Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Developing a Prayer Room II: Building a Prayer Kneeler

So one of the first ideas to be implemented in the prayer room was to build the prayer kneeler. I decided on a simple shaker or early American style for the design. The kneeler is a simple construction, and was based on a few pictures I found online. It is simply a large box for the base, two sides, a top, and a shelf. If one were to attempt this project I would suggest the use of 1x8s. The lumber we used was milled here on site, and added much time to the project. I would plan three days to tackle this project, but it may take more or less depending on skill level, amount of detail, and wood selected. Ours took three days, but the majority of the first day was spent preparing the rough cut lumber.

Step 1. Create a Design
Our kneeler design was simple to not be a distraction. It was also crafted from wood from the camp, pine, to fit with the aesthetic of a Northwoods cabin. We looked online and found a few designs, and decided on a basic design. We then went to our back to our prayer room, and measured the area so the kneeler would both fit and fill the space. We fist designed the kneeler to be longer, so it would fill the entire space from the wall to the fireplace. This was later cut down as the kneeler looked to fit about three people, and I thought that would fight against the intimate feeling we were trying to create. Depth was based on what felt comfortable for an average height college student. (We brought in a few to get feedback.) Height was based on the window directly above the kneeler where the stained glass would be installed.

Step 2. Material Selection and Preparation
We decided to use on site materials both for aesthetics and price. I had no budget for the room, and tried to use as many recycled or on-site items as possible. One resource I did have was a large amount of lumber we had milled in the winter, and some lefter over half logs from some cabins I had built. These milled pieces we used were actually the pieces we had thrown away when milling, because they were barked or too short. This added much more time to the project than I had anticipated, but there's no satisfaction like building a project from a tree you cut down and milled.

Step 3. Construction
The base was built first, and dry assembled. Then we cut the sides, and checked the height. It was at this time that we decided to cut down the width of the project. After feeling satisfactory about the dimensions of the kneeler, we began sanding and assembling. The we began on the two half logs which compose the top, and the art on which one rests their knees. The logs were planed to an agreeable thickness, and we ripped the bottom log. The the bottom box was notched with a band saw to accommodate the log. The top log was attached with screws toe-nailed through attached 2x4 scraps. I would suggest an L-bracket for this job, but gain we decided to use what we had on sight. Lastly a shelf was cut and screwed on, and the back fitted with 1/8" plywood. We disassembled the piece and finished sanding, and the stained it with a penetrating natural stain.

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