Hand-crafted for the co-cathedral

April 1, 2008 4:27:44 PM PDT
The artwork inside the new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart comes from around the world, but some prominent pieces, including furniture, were hand-crafted right here in the Bayou City. After months of hard work, and perhaps divine inspiration, the work of a Houston Heights furniture maker has found its home inside the new co-cathedral.

FULL COVERAGE: Go inside the new co-cathedral
VIDEO: Video coverage of the co-cathedral

"I work usually from when my feet hit the floor in the morning till when 1 go to bed," said furniture maker Michael Dobbins.

The beauty of the furniture is no surprise, once you meet the man who made it.

"We try to take the intent that the pieces we make will stand up to the test of time for 100 years or more," said Dobbins.

Dobbins has been making liturgical furniture for years. "Everything is hand crafted and that really makes everything more personal for us because you really feel like you've put your heart and soul into the piece," he said.

He started with drawings, no computer printouts in this workshop.

"We subcontract nothing out," said Dobbins. "Everything is done in-house."

Each piece of red oak wood was carefully selected. Dobbins spent two days at the mill making sure each piece was flawless. Before even one cut, Dobbins and his staff spent days studying the drawings.

"Grasp the vision, grasp the idea of everything we're trying to achieve," he said.

That vision is now a reality, and part of Houston's co-cathedral.

"There's just a feeling that comes over you of just, reverence, of being able to make furniture that is accepted in the community, that is used to worship our Lord," said Dobbins.

The 'cathedra' is the one piece of furniture you cannot miss when you walk into the building.

"No matter where you are in the cathedral, your eyes tend to go to the cathedra," Dobbins told us.

It is 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and graced by the seal of the archdiocese.

"A lot of scroll work on it, a lot of small detail work," said Dobbins.

The cathedra seats anyone the rank of Bishop or higher and is flanked by pieces of similar design.

"As long as the wood is treated appropriately, there is no reason that it should not last forever," said Dobbins.

It's furniture made to last, for a place of worship built to last.

"You just get such a good feeling about it, and it's like, I just feel really blessed to be able do this work," he said.

The dedication for the co-cathedral is tomorrow. ABC-13 and abc13.com will have exclusive live coverage in English and in Spanish beginning at 11am.

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