Roll Top Sound Equipment Cabinet, Carved, Antique Glass, Memorial Project

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 05-05-2006 05:24 PM 17706 views 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a commissioned piece, and so has been sold.

If you would like something custom designed and built for you,

please email at: [email protected]

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”Award Winning”
I am honored to have this project selected by my fellow lumberjocks as the winner of the Winter 2007 “Best Craftsmanship” award. I appreciate the award tremendously, and thanks to everyone that selected this project as their winner.

You can see more of this project at my website

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If you would like to see my other posted projects please visit here
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To visit my Blog listings, go here

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Project Story:
This was a time consuming project. I quit counting hours at 475, and I know it went way on past that for quite a ways. Mostly I quit counting, as I had sketched and dreamed of a project that was way more complicated than the church would be able to pay me for.

However, I wanted to do something challenging, something original, so I struck out on it anyway, telling the church board that if they would pay the same amount as what they found in the Church Equipment catalog, which showed a particle board with vinyl laminate Electronic Equipment cabinet with a roll top front, that I would not let them down, but would make sure they felt they got more than their money’s worth. They ended up paying me almost twice what I had asked for, a nice compliment for my work.

I did this project in my spare time, as I had another day job at the time. My decision was to build a unique heirloom, that would be something that would cause people to stop and look at my work, and some day ponder how much I love the God that saved me.

Built from Red Oak, Curly White oak, and a small amount of walnut, the cabinet holds the sound equipment for a small country church.

I built the same church a communion table a couple of years before this for another memorial fund project, and so I wanted something in style that would connect the two together. The type of connection that any visitor to the church would notice that the pieces were not from a catalog, and that the same builder did both pieces.

A couple of years have passed now, and the cabinet is something I see almost every week, as it sits in the church my family and I attend. On Easter Sunday this year (2006), a man visiting the area from Oregon happened to stop me after the service and after almost everyone had cleared out of the building, to ask where the church had found such a unique piece of furniture.

I thought he was going to chide me, or give me one of those, “ten second looks, with a ‘sure is nice’” type comments. You know the type, the kind of feeling you got while in elementary school when mother complimented your crayon drawing, but she was looking at it upside down! That was what I expected to receive from him, I have gotten many of those over the years.

As a side note, since those terrorizing childhood days, now when my 4 or 5 year old shows me a drawing, my first question is, “tell me about your drawing…” and then they do, since I had no idea it was what they were describing in words.

Moving on back to the story, this man from Oregon, was excited when I told him that I built the cabinet he was inquiring about, and he asked if I also built the communion table upfront, which I assured him I had.

He went on to say that he is a trim carpenter in Oregon, and that he stared at that piece of my work for the whole service, knowing that someone had spent a lot of love and hours building it.

He expressed that he had trained as a pastor in seminary, but never entered the pastorate work, instead working in the trim carpentry business. He was so excited about the many Christian symbols I carved, the verses I captured in lettering on the piece, and the “soul” behind all the design details I discussed with him, that he decided to go home and build a prayer alter for his prayer closet room, where he could work hard to build something wit his hands that expressed his faith in Christ.

It seems that even better than getting paid, motivating another woodworker to express himself passionately and intimately, in wood could be close to the highest compliment I have ever gotten. Something that hasn’t worn off since Easter Sunday.

We talked in fast excited words for as long as my wife would wait for us before getting too mad (usually takes about 15 minutes), and we hit off a quick friendship, with plans to stay in touch by email when he returned to Oregon.

I decided with this rolltop design to take my fellow lumberjock’s, Duane Kohles, advice to use the cable stay system. He had designed and built a rolltop for a kitchen cabinet project he did, and offered to run the roll top slats through his router bit system and do them for me. That sounded like a great idea, so thanks to Duane, the slats work great, and I don’t have to be concerned about the roll top coming apart someday.

  • Materials: Red Oak, Curly White Oak, Flame Burl Mahogany, Walnut, & Antique textured Glass.
  • Finish: A hand-rubbed clear Deft semi-gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish was sprayed, with approximately 15-20 layers being rubbed out to insure a smooth buttery feeling finish.
  • Lettering: carved letters are done in a raised relief style.
  • The upper cabinet has antique textured glass with a carved frame.
  • This cabinet holds the electronic sound equipment without taking away from the historical feel of the old Victorian-Era church.
  • The unique style of the trestle base is carved and feature barley twisted legs.
  • The Cross in the Base works like a butterfly dovetail, holding the wishbone support frame in place.
  • The dovetailed drawer box was made from Flame Burl Mahogany with a walnut runner for the drawer guide.
  • Each foot of the base has a small relief carved symbol relevant to the faith of a Christian Church member, including:
  1. A Cross
  2. The Greek Letter Alpha
  3. The Greek Letter Omega
  4. A Crown
  5. A plate with Communion Bread
  6. A Cup of Wine
  7. A Descending Dove
  8. The Ichthus (fish) symbol.

Photography by Trey Allen, Wichita, KS

Mark DeCou

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Want to See More of my Furniture Work?:
If you go to my Mark DeCou Website you will find that I have not updated my website in quite some time. I realize that I need to invest in improving my website, but until that is accomplished, here are some more Lumberjocks related lilnks with updated postings of my furniture work, sorted into categories. Thanks for your interest in my work, and your patience with my website.

Arts and Crafts, Mission Style Related Projects:
  1. Arts & Crafts Entry Table; with Carved Oak Leaves
  2. Arts & Crafts Orchid Stand w/ Wine Bottle Storage
  3. Arts & Crafts Style Morris Inspired Chairs
  4. Arts & Crafts Display Top Coffee Table
  5. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired End Table Set
  6. Arts & Crafts Style Inspired Prairie Couch
  7. Table Lamps
  8. Arts & Crafts Carved Entertainment Center
  9. Mission Entertainment Center
Church & Worship-Art Related Projects:
  1. Carved Communion Table
  2. Carved Roll Top Sound Equipment Cabinet
  3. Fancy Chuch Altars
  4. Processional Cross
  5. Fancy Speaker's Lectern
  6. Church Hymn Number Board
  7. Communion Chalice (Cup) and Paten
Art-Furniture Related Projects:
  1. Sam Maloof Inspired Walnut Rocker
  2. Original Art Carved Tilt Front Desk, inspired by Birger Sandzen
  3. Natural Edge; Nakashima Inspired Coffee Table
  4. Decoratively Painted Box End Tables
  5. Birch China Cabinet for Cut Glass Collection
Rustic, Western, Cedar Log, and Cowboy Related Projects:
  1. Naughty (Knotty) Refined Rustic White Oak & Black Walnut China Hutch
  2. A Kansa Indian and Buffalo Accent Art-Chair
  3. Refined Rustic Dining Chairs
  4. Refined Rustic Dining Table
  5. Cowboy-Western Style Suitcase/Luggage Support Racks
  6. Fun With Cedar Logs #1; Sitting Stool
  7. Fun With Cedar Logs #2; Coat/Hat/Spur Rack
  8. Fun With Cedar Logs #3; Western Style Hat/Coat Rack
  9. Fun With Cedar Logs #4; Entryway Stool
Outdoor Furniture Related:
  1. Kennebunkport Style Adirondack Chair
  2. Outdoor Garden Wedding Arbor
  3. Outdoor Project: Cedar Wood Double Settee

(Note: This Project Story, project design, is protected by copyright 2007 by the Author, M.A. DeCou. The photos are protected by copyright 2007 by the Photographer, Trey Allen. No unauthorized use is allowed, in full, or part, without the expressed written permission of the Author, or Photographer, or both.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

14 comments so far

View TonyWard's profile


748 posts in 5488 days

#1 posted 01-21-2007 09:36 AM


A fine expression of your faith evidencing two of your gifts ~ craftsmanship and creativity.

Well done.

Tony Ward

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5337 days

#2 posted 01-21-2007 11:26 AM

Thank you, Mark. You are in a league of your own. This is a wonderful piece. The more I see of your work and the stories that go with them, the more I realize that in your case it’s impossible to differentiate the man from his craft. God has empowered you in a wonderful way.

Exodus 35: 31 – 35 ”…and he (the Lord) has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skills, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship. And He has given …him the ability to teach others.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5320 days

#3 posted 01-21-2007 01:17 PM

this brought tears to my eyes.
Very powerful piece.
I can’t put words to the impact this has had on me, but I think the tears say it all

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 5293 days

#4 posted 02-09-2007 12:27 AM


Your piece was #1 in my book. Very original and I will have to say that yours is a labor of love. You have set the mark very high for the rest of us. Congratulations for first and well deserved.

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5487 days

#5 posted 02-09-2007 01:40 AM

The church got so much more than their moneys worth. One thing I love about this piece is all the extra touches you added that you didn’t have to (and would still have made an outstanding piece without them).

You’re right up there with the best of them. You can tell us you think/feel otherwise, that just proves you’re keeping your feet on the ground.

We’re fortunate to be in your company.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View schroeder's profile


702 posts in 5285 days

#6 posted 02-25-2007 01:49 AM

Mark, I have taken my standards of woodworking to a new level based on what I see from the lumberjocks, (one that I am yet unable to attain), and from viewing your work and talking with you – thank you very much for sharing this, and your other projects!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 5237 days

#7 posted 04-13-2007 02:33 PM

With a little work and a whole lot of sanding a normal piece of firewood becomes a museum quality piece of art. Wow, is all I have to say.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View blackcherry's profile


3346 posts in 4983 days

#8 posted 12-10-2007 02:14 AM

Mark it is with a humble heart that I say you are a very blessed artian. Your work remind me of a old shaker proveb “Hands to work, Heart to God. Thanks for showing your very spirital works they are uplifting. Blkcherry

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4876 days

#9 posted 08-09-2008 07:17 PM

Very powerful piece. great job

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2856 posts in 4752 days

#10 posted 10-02-2008 05:44 PM

Very beautiful!!! excellent craftsman ship. I’m glad I was looking at you home page and ran in to this piece. Great job. Thanks for posting.

-- Dennis Zongker

View knurlesnburls's profile


38 posts in 4580 days

#11 posted 01-18-2009 10:25 PM

Very inspiring story of how the love for the craft can bring strangers together. Incredible detail and craftmanship, I can only dream to one day become as patient and talented as you. I have a love for anything with a tambour door, you mention that a fellow LJ’s member has a system. I was wondering if you could explain what he does? As far as I knew, there were only a couple ways to fabricate a tamour door. I would also like to know if you used one of those rotisserie router jigs to do the spiral spindles. Any details and insight would be greatly appreciated!

-- Simon - Who needs a plan!? I see something in my mind, perfect it's design, plan it's construction, and build it.

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4230 days

#12 posted 10-26-2010 05:23 PM

Well Mark you can’t do better than produce the best you can for Gods’ glory & you sure did that it’s beautiful
Thanks for letting us see it

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View mbulla's profile


156 posts in 4669 days

#13 posted 11-06-2011 12:20 PM

Very nice!

View Walther von Einik's profile

Walther von Einik

196 posts in 3463 days

#14 posted 02-23-2012 11:43 PM

Very interesting, hard and needed work


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