General Note

Fixed church work—pews, pulpits, stalls, chancel screens, etc.—is usually regarded as a form of highly specialized joinery-work, and as such beyond the scope of the average furniture-maker, who will be called upon to provide only the occasional piece of movable furniture— litany desks, lecterns, altar-tables, bishop's chairs, etc. All too often the work has to match in with existing furnishings, such as Victorian Gothic, etc., heavily carved and moulded, and opportunities for imaginative work are confined to the very few new churches and church halls which are built from time to time. Where such opportunities exist, church authorities will usually consider veneered work and other woods besides the traditional oak in the contemporary idiom, but the accent will mostly be on the traditional approach, for the study of which the student has only to visit a local church. The illustrations following are, therefore, intended more as guidelines for average sizes than any detailed treatment of the subject. Constructions are usually orthodox and the accent on sturdiness, with moulded members boldly pronounced, for the setting is so much vaster and the viewing distances considerable. For ease in manufacture heavy wood sections are built up, and while oak is still a prime favourite there is a growing tendency to use ash, and afrormosia, etc. Problems of overheating and consequent shrinkage do not usually arise, except in church halls which are used for other purposes, therefore moisture contents need not be so critical as with domestic furniture, although thoroughly seasoned wood

504 Solid oak pews and frontals for St John's Church, Coleford, Gloucestershire, England; designer-maker: Kenneth Marshall

505 Altar table in ash for the Swiss Catholic Mission Chapel, Westminster, London, England, by Alan Peters

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506 Box construction altar table

CHOIR STALL

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Gothic Litany Desks

508 Litany desk with fixed kneeler

508 Litany desk with fixed kneeler

Figure 505 shows a box construction that merely uses simple frame and panel construction throughout and rests on a separate plinth; 506 shows a similar construction used on choir stall fronts.

509 Litany desk with hinged kneeler details must be used. Particular attention should be paid to sharp edges which should be well rounded or eased back, especially in the more splintery woods, and polishes should be hard, avoiding sticky waxes or soft varnishes.

Figure 505 shows a box construction that merely uses simple frame and panel construction throughout and rests on a separate plinth; 506 shows a similar construction used on choir stall fronts.

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