Carpentry students build skills with church pew restoration project

In December, students in Eddie Lucas’ carpentry program completed a unique “live work” project – replicating a set of antique church pews for Resurrection Catholic Church located in Clanton, Alabama.

In addition to restoring two original pews, the students constructed 22 new seats. Lucas said the job allowed students to practice a wide range of carpentry skills. “We used nearly every piece of equipment, hand and power tool in the shop,” said Lucas, “including a replicator we built specifically for this job.”

In addition to measurement, cost-estimating and pattern-making, the students learned advanced skills needed to create the curved seat backs, apply the quartersawn red oak veneer and carve intricate details on the pew arms.

Along the way the project caught the interest of Roy Clem, Executive Director of Alabama Public Television, and was covered on APTV’s weekly news program, Capitol Journal.

“The project provided students with more than technical skills,” said Lucas, “it gave them an opportunity to give back to the community. They were really pleased to have finished it in time for Christmas.”