Celtic Cross carved out of Walnut

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Blog entry by halfmoon posted 01-20-2021 09:48 PM 721 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m carving a Celtic Cross out of walnut, about 32” tall by 23” wide, Celtic Cross on the front and sort of a phi spiral floret on the back. After much consultation in a Forum here on Lumberjocks with folks with much more knowledge than I have, I decided to run the grain of most of the cross horizontally, to minimize water damage as it’s going to be outdoors. The stem or base grain runs vertically. The final product will be 2 pieces of slab glued together with the stem notched in between them, sort like a mortise and tenon. I took a slab about 100” x 26” of 10/4, had it flattened, cut the stem and the notch using a bandsaw and radial arm saw, trying to get the end of the stem to be the same curve as the blade of the radial saw. I started the carving on the stem, to get some idea how deep I wanted the relief to be, before working on the larger body, settling on 5/16” relief. Took a copy of that part of the design, taped it over the wood and cut the design into the wood with a construction knife, applying more tape as needed to keep the pattern in place, used a power carver (Santa was very generous this year) to make a deeper border. Where there was room I used a small router with a 1/4” straight bit to get most of the wood out, where it was too tight just the carver and a rotary tool

. So far no major blunders.
The most important tool so far- reading glasses, 2.50 instead of the 1.75 I usually use

6 comments so far

View Notw's profile


1266 posts in 3248 days

#1 posted 01-22-2021 03:04 PM

looks like a great start, should be an awesome project

View splintergroup's profile


7129 posts in 2717 days

#2 posted 01-23-2021 03:48 PM

The construction looks rock solid! I really like the Celtic designs, this will be a standout where ever it is placed. I know I should wait, but hopefully you’ll show a killer way to preserve it for years outdoors with a super-finish 8^)

I’ve been thinking of testing stabilizing resin for wood outdoor objects. Still seeking the ultimate.

View Maro2Bear's profile


40 posts in 528 days

#3 posted 01-23-2021 04:22 PM

Wonderful. Love Celtic patterns.

-- Mark B. Glenn Dale, MD

View halfmoon's profile


12 posts in 637 days

#4 posted 02-22-2021 11:39 PM

I used a regular Porter Cable router with a plunge base to hollow out the area between the ring and the cross itself, also to reduce the thickness for the ring. Similar approach for the knotwork on the ring as on the stem, taped it on, scored it with a knife, this time I then penciled along the line for greater visibility. The small router- a Makita laminate trimmer- has a base just wide enough to cut out the relief on the inside of the ring while keeping the router base on the arms of the cross, so the depth would be uniform. The visibility with that router is pretty good, I was able to get a reasonable view of where the bit was going and not cut into the design. Cutting the relief on the outside of the ring was more difficult, that’s the photo with the plywood platform to rest the bigger router on. A 1/8 inch taper Typhoon burr has been really handy for the inside of the knots, I have a 1/4 inch Kutzall cylinder on the way, I’ve also been using some sanding drums on the Dremel and some cheap carbide burrs from Amazon. A small diamond cylinder bit has been great for smoothing things down.

So far as sealing it, I’ll probably go with “Penofin Oil Penetrating Finish”. I made some redwood outdoor furniture a few years ago, sealed it first with an outdoor polyurethane which worked fine until it didn’t, and then it looked like crap and I had to scrape and sand it off. The local lumberyard suggested the Penofin which lasted 2-3 years and then I reapplied after a quick cleaning of the wood. That furniture sits outside and gets really blasted by the sun.

View halfmoon's profile


12 posts in 637 days

#5 posted 09-11-2021 12:36 AM

Let’s see if I can figure this out, cuz my last effort at posting looks like it failed…
I took a break at the end of May to replace my shop, this is how it looked then and how it looks now

View halfmoon's profile


12 posts in 637 days

#6 posted 09-11-2021 12:43 AM

And here’s before and after of the shop. I still need to get power in there beyond an extension cord. Too much rust on my tools and I had the time and resources to rebuild the old shop, which leaked and had a corrugated plastic and steel roof. This one will last the rest of my life.

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