I designed and built this Prayer Altar as a gift to my friend who is Hindu. She has been wanting a large Prayer Altar for many years but did not have a lot of extra money to spend on one. She came to me about making one for her but I was very nervous because I had never built steps; let alone, an altar. This project took me about two days to complete and she is very happy with it. Looking back, there are a few things that I would have done differently but I am still happy with the results.
The first step in this project was to design a template of what my friend wanted the Altar to look like, At the time, I did not have my lap top with me so my friend and I came up with a very basic drawing on a sheet of computer paper and estimated what the height of the structure should be.
Step 1: Selecting the Wood
The next step in this project was to select scrap wood from my workshop. I had several types of scrap wood pieces but I tried to select the best pieces for this project. I didn't have to pay for anything except the hardware. I decided on using Birch Plywood for the steps and sides and sheathing for the other areas. I cut all all wood to dimensions; I cut the steps using a Framing Square for accuracy.
Step 2: Gluing the Skeleton Structure
For this step, I used an 80 Watt Stanley Glue Gun to create a skeleton frame. I did not have someone to help me so this step made it easier for me to assemble the structure. Be very careful because this glue gets very hot!!! it can almost burn a hole through your finger!
Step 3: Frame Is Up and on It's Feet.
During this step, I had a good idea how the project would come together. I did not realize how huge a 40x40 structure would be. Personally, I think it should have been a bit smaller but this is the size that my friend requested. Once She approved of the size and structure, I fastened all the pieces together using SPAX wood to wood screws (these screws are amazing!)
Now that the basic structure is in place, I sanded it with an Orbit Sander followed by an inline Sander . I used an iron to attach the wood veneer edging to cover the ugly Plywood edges.
Step 5: Finished at Last!
This is the finished product. I stained the wood using an oak stain and Poly seal. The top portion was attached with brackets to the base. I sketched the top design and cut it (the top) with a Jig Saw. It did not come out very nicely because I did not realize that I was using a Jig Saw Blade that was made for metal. In the future, I will be sure to check everything before using my Jig Saw. Sorry I cannot find the pictures of this step!
Step 6: The Altar in Use
This is a picture of the Altar in use. I wish some of the wood were exposed but at least, it is functional!