Recently Matthew and I were invited to attend a dedication Shabbat for a local Jewish Synagogue's new building where the Ark cabinet that Matthew designed and Woodleaf built was the centerpiece of the ceremony. The Ark cabinet for those of you that are not familiar with Judaism houses the Torahs for the Temple. Matthew educated himself about the significance of the Torahs and the Ark to the Jewish religion in order to develop a design appropriate for the congregation. Matthew met many times with the Temple's design committee and the Rabbi. He also attended a bar mitzvah in order to better understand the role of the Ark cabinet in the services. After countless hours spent on his design he presented it to the committee and they were quite pleased. The Ark took two and a half months for Woodleaf to build.
The Ark is very large at 82 1/2 inches wide, 41 inches deep and 10 feet high. It has a three dimensional door front with 12 Star of David's depicted that represent the 12 Tribes of Israel which is of religious significance. The mechanism for opening the large door consists of 75 pounds of lead weights for counterbalance, a solid brass pulley, and a sash rope in order to keep the system quiet as it moves. The door is lockable but the lock is not visible from the front of the cabinet.
The interior of the cabinet features a back panel of 960 pieces of beveled ash for added dimension and detail. There is a closet switch that automatically illuminates the inside of the cabinet when it is opened with a concealed LED light strip.
The cabinet was made from cherry plywood, cherry solids, walnut and ash. It was finished with a light aniline stain and clear lacquer.