Hand Carved Communion Table; Church Memorial Project; "Do This In Remembrance of Me"

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 05-18-2006 11:16 PM 14209 views 2 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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

You can see more of this project at my website

If you would like a carved table of your own, please email me at: [email protected]

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Project Story:

Matthew 26:26-28 (NIV):
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

A new widow in our church wanted a way to have her husband’s long-term service to the community and church remembered, and she wanted to use the memorial funds given in his honor in a way to provide something the church needed.

She came upon the idea of a new Communion Table. When she started asking around about it, to see if others would like one for the church, I heard about it, and approached her about building it myself. She liked the idea, and I promised to build something that she would be proud of.

She had in mind a simple table, similar to the ones pictured in the church supply catalog, and after a few months, she started pushing me to get finished with my project. I made the legs for this table on my Legacy Ornamental Lathe, hand carved the ball/claw feet, and carved the raised relief lettering on the front and back. I had plans for carved end panels with grapes and vines, and wheat staffs and a loaf of bread, but with her needing me to finish up the schedule, I called it complete.

The delivery of this table to the church was one of pure honor and joy. The family called everyone they could get to attend, and they had a memorial ceremony and dedication of the table to the Lord’s service in the church, and honored me as the builder of the table. The boost in the family’s healing and the grieving process was definitely helped by having the little ceremony, and I was honored like few times I have ever known. The church board gave me about double the price I had quoted, which just made a great situation, even better, if it could have been.

The wood is Red Oak, stained Minwax Early American, Lacquer spray finish. The top is a Porringer Style Shaped top, and the design was to fit into an old country church with antique Victorian Era Furnishings.

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

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Still Want to See more of my work?

Start with each of these links, and they will take you to other organized lists of my other niche products:

  1. Custom Knives
  1. Custom Walking Canes and Walking Sticks
  1. Artisan Hat Making Tools

(This project story, project design, and photos are protected by Copyright 2006 by the Author, M.A. DeCou. No unauthorized use in full, or part, is permitted without the expressed written permission of the author. Weblinks to this page are permited without permission.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

23 comments so far

View caocian's profile


47 posts in 5192 days

#1 posted 05-25-2006 02:12 PM

I don’t hesitate to call this “inspired.” An absolutely wonderful piece of work. Congratulations on the whole experience—this really is a legacy project.

View Stephen's profile


36 posts in 5245 days

#2 posted 05-25-2006 10:23 PM

Nice piece Mark . . . congrats on a “paid for” commission. I could easily build you a million dollar house, but I couldn’t build this table . . . same tools, same materials . . . different skills. Amazing!

-- Stephen (A) Western North Carolina

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5211 days

#3 posted 05-26-2006 05:00 PM

You are too kind. I have built several small houses in my lifetime, and I determined that it was not my bag. I am just too detail oriented to ever get done with a house project. I am proud of my work, but everyone around me gets frustrated while waiting on the thousands of perfected details that others seem to have better sense about.

I am impressed by anyone that can build a home, especially a large home. We all of have our God given abilities, and it is great when through trial and error, we figure out how to best use them,
thanks for your kind comments,
Mark DeCou (P)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View superbabe621's profile


8 posts in 5179 days

#4 posted 07-24-2006 08:02 AM

“Simply” exquisite!

View handydan's profile


2 posts in 5130 days

#5 posted 07-24-2006 09:45 AM

I am impressed with your work. It gives me insperation. I too have a Legacy Ornamental Lathe. I am getting closer to producing the kind of work you do. Keep up with helping other people.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5211 days

#6 posted 07-26-2006 04:05 PM

Hey Superbabe621:
thanks for your compliment. I saw your website, your work with your spouse, have done the “best” work. That baby is a cutie.
thanks for your comment,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5211 days

#7 posted 07-26-2006 04:37 PM

thanks for taking the time to comment on my table. The Legacy is really a great tool for a small shop, as you know. I have the capabilities to do things that only shops and factories with big CNC’s can do. However, I can never duplicate the speed of a CNC.

The first Newspaper Reporter that showed up to write about my work was motivated to do so after hearing the “buzz” of others talk about the Barley Turned Legs and the carved lettering on this Communion Table. Those two design elements created the “buzz”, despite all of my handwork creating the “Porringer” style top for this table.

Everyone that looks at this table assumes that I bought the legs from some supply catalog, and glued on cutout letters. I enjoy explaining the process to people that ask questions, as the lettering is done out of a single thick board, everything is removed in the background, leaving the lettering high of the background.

Several people over the years have found my shop and wanted to see how I have done the lettering, which I then demonstrate for them. Finding my shop is a geo-cache chore for sure, as I am pretty isolated in the country, but people do find me.

Sometimes I wonder if the isolation is good for marketing, which it probably isn’t, but it is good for long periods of uninterrupted production and carving time. I also like working behind the house, so that I am involved in what goes on with the kids and wife during the day. If I went into town to work, I would just completely miss out on many of the things that are most important to life and myself.

Table Legs are only one piece of what makes the Legacy machine a good addition to the shop. I am able to do horizontal milling, tenon cutting, mortise cutting, tapering, and with the accessories, enjoy making platters and bowls as well. I also like the repeatability and quickness of making things like special sized dowels, and matched turnings. I have a very nice large, old Oliver, variable speed, wood lathe, but I moved it to the other end of my shop a year ago to make room for a new woodstove, and I still haven’t found a reason to spend time moving wiring to plug it in. I goes unused for long periods of time now that I have the Legacy.

I have made walking canes for several years now, and the sale of the canes alone has paid for the cost of the machine several times over. The truth of the matter is though, that the original Legacy machine was a gift to me from a customer/friend. Without that gift, I would not have been able to afford such a luxury in my shop where I need so many things.

But, now after 7 or 8 years of using it, I sure appreciate the tool. My only regret is that I didn’t get a bigger, longer version of the machine. I have a 60” capacity machine, which is discontinued now, and replaced with the 48” and the 72” new machines.

The Legacy is all hand turned with handwheels and handles, but it can really add some uniqueness to a project. I mentioned to the owner/inventor of the Legacy at the last wood show I saw him at that he needed to come up with some sort of lettering templates, and we discussed how I was carving lettering by hand, and that the Legacy would do a nice job of this task with the right templates and followers. Low and behold, about a year later, I saw the lettering system in their new products listing. I’m still carving letters by hand, but I have started to use a router to freehand around the letters, giving me a big help in the material removal portion of the work.

I look forward to seeing photos of your work, thanks for your comment,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View wormy's profile


4 posts in 5028 days

#8 posted 11-07-2006 06:21 AM

This is simply beautiful. The story behind it is also touching. I believe the plans you had to add the grapes and vines, wheat staffs and loaf of bread would have taken your eye away from the detailed and exquisit wording you used. Nice job.

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4883 days

#9 posted 04-14-2007 06:17 AM

Way too good for a museum! But it sure did find a good home. Thanks for sharing.

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

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4898 days

#10 posted 05-03-2007 03:37 AM

Pieces like this remind me that there are woodworkers and there are master craftsmen. Another outstanding piece Mark. You truely are an inspiration.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4944 days

#11 posted 05-03-2007 06:44 AM

Mark -

This is really an outstanding piece! Your craftsmanship is incredible. Looks like we are having a “DeCou Revival” tonight with your projects coming up on the shuffle!


View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5211 days

#12 posted 05-03-2007 02:56 PM

I’m up for a “DeCou-Revival”

This Spring has been pretty hard on me emotionally and physically, and I’ve fought the feelings of depression some with our situation. I’m doing better now, but at times my meloncholiness/moodiness has control. I’m hoping for a day soon when I can feel like I am firing on all 8-cylinders (that’s American-made Hot Rod talk for you International jocks).

My wife wonders why I spend so much time on lumberjocks? It is therapy for sure, and I appreciate the comments and the skip in my step that the comments give me. I am also motivated and inspired by all of the great projects posted by everyone, and reading their stories and struggles. We are all in this together.

Thanks for taking time to lift me up!

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4966 days

#13 posted 05-03-2007 03:02 PM

let us be the wind beneath your wings! :)

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

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5211 days

#14 posted 05-27-2007 07:23 AM

This past month has been a 7-8 cylinder firing month. I’m doing much better now, thanks everyone for the support, prayer, and encouragement.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Martin Sojka's profile

Martin Sojka

1893 posts in 5278 days

#15 posted 05-27-2007 10:07 AM

That’s great you’re doing much better now, Mark. And you know what else is great? To wake up and see so many posts by Mark again.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

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