Communion Rail

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Project by richgreer posted 03-26-2011 09:20 PM 3631 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s finally done. This communion rail is made of oak. The center section is 4’ across and can be easily removed when necessary (weddings).

This project required me to do end grain to end grain joints with one board off about 30 degrees. I made these joints with 4 dowels (1/2”).

I used a golden oak stain and finished it with 5 coats of rub on poly (MinWax). I used a 50/50 mix of gloss and satin

With some effort, the entire communion rail can be removed, if needed, for something like a concert. I started by putting blocking under the OSB, drilling holes, and placing a 3/8” insert into the hole. The “feet” are bolted down through a hole that is underneath the post. The post is connected to the feet with a bolt through a hole in the back (that we will plug).

Note that the center post is not bolted down. It lifts off easily when the center section is removed.

It will get it’s first use tomorrow.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

15 comments so far

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KMP Wood Designs

52 posts in 2675 days

#1 posted 03-26-2011 09:33 PM

Nice job Rich! Looks like a real labor of love.

-- Jim, Virginia,

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2864 days

#2 posted 03-26-2011 09:46 PM

Let me be the first to congratulate you on this wonderful labor of LOVE. Very nice Rich, something to be very proud of and it will be appreciated and talked about long after you and I are gone. I recently buried an uncle in Canada who did a lot of projects for his beloved church in Irishtown NB. I took the time to look at all of his projects and a few of the parishioners came up and talked very nicely about him and his work. What was the width of the boards for the top rail? I like all the nice simple looking lines in the project, like the braces on the back side. The whole rail is simple, elegant, and put together rather nicely keeping in mind it’s function and the forethought of its’ quick removal when the need arises. The Shakers use to say “hands to work and heart to God! Very well done my friend.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View peteg's profile


4299 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 03-26-2011 10:54 PM

Very nice job Rich, the Oak will stand the test of time as will your workmanship.

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

View Paul2274's profile


330 posts in 3140 days

#4 posted 03-26-2011 11:08 PM

Rich that looks fantastic.

I wish more churches would go back to having the communion rails.


View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20599 posts in 3133 days

#5 posted 03-26-2011 11:27 PM

Hi Rich. That is a real nice rail. How did the dimensions we figured out for you on the trig problem work out for you?

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Woodwrecker's profile


4154 posts in 3603 days

#6 posted 03-26-2011 11:34 PM

Spectacular my friend.
That is an enduring testament to your faith and your style and talent.
Very nicely done !

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#7 posted 03-26-2011 11:49 PM

Thank you for the kind words. A couple of you have used the phrase, “labor of love”. I think that is an accurate statement. I get a very special sense of satisfaction in doing work like this for my church.

In response to Jim regarding dimensions – - I though I did everything right and then when it was time to cut, I discovered that the wood I had glued up for the center piece was not wide enough. I think the issue was the way I cut the ends. They are parallel to the aisle of church and do not run on the radius to the center of the circle.

As an FYI – I built a jig to support the wood and put a router on the end of a 6’ board with holes that pivoted on a dowel. It’s a good way to get a nice arch, but it is like cutting with a 3/8” kerf and generating a LOT of sawdust.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3723 days

#8 posted 03-27-2011 02:08 AM

great job .

-- Chuck, wiswood2

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18290 posts in 3703 days

#9 posted 03-27-2011 02:51 AM

Looks good Rich. Hope they aappreciate al your hard work.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3492 days

#10 posted 03-27-2011 10:32 AM

Classic beauty and a wonderful project. Thanks for taking on the Church’s work, you have done the Church and yourself well.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View sawdustunderfoot's profile


31 posts in 2922 days

#11 posted 03-27-2011 04:34 PM

Nice job Rich! A labor of Love that will be apprietiated by many for years to come.

-- There are no mistakes in woodworking , they're learning expierences ;)

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3097 days

#12 posted 03-27-2011 06:02 PM

Really nice job Rich I’m sure it’s going to be blessings all round with this project

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#13 posted 03-28-2011 02:46 AM

This morning we celebrated communion at this communion rail. For me and many others it was a very meaningful experience. There is something special about gathering around a half circle. The experience was “priceless”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 3092 days

#14 posted 03-28-2011 11:18 AM

Beautiful work Rich..

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

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Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4080 days

#15 posted 04-04-2011 10:15 PM

Hi Rich!

You sure do good work!

That looks GREAT!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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