"A tabernacle is a fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" (stored). A less obvious container for the same purpose, set into a wall, is called an aumbry.

     Within Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and in some congregations of Anglicanism and Lutheranism, a tabernacle is a box-like vessel for the exclusive reservation of the consecrated Eucharist. It is normally made of metal, stone or wood, is lockable and secured to its altar or adjacent wall to prevent the consecrated elements within from being removed without authorization. The "reserved Eucharist" is secured there for distribution at services, for availability to bring Holy Communion to the sick, and, especially in the Western Church, as the center of attention for meditation and prayer. The term "tabernacle" arose for this item as a reference to the Old Testament tabernacle which was the locus of God's presence among the Jewish people hence, it was formerly required (and is still generally customary) that the tabernacle be covered with a tent-like veil or curtains across its door when the Eucharist is present within." Source:

     Tabernacles are a lot of fun to build. Here is a description of a tabernacle I designed and built.

picture of the tabernacle

This is a picture of the unfinished tabernacle showing the wafer shelf standing on end.

picture of the tabernacle

Here is a picture of the unfinished tabernacle with the wafer shelf installed.

picture of the tabernacle

This picture shows the tabernacle with its door closed. Note the walnut cross attached to the door. I think this really adds to the overall appearance of this piece. I used an ogee router bit to put a finished edge on the top of the tabernacle.

picture of the tabernacle

This picture shows a stain being applied to the tabernacle.

picture of completed tabernacle

This picture shows the completed tabernacle with a golden oak stain protected by three coats of clear polyurethane finish.

front view drawing of the tabernacle

Drawing showing the front view of the tabernacle. Note that dovetail joinery is used to attach the sides to the base. Also note that the ledges which will support the wafer tray are mortised into the sides of the tabernacle.

side view of the tabernacle

Drawing of the side of the tabernacle. Note that pocket screws are used to attach the top.

drawing of the tabernacle

This is a drawing of the back of the tabernacle. Note that the inside edges of the base, sides, and top are mitered to accept a 1/4" plywood back.

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Updated 04/07/2018
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