In an earlier article, I promised to show photos of the altar in place once we delivered it to the client. The delivery went flawlessly, and the altar now is in place at Fr. T’s private chapel in the Rectory of a local church. I requested permission to snap some photos; the lighting proved difficult, but I was able to capture the images below by using shop lights reflected off the ceiling, in addition to the lights in the chapel.
The little chapel used to be a plain, ordinary room in the Rectory; but two parishioners led the renovation project and created a wonderful place of worship, with the help of volunteer parishioners, who are also carpenters. The walls were modified somewhat by the carpenters; and the leaders, artists in their own right, “antiqued” the room and also created a wonderful window illusion, where Fr. T placed an old crucifix:
The tabernacle door is a very old door that Fr. T rescued from another church. As part of the project, we built a box to hold the door.
I included the corner shot above, to allow visual comparison with the computer rendition I created using eCabinet Systems software:
A photo of the altar in the sanctuary — the small table on the right will be used to hold the cruets used during mass, and a missal in the center shelf:
Due to difficulty getting proper exposure, I had to get a close-up to show the detail of the characters placed on the raised panels — Chi-Rho in the center panel, Alpha (the Beginning) in the left panel, and Omega (the End) in the right panel. The following photo also shows a little more detail of the gradines (the long, short boxes on either side of the tabernacle), the altar stone inlaid in the mensa (altar top), and the door detail of the tabernacle:
I carved the characters in the shop (maybe “shaped” is a more appropriate word?):
The characters were finished in a lighter color than the altar base, to provide contrast; depending on how the brain perceives the characters, sometimes they appear as low-relief carvings, and other times they appear as onlays, which they are:
I snapped the following while in the shop, as a work-in-progress (the wood is lyptus):
As I have received requests for the dimensions, I include the following measured sketches for anyone wishing to use them to build their own altar (extracted from the eCabinets software):
The side view dimensions:
Our daughter was involved in the fund raising activities that funded this project. All parishioners involved in the fund raiser will be invited to attend a function in the near future, to view the new chapel in the Rectory. Already plans are in place for Brother A., currently living in the Rectory, to sew new cloths for the altar.
I thank Dan, my partner in this job, for his help in building this project in his shop. This was such a huge project, I would not have been able handle it alone in my shop.
I also thank Fr. T for placing his confidence in me to design the new altar, and for giving us the opportunity to make it a reality.
— Al Navas