Todays Work - Reindeer Earrings and Pins

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Project by CharleyL posted 12-22-2015 12:49 AM 1356 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is what I’ve been doing all day today. Twelve pair of gold reindeer earrings and seven reindeer pins (made from junior sized reindeer). The earring reindeer were cut from hard maple. The junior sized reindeer were cut from pine. Tomorrow it will be silver reindeer earrings, and hopefully, no more pins. I’m hoping that this will be enough reindeer for this year, but there are still several days left yet before that big day. I’ve been making four sizes of reindeer. The largest is 3 1/2” high, the smallest is about 1” high. The pins were made from 2 3/4” reindeer.

Total reindeer (of all sizes) so far this year is 428, and that isn’t counting tomorrow’s production. This Santa needs a break.

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures. This camera doesn’t do close-ups well.


10 comments so far

View Ivan's profile


15063 posts in 3375 days

#1 posted 12-22-2015 06:47 AM

Great stuff. I bet it sell itself very good.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View GerardoArg1's profile


1002 posts in 2501 days

#2 posted 12-22-2015 10:47 AM

Beatiful. Like the job. And awesome lote! 428 is a big produccion. Congratulations and merry christmas for all.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View ptofimpact's profile


389 posts in 2824 days

#3 posted 12-22-2015 01:12 PM

Wonderful work, so cute, how do you cut them out

-- Pete in NC

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1684 days

#4 posted 12-22-2015 01:17 PM

Very nice. With so small of a raindeer do you have any problems with the small pieces breaking during use?

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3872 days

#5 posted 12-22-2015 01:42 PM

I don’t sell, never have. These, and everything else that I make are gifts for family and friends.

I give the 3 1/2” reindeer away every Christmas Season to anyone who helps me, and this is the sixth season that I’ve been doing this. Any waitress, cashier, sales person, nurse, etc. who helps me in some way, get’s one. As my transaction with them is completing I hold out my hand to them, palm down, with a reindeer in it, I wish them a “Merry Christmas” and then drop the reindeer into their hand when they hold it out to me. In almost all cases it brings forth a huge smile, a “Thank You”, sometimes a hug, and quite often a kiss on the cheek. Making the reindeer, and then giving them away helps me get into the Christmas Spirit too.

Yes, they are delicate, since I’m making the larger ones from pine. The earring size could not even be cut from pine because they usually fell apart before the cutting was completed. I tried poplar, but it too was too soft. I now make most of the earring size from hard maple. They are still very fragile.


View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3374 days

#6 posted 12-22-2015 01:42 PM

Charley, these are so nice and will have a lot of appeal. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jumbojack's profile


1689 posts in 3132 days

#7 posted 12-22-2015 04:52 PM

What a wonderful gesture. My hat is off to you. Your patience and giving nature is the epitome of the Christmas spirit. From my heart, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3872 days

#8 posted 12-22-2015 07:28 PM

Many thanks for the positive comments everyone.


View CFrye's profile


10747 posts in 2347 days

#9 posted 12-23-2015 10:49 AM

What a thoughtful gesture, Charely! That’s a mega herd of reindeer! Do you cut them individually or stack cut?
Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

-- God bless, Candy

View CharleyL's profile


223 posts in 3872 days

#10 posted 12-23-2015 05:09 PM


What a thoughtful gesture, Charely! That s a mega herd of reindeer! Do you cut them individually or stack cut?
Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

- CFrye

They can’t be stack cut, at least I haven’t found a way. It just doesn’t work well, and since they each have to be cut twice to make them 3 Dimensional I’ve never come up with a better way to make them, except for the one-at-a-time two cut method.

Two images need to be pasted to the wood to be cut, a face view and a side view. The pattern contains both images with a fold line between them. The fold line goes over the edge of the block of wood and keeps both views in alignment with each other.I use common stationery store rubber cement because the paper pattern will not need to be removed from the finished work. A clamp is applied that will hold the block of wood with the first pattern image facing up. The clamp also holds all of the cut pieces together. Then the first view is cut with the clamp holding the pieces together in perfect alignment during the entire cutting. Then the pieces must be held together and in perfect alignment while being rotated in the clamp. Then the second view is then cut. When both views have been completely cut, the clamp is removed and all of the scrap pieces can then removed to show a 3D reindeer or ornament matching the pattern in the middle of what had been a block of wood. It’s kind of like removing the egg shell to find the chicken inside.

All of the glued on pattern comes off with the scrap pieces, so there is no clean-up, except for a light sanding of the corners to remove any fuzzy splinters left over from the cutting process. I do this with finger nail sanding sticks that I trim to size, so they will fit in the tiny areas. A few careful swipes of the sanding stick along the edges removes these tiny fuzzy splinters. Then a blast of compressed air cleans off all of the sawdust, and they are ready for a clear coat of spray lacquer.

For the reindeer I apply their eyes with a fine black permanent marking pen and their red nose (if named Rudolph) with a medium red marking pen. For the ornaments I prefer to just leave them with the clear coat so their original wood color and grain shows. I will only apply paint them if the wood was burned by the saw blade during cutting or the ornament was made from an un-appealing wood like poplar or bass wood. I frequently use sparkle dust (glitter) sprinkled into the wet finish of the ornaments, but I never do this on the reindeer.

All of the larger reindeer that I give away are made from clear straight grain white pine. It’s best to only use pine with nearly invisible growth lines because the growth lines make the reindeer look more like zebras after cutting. The reindeer pins are usually made from clear white straight grained poplar, and the earring size reindeer are now only made from hard maple, because they are much too delicate if made from softer wood.

Ambrosia maple makes medium brown reindeer, after the clear lacquer is applied. I’ve found that many of my darker skinned friends prefer these over the whiter hard maple ones. I haven’t tried cutting reindeer from any other woods, but it’s certainly possible. The smaller the reindeer will be, the harder the would should be to keep them from breaking too easily.

The reindeer pattern that I use came from but I cleaned up and resized the original pattern, then made up an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet with as many copies of the pattern on it as would fit using my computer and a photo processing program. I’ve done this same thing for each of the four sizes of reindeer that I make. I print them on a laser printer using standard printer paper. An inkjet could probably do it too, but you don’t need color for the patterns. My laser printer will do 600 dpi, so it prints very fine lines. For the smaller sized reindeer I always cut against the waste side of the lines and not directly on the lines of the pattern. This makes it easier for me to see where I am cutting. Cutting directly on a black line with a black blade just doesn’t work well for me. In the earring sized reindeer, they need this tiny “one blade width” of extra wood on their legs anyway.

The ornaments that I’ve been making come from patterns in books written by Diana Thompson. Do a search for her name and you will find that she has published several. Her patterns have proven to be better and more accurate than other sources that I have tried. The same two cut technique that I use for the reindeer is also used to make these 3 D ornaments.

If you try making any of these and need help from me, put a post in the Scroll Saw Forum on this site and I will try to help you. 3D scroll sawing is a “slippery slope” and it becomes very addictive once you learn the technique. I rarely use my scroll saws for anything else since I first tried making them.


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