Looking for some ideas on how to address this:
We have a couple oak(?) pews at church where cracks have developed in the seat. Looks like a couple laminations might have separated. These are in the seat, and when people sit on them, and maybe shift around, the crack can open and shift and catch clothes or even worse yet, pinch.
So I'm going to see what I can do about fixing this, and I'm looking for some ideas.
This is a photo of one of our pews (not the broken one, an extra one that I bought at a fundraiser after a renovation, and no, I can't just bring this one in and swap them!!). This is just a visual aid to show what I mean:
The green line is sort of where the crack is located. The seat is sculpted, so there is some curve to it. The underside of the pew is NOT perfectly flat. Parts of it are quite flat, but not perfectly flat. You can tell that even 100 years ago when these pews were crafted, they knew better than to spend a lot of time on the part that no one would see. (Well, except for the little kids that crawl under, but I digress.)
The crack is about 48" long on the one pew, maybe 30" on another. Removing the pew is not really an option I want to consider. Replacement is not an option. These are NOT heritage pieces that are protected by any sort of legislation. I need to fix it in place, which means crawling on the floor and working upside down on the bottom of the pew.
Here are some ideas I've considered:
- Scab some plywood under the pew. Cut a piece about 48" long by 6" wide, and fasten it to the bottom of the pew with many screws. Will that prevent shifting?
- drive some pocket hole screws in across the crack from below. This might be tricky to get the holes screwed. I also worry that they might squeak worse, if the wood shifts and moves back and forth on the screws
- fab up a router jig: like a piece of plywood with a 2"x8-12" hole in it, fasten it to the bottom of the pew, use the router to excavate a shallow flat spot, which I then fill with some oak glued and screwed into place ???
- screw some ribs front-to-back across the crack underneath? Hardwood, maybe 1" thick by 8" long? Maybe combine this idea with the #1 idea?
Got any better suggestions?
ps: Vaughn, go ahead with the "pew pew" joke...