St. Andrew's Cross

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Project by virgintimbers posted 06-08-2009 04:27 PM 47693 views 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend of mine, a dominatrix, commissioned this piece for a monthly play party that she hosts. I had to design the piece to support human weight and fully disassemble and reassemble in minutes. My friend and I built it from 6×6 beams salvaged from an old church that we ripped into approx. 3×6’s on my tiny Ryobi table saw. We planed the pieces with a handheld electric planer to reveal some beautiful and interesting wood. I’m not entirely sure if the beams are heart pine. They have a fair amount of knots but also have a straight, tight grain.
The pieces are joined at a 60º angle by a half-lap joint with an integrated mortise and tenon. We roughed the half-lap and tenon out with a circ saw and cleaned up with a chisel. The mortise was roughed out with a hole saw and cleaned up with a combination of jig-saw and a tiny backsaw and a failed attempt a chisel. Any suggestions on how I could make that joint better/more precise/less of a wild goose chase? Fitting the half-lap was a little bit of a challenge because the pieces weren’t precisely square. We were working with a minimum of tools but I think next time I’ll square them up with the table saw. I think the reason why we didn’t was to preserve the weathered look of the wood on the visible sides. I could probably just square up where the half-lap comes together to preserve the look of it and have a tighter joint.
The joint is pretty snug as it is but we through bolted just to be safe (after all it has to support dynamic human weight). I was really looking for a way to secure the joint with no visible hardware. Any ideas?

6 comments so far

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593 posts in 5260 days

#1 posted 06-08-2009 05:56 PM

Talk about irony, a dominatrix cross made off old church beams. I guess it’s plainly delving on heresy. I just love it!

While I’m by no means an expert at those things, it looks very good and you did keep the old patina. Good job!

I’d say that the easiest route to make the hardware invisible is to counterbore the holes and plug them so the bolts protrude from the back while being invisible from the business end.

You could also wedge the through tenon but given the need for a quick disassembly it should be some sort of screwed plug instead of a wedge… and that leads us back to the visible hardware. Maybe a wooden screw that would force apart two halves of the end grain tenon?

In any case I’m curious to see the reactions within our oh-so-religious community. That should be fun.

PS: Amazing picture by the way, it captures the ambient very well while being absolutely neutral and innocent.

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 5208 days

#2 posted 06-08-2009 09:30 PM

I have to agree with Jojo, I love this and the devout reaction should be interesting, although I suspect they may just ignore it. LJ’s rules should stop them from posting anything to inflammatory, that isn’t to say they won’t PM you though!

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2049 posts in 4613 days

#3 posted 06-09-2009 01:38 AM

Not so “virgin” timbers?

View Timothy's profile


60 posts in 5128 days

#4 posted 06-09-2009 03:26 AM

Interesting project. Is there any story behing the doorknob in the background?

View virgintimbers's profile


5 posts in 4589 days

#5 posted 06-10-2009 02:56 AM

The doorknob in the background is just a regular doorknob but we just hung this large wheel that had been used as a base for a mannequin stand on it. Not very exciting, though it kind of looks like it used to be a part of some sort of pulley system.

View orgelbau's profile


11 posts in 5053 days

#6 posted 06-13-2009 08:38 PM

Nicely done, I hear there’s something of a neglected market for fixtures of this kind – perhaps this commission could snowball into more of the same. (I can imagine the resulting woodworking magazine article “Build a useful spanking bench – in a weekend!”)

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