In churches there is usually but one gallery, and as the "sighting" is not as important as in a theatre, it is usually possible to regulate the width and height of the gallery (from the main floor) so that a 12 inch step will give the occupants a view of the pulpit platform and of a portion of the main floor.
Church galleries also generally have straight fronts, and if pitched lengthways the inclination is usually the same at the back and front, so that the supports remain of the same length. The construction must, as a rule, be of timber, as comparatively few churches can afford steel framing. Every architect, however, should endeavor to have the under side of the galleries protected by wire or some form of metal lathing, as this adds very little to the expense and would retard for a considerable time the destruction of the gallery by fire. There is also less danger of the plaster dropping from metal lathing than from wood laths.
When the conditions of the building will permit, the writer has found the method of gallery supports shown in Figs. 460 and 461 to be the most practical and economical.
The support is obtained by 10-inch or 12-inch joists, according to the span, which rest on a girder at the inner end and are built into the wall at the outer end. Especial provision should be made to have the joists well tied to the wall, as otherwise the weight will have a tendency to push them inward, or the wall out. At least every other joist should be securely anchored. The wall end of the joists should also be notched, as shown at S, to give a horizontal bearing on the wall.
The steppings may be formed of 2X4's, supported by 1¼-inch boards, spiked to each side and to the joist, or 2X4-inch uprights may be set under the ends of the horizontal pieces, as shown.
The projecting front, where it does not exceed 3 feet, may be framed by spiking a wedge-shaped piece of plank to the top of the joist, and then nailing a wide board to the side of both pieces. The rail, if of wood, is generally constructed of a framework of 2x4's ceiled on the inside and paneled and moulded as may be desired on the outside, the top being covered with a wide cap piece. The uprights of the framework should be securely spiked to the side of the joist supporting the gallery.
In churches it is not desirable to have the solid portion of the railing exceed 2 feet in height on the inside, and 22 inches is better.
If a higher rail is desired an ornamental rail of 2-inch brass or steel tubing, with standards from 3 to 4 feet apart, may be placed on top of the wooden rail, as this does not obstruct the view as a solid railing would.
If the projection of the gallery front beyond the line of the posts is between 3 and 6 feet, the floor may be supported as shown in Fig. 461. In this case it will be necessary to drop the upper end of the 1 2-inch joist, so that the inner end will come about as shown in the figure.
In order not to obstruct the view more than is necessary, the depth of the joist under the front step should not exceed 10 inches, and the girder should drop as little as possible, consistent with proper framing for the joists.
If the gallery is circular in plan the joists should radiate toward the centre from which the steppings are described, and the girder should be built of two steel channels bent to the proper curve and breaking joint over alternate supports.