When first visiting St. Raphael Church, the church was contemplating purchasing all new pews. Due to the original condition of the existing pews, the founder of The Keck Group, Bob Koeck, initially felt the same.
Within the pews were turquoise seat cushions that were stapled into the solid oak. The seats were anchored underneath the pew and into the back. After further examination of peeling back those seat cushions, Bob fortunately found that the staples were inserted in a recessed area between the capping and back.
When the pastor saw what the beautiful solid ash looked like, he agreed to let The Keck Group take a pew to refinish as a sample. At the same time, The Keck Group removed the large plastic cross panel on the ends. These pews had been finished over numerous times, and the later coats were peeling.
The outcome of the sample pew that was refinished was so spectacular that the pastor couldn’t believe it was the same pew. Only half of the sample pew had been restored, but when it was put back together with the existing pew, the church decided that they wanted it to go in the narthex for all to see along with a large sign explaining the transformation.
The Keck Group was awarded the contract and finished the pews just in time for Christmas. The whole church had been transformed after this project was completed.