In the previous post, Rob updated you on all the projects in progress within our shop walls over the past couple of weeks. One of the projects he mentioned was my "fancy carved cross". So, let's take a closer look, shall we?
This commission is destined to be a wall hanging, much larger version of the client's Celtic cross necklace pendant. I had made a hand mirror for his daughter last year with a carved handle resembling a ballet slipper so when we came by our booth at Long's Park in September, he asked if I could handle this little project. I think my response was, "sign me up!" or something equally as excited. It's nearly done now but, it's been a problem-solving process the whole way.
The cross arms are made out of a figured cherry while the knot is made from maple. The arms were somewhat straightforward once the material was selected. I made some MDF templates in the shape I wanted, rough cut the shape at the band saw, and then duplicated the templates exact shape with a router and a pattern-copying bit.
The knot was a different story. Sure, I could have attempted to carve it all by hand or with a Dremel but, I know myself well enough to know that none of the lines would be straight and none of the voids would be the same size or shape. So, I quickly nixed that idea and started thinking of how I could use machines to get me started. As always, I gravitate to the plunge router because it's a literal godsend. It does everything. Anyway, I laid out the shape I wanted with all of accurate measurements and a bit of help from the circle template.
I cut the square in the middle of the knot using a template I made by raising the table saw up through a piece of MDF four times to cut out a perfect square. The rounded half-moon shapes required some tracing paper to transfer my original layout onto some MDF. I then took to the scroll saw to cut the shape as best I could and used some sand paper to clean up. When the templates were done, it was easy peasy. A plunge router loaded with a template guide bushing and a straight plunge bit did the trick just as I had hoped. I was sure to double face tape the maple piece onto something so that there wasn't any blowout on the underside when I made the final cuts all the way through.
After using the machines to get me 75% of the way to success, I took to the hand tools. I carved out the knot so that it has the appearance that it's looping through itself (just like the necklace). I wasn't so sure I pulled it off at first but with a bit of sanding it might just look okay!
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where I find myself now. Today, I will rout a slot in the back that will allow for it to sit easily on a screw or nail on the wall. I also have some finish sanding to do but, this guy should be oiled by early next week.
Although projects like this are small and won't provide a place to sit or store things like the furniture we normally produce, I love making them. This was inspired by a very important belonging and will be a keepsake for Jerry to pass on to his children. Plus, it was also super fun for me to get lost in template making and hand carving for a while. I'll post some photos when it's all finished so that we can all admire my mad skills together.
Until next time, folks, have a wonderful weekend! I hear there is something super about sports happening.