through the people you love in your life, is there someone that could use a “message in wood” from you. If so, you won’t regret the hours and material you invest in passing the message onto them. Now, get out and make some sawdust!
Thanks for looking,
Here’s another view, just trying out Don’s method for getting more than 3 photos shown in a project! Thanks Don for the idea.
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com