Last month the choir director at church asked me if I thought Jay would be willing to work on a project. When I asked what kind of a project I was told it was a stand for our advent wreath. Up to this point the wreath has been placed high up on the wall and requires a long fire stick to light the candles. It also usually takes two people to light; one to try to hit the wick and the other to give directions on which way to go. Without talking it over with Jay I told Brandon, Mr. Choir Director, that if he could send us pictures of what he was thinking about we might be able to come up with something. This is what he sent:
Isn’t that gorgeous?? This is a stand from one of Brandon’s friend’s church. A woodworker there made this beautiful piece for them. Brandon wanted this to have a bit of a span, too, so that the wreath can easily be seen from every where in the church. So after a bit of discussion Jay drew up his rendition:
The circle represents the wreath (it’s not actually something that we have to make and attach). If you look at the original wreath stand the arms are curved, but our church has a lot of angles to it so Jay modified that a bit. Then he added more definition to the legs to make it almost look like a tree stump (more input from Brandon). The only thing really left to do is figure out how to blend in the middle of the post. We don’t use the Christ candle (the white one that goes in the center) so the middle kind of needs to blend. We have a little time before we need to worry about that.
As you can see from this picture taken on our wedding day the altar and ambo are angular, and even the wall behind the altar is angled. The wreath stand will stand somewhere in the area near the panels hanging down in the back. Also, you will note that the wood is all oak. As Jay and I were discussing the construction of this stand my dad offered up some oak planks that he had salvaged. That helped us for the base, but Jay wanted nice thick arms to hold the wreath and candles.
The church is actually ‘new’ as it was built in 2000 on the site where the ‘old’ church stood. They saved as much of the original materials as they could and a lot of the furniture was made out of the old pews. As we were looking through the storage area of the church we managed to find three pews. They are all that remain from the original church.
We had thought about doing something with the pew ends, but after we were looking at them we decided it wouldn’t look right. There is enough material left over, though, that Jay might make a couple of little benches to be raffled off at our summer festival. Maybe.
As we were moving the pew ends around Jay started to curse them because they are so heavy. He stopped in mid-curse, “I can’t call them that! This is blessed wood!” I guess that some of the Catholic schooling paid off!
After the pews were apart Jay cut the wider panels down to more manageable lengths and used his CNC Router to start cutting parts:
Once the glue was dry the arms were run through Jay’s router table to round off the edges. He then used the spindle sander (or the ‘Uppie-Downie Sander’, as I called it) to smooth out the joints and the edges.
Here he is working to rout out the ends where the hardware will go to hold the arm onto the base. As we were discussing the project with Dave it was brought up that we should use the same hardware that is used to hold bed frames together. This way they would lock into place and never be seen. It was such a great idea that I ordered up the hardware and it is being fit into place.
Even as I was writing this post Jay came up to show me the arm. After a bit of discussion we might be modifying the design a little more. Luckily we are still able to do that at this stage. In fact, Jay will build a mock stand out of pine to make sure that we are happy with the angle that the wreath will sit at on the stand. I really want to make sure that this is perfect. Which is why I’m stressing about the finishing. That’s my job and I want it to look really good. I want the other woodworkers in church to look at that and say, “My, that is a fine job! I couldn’t have done better!”