Altar sized for kids

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Project by mnguy posted 01-27-2014 10:03 PM 1345 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our Christian Formation director asked me to build an altar that our 5 – 12 year olds at church could use as part of their Godly Play classes. The kids have vestments and play / practice eucharist, etc. I pondered what to make for quite awhile, and settled on a design that had three key requirements; – incorporated design elements inspired by our 1895 English style church but didn’t copy them – was something I could build without spraining my brain or stretching my skills to the extremes – used all the tools I had on-hand
I ended up with a design that evoked our ‘real’ altar with the open work on the front, and evoked the ends of our pews on the ends of the kid’s altar.

I quickly decided I did not want to carve the end details, so I scroll sawed the patterns and then used a bearing-guided chamfering bit to bring the pattern out, and cleaned up with a chisel. I had some tear out issues, but figured it makes it look more like it has been around since 1895 :) The scroll sawn work is then pin nailed to a 1/2” plywood panel.

The front is pocket screwed together, with the pocket holes plugged. I assembled the entire grid and then routed the coves. The Celtic cross elements are attached with a dowel on one end and just epoxy on the other. I contemplated dovetailing them in from the back, but that started my brain hurting, and this project was not supposed to give me a headache :) So, epoxy and pin nails were it.

The finish is one coat of Zar Rosewood with two coats of Minwax wipe-on poly. I waxed the top for a little extra durability.

The kids love it, and that is what really counts. It was a fun project :)

2 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4016 days

#1 posted 01-28-2014 12:55 AM

That’s quite beautiful, I’m sure it will enjoyed by the kids.

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3150 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 05:39 PM

It looks great. Awesome design and great finish. Like how you made the side details and the cross. Great job!

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