Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Old Church Pew...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    3,383

    Old Church Pew...

    Picked up an old church pew...

    Our church building, in downtown London, dates from about 1900. We've owned it since 1953. We're right now in the later stages of a large renovation. (tore down rear classroom addition + replaced with larger 3 storey addition + also built 2 storey vaulted atrium/fellowship hall on the side of the building.
    It's pretty exciting seeing an old building being renewed and improved and modernized like this.

    Anyways, to cut a long story short (too late, ) We had a fund raising dinner + auction about 10 days ago and as part of that they offered up 3 old church pews which had been removed from the sanctuary decades ago and left in the basement hall as occasional seating.

    My wife and I bid on the shortest one, and soon became the owners of a 7-and-a-half foot old oak pew. I picked it up on Saturday and brought it home. We weren't entirely sure what to do with it, but we wanted it nonetheless. (Both as a way to give money to the church renovation, and also as a memento) We were pleased to find that the pew exactly straddles the hearth of the fireplace that we never, ever, use. It looks great and fits well.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pew-overview.jpg 
Views:	73 
Size:	114.2 KB 
ID:	60541

    (We homeschool our kids, and the family room is basically a craft + project room. That 6ft table just visible to the left is now in front of the pew and it works pretty well so far.)

    We're not yet sure of the exact age. As far as we know it is not original, but it does date from before 1953 (when we took possession of the building.) So it is from somewhere in the 1985-1950 age range, and I hope to find out exactly when.

    There are a few defects, of course. The finish is pretty good in most places, but a bit rough on different spots of the seat. Which is not too surprising considering the number of bums that have fidgeted there over the years!
    There is one little brown stain also, perhaps someone spilled something on it during a church potluck during it's years in the basement hall.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pew-defect1.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	109.5 KB 
ID:	60543 Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pew-defect2.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	97.7 KB 
ID:	60544

    I would like to try an find out what kind of finish is on the piece, to see if I could just scuff up the seat and layer on another coat or two of clear coat, without redoing the entire piece.

    Also there is a short crack in the one end:
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pew-crack.jpg 
Views:	55 
Size:	145.1 KB 
ID:	60542
    The crack is about 1-1/4" wide, and extends about 4" down the face of the end. I might just leave this. If I do fix it, I need to find a fairly thin and runny glue that will run down inside the crack before I clamp it closed. It is quite tight right now, so I don't think my normal Lee Valley 2002GF pva glue would be at all good. But Cyano Acrilate, which is runny enough, sets far too quickly. We'll see.

    Oh, almost forgot... this pew is from the center section of a longer pew. Therefore, both ends of the pews are not finished "aisle" ends. Rather they have grooves in them for more pew sections to attach. This is not something that is easily "fixed". For now we're just going to leave this as is. Someday, if we ever strip + refinish the whole thing I might try to see if I can somehow cover or fill this.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	pew-end.jpg 
Views:	53 
Size:	141.5 KB 
ID:	60545

    Anyway, just thought I'd post this here as an interesting story, and in case others of you have any interesting stories or suggestions of your own to add.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Posts
    5,323
    COnsidering the age - unless it's been refinished since the 1950's - it's probably got an oil based or alkyd varnish on it.

    I'd use a thin two-part epoxy on the crack - something with a reasonable working time, like 30 minutes or more.

    The photo of the end is kinda hard for me to make out what's there. You said 'grooves' so I'm guessing they've cut some sort of 'dado' into the end pieces(?). You might consider cutting some sort of decorative trim pieces to cover the grooves - either make them from oak, to match, or perhaps a darker wood like walnut to contrast, and accent, the ends.
    Last edited by Jim DeLaney; 10-04-2011 at 01:47 AM.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,475
    end fix, take and glue up a thin panel and glue it over the end radius the new piece to flow into the old and restain to match the rest.. as for the balck stain in the seat use some oxalic acid to bleach it back and the restain and finish.. that black stain looks like a youngster or baby had a piddle problem and it got in the wood from a previous wear threw on the finish.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    3,383
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DeLaney View Post
    The photo of the end is kinda hard for me to make out what's there. You said 'grooves' so I'm guessing they've cut some sort of 'dado' into the end pieces(?). You might consider cutting some sort of decorative trim pieces to cover the grooves - either make them from oak, to match, or perhaps a darker wood like walnut to contrast, and accent, the ends.
    What you see in the last photo is a routed out recess/dado almost an inch deep. Into that, the next section of seat+back would be inserted.

    And a decorative plate or medallion of some kind over a portion of the end is probably the best solution.
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Windsor, CT
    Posts
    36

    Church Pew

    Oh, in MHO please leave it as it is. Each blemish is a story. The piece dates back so far that if you refinish it the piece will become nothing more than a refinished old piece. With all of the old patina left intact it is a very nice antique and conversation piece.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,099
    I would agree with Walter on not refinishing. Maybe make padded slip covers for the ends if they really bother you and then when the grandkids fall into the ends they have a level of protection also. It looks like it was made for that space!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

Similar Threads

  1. church door
    By Frank Fusco in forum Flatwork Project Showcase
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 04-17-2014, 08:48 AM
  2. stand for church
    By Frank Fusco in forum Flatwork Project Showcase
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-04-2012, 12:01 AM
  3. Church Comission
    By Ned Bulken in forum General Woodworking Q&A
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-19-2011, 05:18 AM
  4. Accident in Church
    By Dave Hawksford in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-01-2011, 11:19 PM
  5. More work for the new church
    By Don Baer in forum Designs, Plans and Sketches
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 09-18-2010, 01:01 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •