The St. Bernard Church
Restoration Project: 78 Pews

September 15, 2013: The LADY-FAME Book Project is still my highest priority right now, but, my favorite restoration project at St. Bernard Church started back up right at the moment the Kickstarter Project to help fund LADY-FAME ended! The past three months, during which I had been planning to sit at the keyboard, instead became three months of graining pews.

For more information on the LADY-FAME Book Project, CLICK HERE:


Several images of the interior of St Bernard Church showing some of the previous restoration work.
Popcorn ceilings scraped down and resurfaced, resurfacing and reinforcement of other plaster surfaces, woodwork grained to come closer in appearance to the original (1886) clear-coated woodwork. I also had the opportunity to redo some of the stencilling which had been covered over and do a bit of gilding (23 Karat).

The Pews:

Above are three close-up images of parts of the pews where layers of paint have been removed to show the original clear-coated wood. The pews were most likely built locally because of the mix of redwood along with the more to be expected fir. This seemed to be fairly common in local construction and I've seen it many times before, primarily in the construction of windows and window trim. The first image shows old growth fir (shellacked), the second is old growth redwood also shellacked. I tried in my graining to get a bit of the "two-tone" quality that the pews must have had in their original state.

The last image is of a lower portion revealing the battleship grey color that was applied over all woodwork in the church maybe as far back as the 1920's. This layer most likely had some lead in it and that was one of the factors in deciding that stripping the pews back to their original wood was not practical


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