Friday, January 30, 2009

The Pulpit Has Been Delivered

The last time we met, I had finished making the last parts of the pulpit. As you would expect, applying the finish was the next step. And after that, it would be time to deliver the pulpit to my church and my pastor. Well, as of Thursday, January 29, 2009, all of that was done!

Because of the weather, the finish took a little bit more than 3 weeks to do. To remind you, here's the finishing schedule I used for this project:

  1. Wipe on Minwax Golden Oak stain.
  2. Wait 5 minutes.
  3. Wipe off excess stain.
  4. Apply a coat of shellac.
  5. Apply a coat of clear gloss Polycrillic water based polyurethane.
  6. Sand with 220 grit paper.
  7. Apply a coat of clear gloss Polycrillic water based polyurethane.
  8. Sand with 320 grit paper.
  9. Apply a coat of clear gloss Polycrillic water based polyurethane.
  10. Sand with 400 grit paper.
  11. Apply a final coat of clear semi-gloss Polycrillic water based polyurethane.

I was able to get through the first 4 steps of the finishing schedule pretty quickly, but then the weather turned real cold and I couldn't proceed any further for a few days. In fact, it got down into the single digits. There was no way the little tiny heater I have in my garage was going to get the temperature anywhere close to 60°, so I had to wait for the next week.

After it warmed back up enough that I could work with the Polycrillic, I began applying coats & sanding. It pretty much turned out that I would apply a coat of Polycrillic one day and then spend the next day doing the between coat sanding. By the time I got through one of these activities, there wasn't enough time to do the other before the kids bed time, at which point I'd have to give up for the day.

I used a foam brush to apply the Polycrillic at first, but I found that the brush would start to crumble from all of the surfaces I had to cover & leave little bits of foam in the finish. This was unacceptable, so I went out & bought a decent 2" brush with synthetic bristles from my local Ace hardware store.

I used a brush because I don't have any spray equipment. It may have been wiser to thin the Polycrillic down with some distilled water & wipe it on, but that would have taken more coats. I did get some drips using a brush, which is the one thing I hate about brushing. I have to admit that I don't recall any drips while wiping on the finish on my corner cabinet.

One of these days, if I keep up with this, and after I go back to work full time, I will probably get an Earlex HVLP spray system. However, if anyone would like to donate one, I'd be happy to accept it! Only kidding! (Well, maybe not . . .)

I applied the last semi-gloss coat of Polycrillic on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 28. I left everything in my garage for a few hours for the finish to fully dry to the touch, then I brought it inside the family room over night to keep it warm. This was pretty much what I did after applying each coat.

On Thursday morning, I began by removing the newspaper & masking tape I had placed on the raised panels, which I had finished when I made them back in September. I was greatly relieved when I saw that the colors of the panels & the rest of the wood actually matched!

After carefully removing the occasional stray piece of blue painter's tape that ripped & remained on the panels with a utility knife, I was ready to mount the purple heart & maple cross to the front. I mounted the cross using this procedure:

  1. I determined what the reveal should be between the edges of the center rail & stiles & the arms of the cross; this came out to be 3/8".
  2. I measured in 1" from the end of the top & bottom & placed two marks on the back of the cross. This would be about where I wanted the screws that I was going to drive through the center stile into the back of the cross to penetrate it.
  3. Next, I measured the length from the top end of the cross to the top edge of the arms & subtracted 1 3/8". This came out to be about 2 7/16".
  4. On the inside of the center box, I measured up the center stile from the top of the cross rails 2 7/16" & placed a mark centered on the rail.
  5. I measured the distance between the two marks I had made on the back of the cross. This was about 7 5/16".
  6. I measured down 7 5/16" from the mark I had made on the inside of the center box & made another mark there.
  7. I had my wife hold a block of wood against the front of the pulpit while I drilled a counter sunk pilot hole through the stile from the inside.
  8. I then enlarged the hole in the stile using a 5/32" bit.
  9. Using a 3/8" brass bar to place the cross on the front, I had my wife hold the cross in place while I drove the top screw into the cross.
  10. I then drilled the bottom hole & drove the second screw in.

I had thought about driving 2 more screws in, one in each of the arms, but decided against it. I seriously doubt the cross will come off with the two screws in it. I then removed the cross because I didn't want to risk it getting damaged or leaving an imprint on one of the other pieces while transporting everything to church.

Finally, it was time to load up the minivan. Mary & I managed to fit everything into the back of the van; we only had to stow away the rear row of seats. This is pretty much what I had planned. We had to stack the two wings on top of each other in order to get everything in. And we loaded all of the shelves into the center box. We stuck the lectern in between the boxes, with pillows & a couple of blankets between everything, to keep them from getting scratched. I fit the box with the hardware & the tools I'd need to assemble everything, including my 2 foot level, into various nooks & crannies as well. Though it turns out I forgot the hinge for the lectern in the commotion to get going.

We got to the church without incident & parked in front of it. Main Street in Danbury is a fairly busy street & they recently renovated it & removed a lot of parking spaces, so we had to unload the van & move it as quickly as possible. We were hampered in this in that most of the guys I had asked to help unload & carry the pulpit upstairs didn't show up. But we managed to get it all upstairs.

Here I am with Vinnie Weber, my pastor's son, in the stair well at the church's building. Vinnie helped carry everything upstairs, even though he hurt his back on Sunday. We're about to carry the center section upstairs, which can also be seen in the picture. Credit for the picture goes to my daughter Samantha.

Here I am with Major Bill Weber (ret.), my Pastor's husband, carrying the center box into the sanctuary. Another Samantha picture.

Another Samantha picture. Here I am with the center box after setting it in place in the sanctuary. You can see the cross whose color I was trying to match with the finish in the pulpit in the background.

Here I am assembling the right wing to the center box. First, I had to level the center box, then we had to adjust the height of the adjustable legs to get everything to line up properly. Then I inserted & tightened the four (4) bolts that hold everything together. In this picture, I'm checking the height of the wing & finding that it's too tall. Credit for this picture also goes to Samantha.

Here's the finished lectern with its inlays, waiting to be installed. Yep, a Samantha photo.

Here's the finished cross, also waiting to be installed. Credit goes to Samantha.

Here I am with Pastor Evelyn Weber, after I'd finished assembling all I could. As I said, I had forgotten the hinge for the lectern. The church is a 40 minute drive from home, so I couldn't just go home & get it. I'll install the hinge on Sunday morning & all will be finished then. And yes, it's a Samantha picture.

Here is a front view of the finished pulpit in its new home.

Here's the pulpit from the rear, showing the handles, one of the cup holders, and the lectern.

And finally, the back of the pulpit with all of the shelves in it.

Over all, I'm very pleased with the way that this project came out. There were days when I thought I'd never be finished with it, but I finally got everything done and the pulpit delivered.

My plan at this point is to concentrate on finding a new job & take a break from woodworking. While I do have a few boards & plenty of scraps lying around & I could make a few small things, I have to put my priorities straight. But I will be posting again.


David said...

Wow, the pulpit looks great! Nice work Tony.

neil said...

Hi Tony...........I know I'm late to the party but having been with "Tony's Woodshop" from the Corner Cabinet through delivery on the Pulpit, I had to get my ZOW-WEE!!! in.

Pretty impressive. I can't help but wonder what it was like for you being in the audience the first time words were spoken from your pulpit. That must have been cool!!!

Really nice work Tony.......Neil

Tony V said...

Thanks guys!

Being unemployed & taking a break from making saw dust, I just noticed these comments today.

Neil, I have to admit that I had a bit of trouble concentrating on my Pastor's sermon the first time she used it! I had to fight back pride -- don't wanna get a swollen head, ya know!

Thanks for the compliments. I hope to get started on another project really soon.


David said...

Haven't seen anything new for a while. What has been your latest project?

Tony V said...


Sorry but I'm still out of work. I have begun planning a new project, a coffee table. The deign is done in Sketch-Up and the wood is in the shed. I just need to find the time now to start milling the rough lumber & get making parts.