Processional Church Cross

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Project by kocgolf posted 02-22-2018 01:18 AM 738 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Commissioned by my church, this project was, as most are, far more than I bargained for. A lot of that is on me. They had a simple processional cross that had been in use for decades, and was not built all that professionally to begin with. It functioned, but was nothing special. I was honored when the lead pastor, a good friend and woodworker as well, asked me if I would like the project. He had far more experience himself and would have done a great job, but his confidence in me was very special. I felt the need to elevate my game.

I designed it myself to complement a gigantic iron cross of similar style that hangs above the sanctuary. It doesn’t copy from it, but borrows in theme. I could have gone far more basic, but I just went for it. I feel I executed my sketchup plans almost perfectly. That is rare. My idea to carry the walnut spline down and through the oak post worked out well. It gives it kind of a classic “cross” within the cross.

Assembly was really a challenge just to plan out. I ended up deciding not to try and get 4, rather 8! perfect miters to meet in the center. What I did was assemble the full left and right wings and then attach mating half pieces from the vertical wings. Re-enforced with splines. Then I jointed the inner edge of each half to clean up any imperfections in the angles or glue up. Final glue up was the two halves with the long vertical spline through the center. Stressful but worked out very well.

It appears to almost float above the post because there is a 1.5 inch gap where it connects solely with the 1/2 inch walnut spline. This is strong enough based on the fact that there is 1/4” steel flat stock embedded within the walnut spline. I originally made the spline milled to 1 inch square, cut it in two, routed a stopped dado in it, and epoxied in the steel. I then sanded and laminated it back together. I carefully marked the steel location and ripped from both sides to within 1/8 inch of the embedded steal. The seam is nearly invisible.

Getting the spline embedded into the oak post was challenging. I bandsawed a rough kerf and then snuck up on the final scribed lines with a spiral bit at the router table.

Walnut is unstained. Red oak was stained before assembly with what should be named “Lutheran Oak.” It’s actually Spring Oak by Varathane. Finish is five coats satin spray poly.

They were ecstatic with the final results. I am secretly as well. Trying to stay humble :)

No mistakes, no design changes half way through. How? No idea. A divine miracle.

1 comment so far

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6069 posts in 3178 days

#1 posted 02-22-2018 02:26 AM

A fine piece of work.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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