Today was moving day at the casa de cherry blossom. After a summer of restoration in the garage, the pew finally made it's way into the rectory, I mean living room. It's the perfect piece of living room furniture for a lapsed Catholic like myself.
The pew is originally from a church in Ketchikan, Alaska. My friend Cyndy was living there a few years ago and she found it at a rummage sale or something like that. She gave it to me when she moved back to Minnesota last year. It was in pretty rough shape so Adrian and I decided to restore it. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of it before we disassembled it. It was was really grungy and rickety. The two side pieces were actually split in two and had to be glued back together. The arm rests were a total disaster so my Dad made me two new ones out of ash. I spent the summer striping the old finish off of it with an orbital sander. What a handy tool that was!
After I stripped the old finish off, Adrian and I stained the pieces. We used an all in one walnut stain/varethane finish. I found out after the fact that it was probably not the best thing to use on old wood. The wood sort of soaked up the stain unevenly so we had some streaking in some places. My clever woodworking Dad said I should have put a coat of pre-stain on it first. Oh well, live and learn. After my initial dismay, I decided that I didn't mind the uneven finish. The pew is handmade and is really old. It has dents and dings and dark spots on it from a lifetime of butts sitting on it. It has tons of character built into it. People pay good money for furniture with a distressed look to it. After we stained the pieces, we reassembled the pew. Of course we dinged it up in the process so we had to apply one final coat of stain to it to cover them up. We finished the pew off with the wooden buttons to cover the screws and a final coat of polyurethane. As you can see on the sides, there is a lighter circle up toward the top. That's where some decorative little circles of wood get glued on. We'll get to that this weekend. We are also going to give the backrest a quick second coat of polyurethane. We noticed some dull streaking on it, probably because it was a really cold day when we painted it. We'll let the wood warm up and paint it in the living room. Maybe if we inhale the paint fumes we will have spiritual visions.So here's a contest for anyone who reads this: Can you name the movie that features the Church of the Quivering Brethren? How about a fabulous prize for the first person who names the movie. I will send the winner one of the lambs from my flock of felted sheep. This contest is NOT open to anyone with the last name of Ehlers or Dayne. The movie is a family favorite and I am pretty sure we could all recite the entire dialog from it.