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.
(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.
Attachment 60543 Attachment 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:
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.
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.