Solid Oak Font Cover For Local Church

We have a variety of talented clients who approach us searching for that special piece of timber suitable for their project.  This was no exception.   The Church at Forncett St. Peter in Norfolk required a new solid oak font cover and our client leapt at the challenge.

Our client explains how he set about this task:

Taking the template from the original the hexagonal cover is made of eight triangles glued and biscuit jointed together. I wanted to achieve a star pattern with the grain radiating out from the centre.

Initially I cut the triangles as half quadrants to facilitate gluing. I planned to:

1) glue the eight half quadrants into quadrants;

2) plane and then glue the four quadrants into two halves;

3) re-plane and glue the two halves; and

4) cut the hexagonal shape.

The plan may seem be a bit complicated but trying to glue eight triangles together at the same time to an exact centre and with perfect joints seems to me an impossible task! With my plan I re-planed the mating surfaces before each gluing to ensure perfect joints.  

I made the octagon by gluing eight triangles of 34mm prime oak selected so the grain radiated from the centre. Assembling these was the tricky part! I made a jig to glue pairs of triangles into quadrants. Then, after re-facing the quadrants, I glued each pair into halves. Then I refaced the halves and glued them together. Last I cut the excess wood to make the octagon. 

On the back of the cover I attached a supporting disk (finished to 550mm).  I next set about carving the memorial letters.  To do this I applied paper templates onto the disc and next carved through the lettering before removing the paper.

The next stage was  to mount the cover on the lathe and cut a hole in the centre to receive the Tudor Rose carving.– the largest piece that I have turned – scary! But all turned out well.  

The Tudor rose  carving mimics the original carvings on the underside of the 16 C stone font. It is carved on a tapered disc and glued into the octagon.  Finally I finished with two coats of Osma Oil to enhance the colour and highlight the fabulous grain.

Ben Sutton commented: ‘It is so lovely to receive feed back from our clients and to know that something beautiful has been created using our timber.  This is a really work of art and will make a stunning addition to the font at the church for many many years to come. ‘

About the author

Ben Sutton has established himself as independent hardwood timber merchant and supplier with a solid reputation built up over the last 20 years. He is committed to providing a bespoke and professional service to his clients at all times, whilst maintaining the highest quality product. Follow Ben on LinkedIn.