Midnight Woodworking


St. Kilian chapel – Tabernacle stand – part 4

I got to talk to the contractor who is laying the tile in the chapel and he gave me a final dimension for the height of the tabernacle stand. I need a total height of 45″. My current column, fully assembled, is 46-1/2″ tall. I need to lose 1-1/2″ from the column section.

I left one end long so I could remove the excess. I am using my large cross-cut sled to make the cut. I haven’t ever cut anything this large on it before so I am hoping it won’t be a problem. I marked 1-1/2″ down and lined the mark up with the blade. After the first pass, I turned the blade off. I rotated the column to the next flat face and lined the cut up with the blade, then made my next cut.

I took my time and carefully repeated this process all the way around.

It worked surprisingly well. The top plate sits perfectly flat on the cut end.

While I am making awkward cuts anyway, I went ahead and loaded my dado blade and cut the 1/8″ deep groove to receive the walnut trim.

For this cut, I could clamp a stop block in place so the groove would be straight, all the way around.

Definitely heavy and awkward, but the cuts were fairly successful.

I have just enough walnut trim, left over from the last column, to complete this one. This column is large enough that I can cut the trim pieces on the miter saw with the blade set at 22.5°.

I take my time and carefully mark and cut each one. I make the first cut a bit long, then take smaller cuts until I get the perfect length.

I use wood glue and my 23 ga. pin nailer to hold the strips in place.

As I attach each piece of trim, I sand the joint to force sawdust into any gaps and so it will stick to the glue to fill them.

With a little bit of patience, the trim went on very nicely.

Time for final assembly. I still have my light pencil marks on the base cap so I clamped two strips along them, then I spread glue along the bottom end of the column.

After spreading it evenly around, I set the base cap in place, butting my two blocks of wood against the sides to get it in the correct location.

Next I drove 2″ long brad nails through the plate into the column at a slightly inward facing angle so none of the nails shot through the face.

I placed at least one nail into each facet of the column to hold it flat.

Then I spread wood glue along the bottom surface of the base cap and set the base in place.

I had placed a mark on the back earlier so I could easily center it as I lined up the back edge.

A few more 2″ brad  nails and the base was attached.

The last piece to go on is the top. I spread more glue and repeated the nail pattern into each facet.

With the last piece installed, I am ready for finish.

I am using Minwax Cherry 235 stain, the same as the rest of the chapel furniture, applied with a lint-free cloth.

I went ahead and applied another coat of stain to the top as well. For some reason the plywood never seems to absorb as much stain and sometimes a second coat helps.

I bought one quart of stain at the beginning of this project, I expected to have more left over at the end. Guess I had just enough.

Everything was dry the next day and I set up my spray booth.

The top gets a stool and the column gets a lazy Susan.

I apply the first coat of polyurethane with my Earlex 5500 HVLP sprayer. Funny, It takes about an hour to clean this half of my shop and set up the spray booth, but it only takes five minutes to spray everything.

First coat is applied. That will sit overnight and get a second coat in the morning.

Before the second coat goes on, Everything needs to be sanded down with 400 grit paper to remove any raised grain or dust that may have settled on the surface.

After a quick wipe-down, the second coat gets applied.

And this is how it will go together. The back of the top will go into a recess and sit on the column.

The last piece of furniture for the Saint Kilian chapel is complete. I just have one more small project and this will all be delivered to New York this weekend. I will be kind of sad to see this project come to an end, but happy as well. It has taken about 8 months of weekend and evenings. I will finally be able to work on the other dozen projects that have been waiting…

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