Biblical Bible Story Barrel--Elijah and the Widow of Zarapeth

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Project by grace123 posted 07-18-2018 04:09 PM 2297 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I heard about an art competition. Any medium for the competition is acceptable. One night while I was half awake and half asleep I decided I would create an entry and here it is.

My project represents a barrel. I have depicted three scenes from the Bible story of Elijah and the widow of Zarapeth on the sides of my barrel.

The first scene shows Elijah meeting the widow. The land where they live has been in severe drought for a few years and Elijah is very hungry. He first asks the woman for a drink of water. The woman agrees to give him a drink of water.

Elijah then asks the woman for something to eat. In this case, a small piece of bread. The women indicates the reason she was outside was to get a small amount of wood so she could make a little fire and make a cake with her final small bit of oil and meal that she and her son would eat and then prepare themselves to die, for she had absolutely no food of any kind remaining. Elijah promised her in the name of God that if she would make a bread for him first, that she would have food for herself and her son. The second scene on the barrel shows the woman giving Elijah her last morsel of bread to Elijah while she and her son have none.

The third and final scene on the barrel shows God fulfilled the promise of Elijah in that when the widow checked the barrel she thought was empty, it contained meal and her bottle of oil contained oil. According to the Bible, throughout the duration of the drought and famine her barrel of meal and cruse of oil were never again empty, and she and her son and Elijah were able to have enough to eat.

Of course, this is not a barrel in the traditional sense, but rather a wooden vessel. I began with 12 pieces of soft curly maple. Then I cut a hole in the desired shape from the maple piece and inserted or inlaid segment of contrasting-colored wood into the hole to create the images. I used aromatic cedar, poplar, walnut, aspen, red oak, and fir for the different pieces.

After that I cut a bevel on the edge of piece and glued them together.

Then I made the “metal hoops” from mahogany. I cut wood about 1/2 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches wide with a 15-degree miter. Then I glued that layer together and finally glued it to the first part of the barrel.

The top and bottom sections were again soft curly maple. I made compound miter cuts and glued the pieces together to give a taper. Then another round of mahogany for the top and bottom “metal hoops”.

The next step was to make a lid from soft curly maple and a handle. I used the router to rabbet the edge to fit into the top of the barrel.

At this point I realized that in order to see all the sides of the barrel I needed to have a way to rotate it. So I made a lazy susan from red oak. I took it a local business who did a very nice job of laser engraving on the laze susan. The engraving shows the Bible verses that tell the story.

Final finish was shellac.

I have no idea if this piece will be accepted into the competition. I have entered this piece in the 11th International
Art Competition sponsored by the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. It is a juried competition and the results for the first round will be announced in September 1. There is another round of judging after that. I am hopeful that I will do well. At any rate, I had a great time on this project.

11 comments so far

View nkawtg's profile


299 posts in 2372 days

#1 posted 07-18-2018 04:45 PM

Very nicely done and wonderful subject matter.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3988 days

#2 posted 07-18-2018 05:37 PM

This is a wonderful piece and you did a fantastic job on it.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5003 days

#3 posted 07-18-2018 05:38 PM

Very nice work. Very nice indeed.
And good luck with the competition.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Steve's profile


2507 posts in 1703 days

#4 posted 07-18-2018 05:48 PM

I can’t see how you couldn’t do well in the competition. That is amazing inlay work.

View therealSteveN's profile


8009 posts in 1695 days

#5 posted 07-18-2018 06:06 PM

Wonderful work done here, and the story is one I remember from years ago, church school.

Let me say up front the making of a barrel as you have, is no simplistic undertaking. Add to that the inlay which many find daunting. Then the wonderful story to go with the many very good pictures, each telling more than the 1000 words they get credit for, and this is an awesome post.

Thank you so much for posting this. I give you hope for great success in your competition. I think if you present it as you have with us, complete with the write up as explanation, and the wonderful pictures, you won’t be easily bested.

God Bless you.

-- Think safe, be safe

View ClaudeF's profile


1310 posts in 2828 days

#6 posted 07-18-2018 06:41 PM

View DMiller's profile


543 posts in 1594 days

#7 posted 07-19-2018 01:11 AM

Very Nice! Its encouraging to see people still create Biblical scenes from wood! Great job!

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


9619 posts in 3530 days

#8 posted 07-19-2018 01:24 AM

Excellent work, very creative and carries a message.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View mikeacg's profile


1915 posts in 2178 days

#9 posted 07-19-2018 12:12 PM

Impressive! A special thanks for taking the time to show how it was constructed!!!

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View JCamp's profile


1363 posts in 1672 days

#10 posted 07-19-2018 09:16 PM

Awesome project. Hope you win

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View ostap's profile


93 posts in 881 days

#11 posted 04-14-2019 05:26 PM

Well done work and interesting bible lesson! This story teashes us to give God everything in everything! Thank you dear brother!

-- Ostap,UKRAINE I know that I know nothing .SOCRATES

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