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Journey's End

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Blog entry by Ron Aylor posted 03-05-2018 07:08 PM 606 reads 2 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Journey’s End -
 
Lent, an Old English word meaning spring, the time of lengthening days, is that season of the Church between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Many Christians commit to giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penance, during this season. Another approach to Lent is of taking on,  or adding a spiritual discipline, to draw oneself nearer to God.
 
I exceeded the forty days  of Lent, by just a bit, as I chose to take on a discipline in the form of building and subsequently gifting Prie Dieux to the four priests at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Tucker, Georgia.
 
Prie Dieu, the French for pray to God,  is a piece of furniture for kneeling on during private prayer, fitted with a raised shelf on which the elbows or a book may be rested, and a kneeling platform.
 
I started my journey in 2015 with a folding prie dieu for Fr. Fabio, the Hispanic Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. I chose a folding design thinking it would travel well as he visited the Hispanic congregations across the diocese. Fr. Fabio hails from Colombia, thus my choice to use jatoba along with the English oak, which represents the Episcopal Church’s English roots. The kneeling platform of this Prie Dieu consists of two separate boards held together with butterflies. The jatoba butterflies go all the way through the two pieces of 4/4 English Oak as to be seen from both top and bottom. There is a gap between the oak pieces of 1/32” to 3/16” from one side to the other. I did this to represent the many historical and current schisms within the church. The jatoba butterflies, in and of themselves, represent the Trinity.
 
                
 
My journey continued into 2016 with the construction of an Arts & Crafts style Prie Dieu for Rev. Caroline, the Assistant Rector at St. Bede’s. Rev. Caroline hails from California, and is fond of Arts & Crafts and Mission style furniture. I though what better lumber to represent California than California black oak. I chose the hackberry strictly for the contrast. The hackberry tusks along with the large appliques represent the Trinity. I experimented a bit with the finish, using Napa Valley red wine to dye the black oak a beautiful burgundy color.
 
                
 
Continuing, I constructed a William & Mary style Prie Dieu for Rev. Lynnsay, the Director of the Julian of Norwich Center, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Rev. Lynnsay loves this style of furniture, so there was really no other consideration. I searched and found photos of an extant William & Mary desk on frame and figured out how to add a kneeling platform. Not wanting to take away from the design of the original desk on frame, the references to the Trinity are quite subtle. The dovetails are grouped into threes, and there are three mahogany niches inside the cherry desk
 
                
 
My 2018 Lent actually started in late July of 2017 when I started a Reformation Era Prie Dieu for Fr. Chad, the Rector of St. Bede’s. Having degrees in both English and Art History, Fr. Chad was a museum curator prior to becoming a priest. He and I have had many conversations about Anglican church history and the traditions of the Episcopal Church. So much so, I felt a Reformation Era Prie Dieu quite à propos. The style/details of this solid walnut Prie Dieu are based on existing pieces of church furniture seen on my recent trip to London. As with the William & Mary Prie Dieu reference to the Trinity is subtle and can be found in the three cocobolo butterflies in the kneeling platform and the two sets of three lambs tongue stopped chamfers at the side corners.
 
                
 
With the delivery of Fr. Chad’s Prie Dieu, my three-year long Lenten journey comes to a close. I must say it was quite rewarding.
 
Please follow the links provided to the project page  for each individual Prie Dieu:

Folding Prie Dieu
Arts & Craft Style Prie Dieu
William & Mary Prie Dieu
Reformation Era Prie Dieu
 

All questions and/or comments welcomed. Thanks for looking!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.



19 comments so far

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1008 posts in 2074 days


#1 posted 03-05-2018 07:25 PM

Beautiful work Ron. God bless.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

View IantheTinker's profile

IantheTinker

222 posts in 90 days


#2 posted 03-05-2018 07:36 PM

You took on a serious task and applied yourself to it whole-heartedly, naturally the reward of being finished is a great one. I expect they all see a lot of use and will hold up well for many years. I like that they are all unique in their own way and for their own reasons. Thoughtfulness can go a long way indeed!

-- “How you feeling, Roy?”... “a little unappreciated, Al...” - Die Hard

View Oldtool's profile

Oldtool

2596 posts in 2154 days


#3 posted 03-05-2018 07:45 PM

Ron, all are outstanding, you did some magnificent woodwork. I’m sure all gifts were much very appreciated and will become their family heirlooms.
Of the four, I favor the William & Mary style, reminds me of the desks I made for my granddaughters, a style I chose to build due to it’s elegance – at least in my humble opinion.
I understand what you mean when you say “quite rewarding”, that is the heart & soul of woodworking – satisfaction in making something, by hand, which becomes a favored possession, especially when it is gifted to another person. Great work.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Ron Aylor's profile (online now)

Ron Aylor

2494 posts in 610 days


#4 posted 03-05-2018 09:08 PM


Beautiful work Ron. God bless.

- JADobson


Thank you, James.

You took on a serious task and applied yourself to it whole-heartedly, naturally the reward of being finished is a great one. I expect they all see a lot of use and will hold up well for many years. I like that they are all unique in their own way and for their own reasons. Thoughtfulness can go a long way indeed!

- IantheTinker


Thank you, Ian.

Ron, all are outstanding, you did some magnificent woodwork. I m sure all gifts were much very appreciated and will become their family heirlooms.
Of the four, I favor the William & Mary style, reminds me of the desks I made for my granddaughters, a style I chose to build due to it s elegance – at least in my humble opinion.
I understand what you mean when you say “quite rewarding”, that is the heart & soul of woodworking – satisfaction in making something, by hand, which becomes a favored possession, especially when it is gifted to another person. Great work.

- Oldtool


Thank you, Tom.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1931 posts in 545 days


#5 posted 03-05-2018 09:34 PM

Very nicely done, Ron. And you learned a lot along the way, I suspect. Both woodworking and other more valuable knowledge. Good work, buddy!

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View Kelster58's profile

Kelster58

562 posts in 503 days


#6 posted 03-05-2018 09:43 PM

These are just outstanding pieces of craftsmanship. Thanks for sharing and explaining your thoughts and ideas and revealing a bit about the recipients. There are some students in Industrial Arts classes here in Northeast Pennsylvania that also have gained a sense of appreciation for your work. Through your blogs and posts they have an understanding that machines aren’t always the answer and anything is possible through hard work and dedication. You truly are a fine example and I am thankful I could follow your progress through Lumberjocks and share with my students.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View Ron Aylor's profile (online now)

Ron Aylor

2494 posts in 610 days


#7 posted 03-05-2018 11:44 PM


Very nicely done, Ron. And you learned a lot along the way, I suspect. Both woodworking and other more valuable knowledge. Good work, buddy!

- Dave Polaschek

Thanks, Dave. Yes, I did learn a lot with these Prie Dieux. This was my first time ever using jatoba, which is harder than my head. I learned that you can successfully dye wood with red wine, and that semi-spot-on replication is possible with a spring pole. This was my first time making a split spindle. The most important lesson was that of patience.


These are just outstanding pieces of craftsmanship. Thanks for sharing and explaining your thoughts and ideas and revealing a bit about the recipients. There are some students in Industrial Arts classes here in Northeast Pennsylvania that also have gained a sense of appreciation for your work. Through your blogs and posts they have an understanding that machines aren’t always the answer and anything is possible through hard work and dedication. You truly are a fine example and I am thankful I could follow your progress through Lumberjocks and share with my students.

- Kelster58


Thanks, Kelly. I’m flattered that you and your students appreciate my work. Hopefully we’ve all learned something along the way. I know I certainly have.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

7315 posts in 2006 days


#8 posted 03-06-2018 01:00 AM

The journey has made this a better world for everyone involved. Great job in the making.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View ElroyD's profile

ElroyD

67 posts in 551 days


#9 posted 03-06-2018 01:11 AM

Gorgeous work. I’m really drawn to the William & Mary style one, but the Arts & Crafts style one is wonderful!

-- Elroy

View Blackberry's profile

Blackberry

118 posts in 1116 days


#10 posted 03-06-2018 01:36 AM

Wonderful gifts. You’re ability to work with only hand tools is phenomenal.

View Ron Aylor's profile (online now)

Ron Aylor

2494 posts in 610 days


#11 posted 03-06-2018 12:12 PM


The journey has made this a better world for everyone involved. Great job in the making.

- doubleDD

Than you, Dave, that is very kind of you to say.


Gorgeous work. I’m really drawn to the William & Mary style one, but the Arts & Crafts style one is wonderful!

- ElroyD

Thanks, Elroy! I haven’t heard from you lately … I hope all is well with you and yours.


Wonderful gifts. You’re ability to work with only hand tools is phenomenal.

- Blackberry

Thank you, Greg!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1032 posts in 2275 days


#12 posted 03-06-2018 04:22 PM

Quite outstanding! I hadn’t realised you were making a whole series of these pieces. Each one is a fine example of your craftsmanship and attention to details. The recipients must have been extremely pleased with them. I have enjoyed watching you make them along the way.
Thanks for sharing them with us.
Jim

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Ron Aylor's profile (online now)

Ron Aylor

2494 posts in 610 days


#13 posted 03-06-2018 04:39 PM


Quite outstanding! I hadn’t realised you were making a whole series of these pieces. Each one is a fine example of your craftsmanship and attention to details. The recipients must have been extremely pleased with them. I have enjoyed watching you make them along the way.
Thanks for sharing them with us.
Jim

- Jim Rowe

Thank you very much, Jim. I really enjoyed blogging about the builds, as well … it helped to keep me on task. Yes, each recipient was quite pleased, with a windstorm of emotion as they did not know what was coming when I requested an audience.

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View stefang's profile

stefang

15881 posts in 3297 days


#14 posted 03-06-2018 09:55 PM

Very well done. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ron Aylor's profile (online now)

Ron Aylor

2494 posts in 610 days


#15 posted 03-07-2018 12:26 AM



Very well done. Keep up the good work!

- stefang


Thanks, Mike!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

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