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Church Chairs a Long Due Makeover

Aug 12, 2008
A few centuries ago, in the 1600's you may not have been likely to find chairs in all churches. If you did find seating, chances are good it would not have been in good shape because money was not readily available and churches often had their congregation stand rather than sit. Today, however, church chairs are a necessity. Very few people are likely to attend a church that doesn't give them somewhere to sit!

Frequently in the 1600s and 1700s, and even the 1800s, those churches that did have church chairs or pews for the congregation chose to rent that seating out, so in order to have a place to sit on Sunday, you paid for your family to have a pew or chairs reserved for them.

Unlike today, that means that your family could be the last ones in the door, but you would still have a place to sit while others who arrived before you may have had to stand. Obviously, if your family was financially well-off, you were more likely to have pew space, and less-wealthy families who could not afford it would have to stand.

Later, near the end of the 1800s, churches began to rethink their church chairs and seating arrangements. It became more important to offer pews or chairs to the congregation, and it was becoming more important to allow everyone a place to sit regardless of their ability to pay for the privilege.

Typically back then, and still today, church chairs and other church furniture is expected to match; that is, they should be made out of the same kind of wood. Today, that is not as difficult to accomplish as it was a few hundred years ago. Back then, building church chairs was time consuming and required the skill of many workers. It was also more difficult to get "matching trees" to have matching furniture.

Usually, a church would buy all the same type of lumber all at the same time to ensure that the wood would all be the same. So, once that was done, the church had wood but no stacking church chairs, regular church chairs, or pews. All they had was raw wood.

Once the lumber arrived, it was time to get the wood in the best possible shape for furniture making. It had to be put somewhere out of the elements and the best place was a place that could be heated so some of the natural wetness in the wood could evaporate and the woodworkers could work with wood that had been dried a little. Then, the wood had to be cut to the right size and any natural blemishes had to be removed. Then, the woodworkers could begin their skilled carving of the church chairs or pews.

They would carve out the individual pieces of the church furniture first; for example, they would make the legs and arms, then the seat, then the back. Once those were carved, all the pieces could be put together to form complete church chairs. They could be held in place with special types of glue and/or jigs.

It was important that the church furniture be finely crafted so that it would last a long time and also remain intact with its beautiful and pretty looks. So, you can see what a time-consuming and difficult task it used to be to make church furniture! To keep those church chairs looking their best, they needed to be waxed and/or oiled on a regular basis, as well, so upkeep was important also.

Today, most church furniture is manufactured by machine in factories, so it is less time-consuming and takes a smaller percentage of the church budget than it did a few hundred years ago. Some fine wooden church furniture is still oiled, but for the most part modern church chairs and pews have a lacquer coating or some other kind of wood finish that simply allows the furniture to be dusted to look its best.

As evidence of the difficulty in getting a lot of church chairs or pews in a church, you can look to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The Basilica itself is huge, but the seating is very limited. That probably has to do with the complicated and time-consuming method of church chair building that was necessary several centuries ago.

Nowadays, it is not nearly so difficult to furnish a church. Church furniture is mass produced, and even if it is not, shipping of lumber and improvements in furniture making equipment have made the task of providing church furnishing so much easier. In fact, if you ever find yourself with the task of furnishing a church, you can probably get everything you need from the Internet. What could be simpler than that?
About the Author
Seomul Evans is a seo copywriter for a leading Church Chairs manufacturer specializing in affordable Church Chairs.
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