After making the decision that we would go with this project, my first thought was; How to begin? Not knowing that Tabernacle kits were available, I assumed that we would do the math, calculate a scale size, cut all the parts from wood and build this model from scratch. The first step, however, was to do some research and become better educated on the Tabernacle. Obviously, the book of Exodus is a good place to start. The Bible gives a tremendous amount of detail concerning the construction of the Tabernacle and itĎs furnishings. From there I spent time on the internet doing more research and it was there I discovered the availability of kits to build a model of the Tabernacle. I found 2 kits available online. One was a small plastic kit that, according to descriptions, can be assembled rather quickly. Of course, if you want to increase realism, more time would be needed. A larger wooden kit is also available from the Mennonite Information Center located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They also have a full-sized Tabernacle reproduction located there, which I would love to visit one day. After some consideration, I decided to order this wooden kit, rather than work from scratch. This is a photo of our kit laid out.

In this photo the wall boards for the Tabernacle are
bundled at the lower left; a package of furniture (left
center); posts for the courtyard fence along with
the white fence material (bottom center); fabric (felt)
for the tent covering: and yarn to weave the veils and
entrance gate.
This photo shows the posts along with their caps and
bases (right side) that hold the courtyard fence; In the
upper left are the posts for the veils, the rods to lock
the walls together, and the base for the walls to set in.

Additional materials

In addition to the kit, there quite a few additional items needed in order to build a quality model.
Iíll mention some of these here and others as we come to that part of the model.

* A plywood base to build the model on.
In the photos above, our kit is spread upon the base that we used. The kit is designed to fit on a plywood base measuring 2 by 4 feet. I decided to make the width about 2 Ĺ feet wide in order to have room on the side to add information about the Tabernacle and our model. More about that later.

* Gold and silver metallic spray paint. I had some gold metallic paint already, but had to buy some more and discovered that Dutch Boy brand seems to look the best.

* Assorted colors of water based paints. Iíll explain in later in Finishing Touches.

* Wood glue

* Landscaping sand and scenic cement for modeling. After all, the Tabernacle was in the desert wilderness. Available from most hobby shops, especially those which sell model railroad supplies.

As it turns out, I chose to make a lot of parts from scratch rather than use those supplied in the kit. Although the kit is good, I felt that with a little work, I could improve upon the quality and realism. Most of the furnishings for our Tabernacle were made from scratch. Also the two veils are made from other materials. When we get to the tent coverings, we will probably use other fabric that I came across rather than the colored felt that came in the kit. The Mennonite kit appears to be hand-made rather than mass produced by machine and obviously if they were to put more time into producing a higher quality kit, the cost would be much greater. Iíll talk more about the kit and scratch building as we go along. Be sure to check out the page: Things we would have done differently.

Modifying the base