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Church pew shortening

Church pew shortening

This massive church pew in solid oak was 2.65 meters long, and the customer wanted it shortened to 1.93 meters. The aim of this exercise was to be able to bring it indoors and inside the recess of a bow window.

This was a challenge as it wasn’t possible to just cut one end to shorten it and then glue back the side legs. Because the pew was built in a symmetrical fashion, with 2 legs in the middle, we actually needed to dismantle it completely, cut both end, recreate the mortices and tenons, recreate the round edges of the seat and top shelf at the back, and then reassemble everything.

But dismantling a church pew is never an easy task. Those were built to last. This one was held together by rusty massive 110 mm screws. We ended up having to drill some of them out as we just couldn’t remove them the easy way.

There was also an issue with wood rot: We had to cut out the rotten timber and woodworm, and replace it with new oak, to be then sculpted into shape and dyed.

Having dismantled the bench, the back, seat and shelf were cut to the desired length.

After routing the cut parts of the seat and top shelf to the existing profile, the shortened version of the bench was reassembled and screwed together with massive new 110 mm screws. In order to hide them in the timber, plugs were created by turning square chunks of oak. Those plugs were then hammered over the screw heads, then dyed to match the bench’s colouring, and therefore became invisible to the eye.

Having been successfully reassembled, the bench was waxed.