Captain Picard’s Prei Dieu – A Prayer Kneeler In Bubinga & Figured Maple

Well, I didn’t actually make this for the wise and intrepid Jean Luc Picard. After all he exists in the future, but when my wife saw the completed piece, she thought it would look great on the Starship Enterprise. Yes, it kind of looks like it might want to fly off into the heavens; appropriate, I think, for an object intended to aid someone in talking to God.

Perhaps, the noble Picard will find it in an antique shop someday and claim it as his own.

The design brief I received from my client was that he wanted sides that were curvy and C-shaped, with a cross in the front that had open space around it- absolutely nothing boxy, paneled, or closed in looking. The design process can be pretty agonizing for me, often taking many hours to arrive at something I am truly happy with. So, I prayed about this one and forty five minutes later these drawings popped off the drafting table.

The construction process did not happen nearly as quickly. I thought I could build it in two weeks, but it took me three. Yes, yes. I wound up doing it for love, beauty, and soul satisfaction rather than the money. Unfortunately one cannot eat soul satisfaction. Well, there is a lot of curving and tapering going on in the parts of this piece and many of the joints intersect along curves and at angles other than 90 degrees. It all looks visually simple, but it took much head scratching and careful cutting to get things to come together cleanly and precisely, and I had to pay attention to the ergonomics so that it would be a kneeler that is actually comfortable to kneel at.

I put the side pieces together with miter joints to create a nice flow visually, but as every woodworker knows, miter joints have no gluing strength, so I reenforced them with double tenons.

The parts that make up the cross and those curving vertical slats in the front are all mortise and tenoned together also.


Finally, my client wanted a hidden storage compartment built into his prei dieu, so with a little more head scratching, I came up with this solution. Removing a brass pin allows the upholstered kneeling frame to be lifted off revealing a small box beneath it. I hope no one tells my client his secret compartment is now all over the internet, but I was kind of proud of the way it turned out and couldn’t resist showing it off.

When I finally got the prei dieu finished and delivered, my client and I were both very happy with the way it turned out. Praise the Lord!

To see more of my work please go to My Furniture Gallery. To see even more of my work, please visit my website.



6 thoughts on “Captain Picard’s Prei Dieu – A Prayer Kneeler In Bubinga & Figured Maple

    1. Laura, thanks so much for your inquiry. I am a full-time furniture maker and would be happy to make one of these prayer kneelers for you. Because of the complex joinery & assembly on this piece, it is not a project that would lend itself to being pre-cut & put together by someone else. It is a beautiful piece of sculpture & labor intensive to create. The cost is $3,300. Let me know if I can serve you. Blessings!
      Louis Fry

  1. Nice work! I’m also a woodworker and my wife asked me to make a kneeler for our prayer corner, so I’m perusing the web looking for ideas. I really love how this came out! I may have to “borrow” an idea or two from this design.

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