I have checked the sidebar widget which shows my five most popular posts as well as my stats. It turns out that the number one post, the first one on my home altar, is not only my most popular post, but it has more hits than the other four posts combined. So, in the spirit of giving the people what they seem to want, here is another update on the altar.
When I last checked in, I had completed the base of the altar, or the altar itself, and was now working on the altar piece, or superstructure, as I called it then. Work has not progressed as quickly as I would like, as my time is severely limited, but I have made a little progress. As a reminder, here is a photo of the altar upon which mine is based:
Now here is a photo of mine so far:
The top section is not yet attached. I placed it on top and have it leaning against the wall just for the purposes of this photograph.
As I have said, the piece is much easier to make than it appears at first glance. The main structure of the top consists of the four upright pieces and six horizontal pieces ( three straight, three with arches cut into them) joined by mortise and tenon joints. They could also be made with dowel or biscuit joints. Whichever way they are joined, that is the fundamental structure of the top. Almost everything else you can see in the photograph of the original is decoration.
The decorations, in a way, make the building of the piece easier, rather than more difficult. Without the decorations, the work would have to be perfect. If there are any readers out there who sew and make clothes or dresses, they will understand. For those who don't, let me explain. If you want to know how good your tailor or seamstress is, don't ask them to make a complicated wedding dress; ask them to make a simple man's shirt, with straight lines, no frills. Anyone can make the wedding dress, but the shirt... with the shirt there is nowhere to hide mistakes.
It is the same with woodworking. The decorations look lovely, but they are also a huge distraction. The eye dos not rest in any one place, because the decorations draw the eye off and distract it. No one piece has to be absolutely perfect, because no one is going to look at the piece long enough or close enough to see its imperfections. Of course, this work is AMDG so I am trying to make it as perfect as I can, but even so, if I can allow myself some slight leeway.
I have broken down and moved away from my more strict adherence to galoot building. I cut the moulding on the arches with my router. Generally, I hate using the thing. It is loud, covers the entire workshop with a thin film of sawdust, and is dangerous. That thing will take a finger off and turn it into hamburger before the pain reaches your brain. I had no intention of using it at all on this piece, but my efforts at carving moulding were not turning out well, and it would be quicker and easier to just use the router. I hope that's the last time I use it on this piece.
I imagine I'll have to set it aside for now, and work on Christmas presents for the next few weeks. I'll have another post about the altar when I have a little more to show.