How do we make them?
(This brief outline was prepared in our first year of wood shop development. Since then, our wood shop has become much better-tooled.)
1. Plant acorn (oak ones only)
Apply earth, water and sun for 50 years, until you get something like this:
2. Apply chain saw and Lumber Mill
Yes, as much as it may pain some people, a tree was 'killed' in the making of your prayer kneeler. But don't worry, trees are pretty much like grass -- we can make more.
3. Prepare wood planks
Proper initial wood selection and preparation are critical. It takes about 30 linear feet to make a single kneeler. We begin with S2S (preferably S2S1E to make it a little easier). Some might be tempted to just go buy S4S finished lumber from the local yard. Resist that temptation unless you have a high quality thickness planer and/or drum sander. S4S hardwood routinely has blade marks that (1) don't show up readily to the naked eye, (2) show up like zebra stripes when stained, and (3) take hours and hours to sand out by hand. Once you get the blade marks out, your thicknesses will be far enough off to negatively affect the kneeler assembly.
Boards are thickness planed, cut to rough length and width, jointed to final width, cut to final length, and then drum sanded to 220 grit. In this image we've cut the planks in preparation for initial assembly.
4. Assemble the main components
General assembly goes fairly quickly once the wood has been properly prepared. We now use pocket screw systems and dovetails when requested. The upright, base and kneeler are assembled, trimmed and sanded in preparation for staining. Pre-stain sanding is done with a high quality random orbital sander, 220+ grit. (This image is of our original design.)
After closely inspecting the sanded pieces, oil stain is applied. In this case, we used Watco Danish Oil Medium Walnut stain.
Here is a closer look at the top, showing the beautiful grain.
6. Assemble the subassemblies and add the kneepad
Because of the unique way in which the leg folds up into the prayer kneeler, we have to make some of our own hardware. But the results are worth it.
For more images of the finished kneeler, click here.
Complete plans, kits and assembled kneelers available here.