build church pew seats - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-11-2017, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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build church pew seats

I have in my possession two very old church pew ends without seats and back rest.

I am having a problem with knowing how to rebuild the seat and back rests to the original contour back to the original shape that is already cut into the end pieces.

Please respond with any suggestions of how to form Name:  Church Pew Ends.jpg
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Size:  79.1 KBwith the existing rounded and contour of shape.
Please see attached picture.
Thanks,
Eddie.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-11-2017, 05:03 PM
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WOW! You have undertaken quite some project.

My guess is that you are going to have to glue together many small strips of wood to roughly form the contour required. Then there will be lots and lots of sanding.

George
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-11-2017, 05:04 PM
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I just noticed that this is your first post. It would be good if you would introduce yourself. Tell us your woodworking experience and what tools you have. This helps people to understand to you.

George
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-11-2017, 08:05 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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That's a huge project!

I have 2 pairs of church pew ends that did not match the seat and backs. I had to rout the correct shape mortise in the ends. I made templates of the back and seat and then routed to the lines on the templates.

As far as making new seat and backs, George is correct. You have to build the shape of both using narrow strips with bevels to make the contours, much like making a arch top for a chest. The existing ends are not in the best shape, so you will have a lot of effort in the seats and backs which will look to new compared to the aged look of the ends... JMO.

The seats and backs do not have continuous arc curves, they reverse on themselves complicating the whole process. This is just a partial video of the making of ached shapes and glue ups:

I used a similar technique making this arch top chest:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-11-2017 at 08:12 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-12-2017, 09:17 AM
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A few years back we made some at work similar to those. We have an industrial moulder and cut custom knives to make the seat in two halves. The two halves were glued and minimal sanding required. At home I can see this being time consuming. Divide the seat into segments, long point-short point, glue, and sand away.


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post #6 of 8 Old 03-12-2017, 11:11 AM
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Eddie, Is there evidence of the seat being thicker than the mortice and it used a tenon? Or was the seat actually fitted into the mortice? Is there evidence of the mortice having been chiseled originally? Are you restoring only 1 pew? If the seat was made from a segmented glue-up of thicker wood... you could create the tenon by marking the pattern on the ends of the glue-up and hand chiseling. Chiseling sounds harder than it is. Once that is done you can hand shape the seat to be close to the original shape.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-12-2017, 05:08 PM
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I took some photos of my pews

these are the pews I got with mismatched ends that had to be remortised to accept the seats and back that were a match.

I made templates off the seat and back and you can see where they have a reverse curve. The bottom is straight but the seat top has the reverse curve. Hope it all shows in the photos:
Attached Images
   

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-12-2017, 09:11 PM
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The top piece is a separate piece glued to the back. It looks like the seat and back have a bit of contour to them. Seems more comfortable than the flat seats and flat backs. I recall some of the church members carried a cushion to church. As a kid, we thought that was funny. Now it's not that funny. Good luck on the restoration. Looking forward to the finished project.

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