9/11 Memorial Display Stand

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Project by Corrigithian posted 03-05-2013 02:54 AM 1752 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This piece was designed and built as a memorial to display a salvaged piece of steel I-Beam that came from the rubble of the World Trade Center which collapsed on September 11, 2001. It was an honor to make.

I wanted to design a piece that visually captured and represented what happened on that day. I started designing the piece based off of the twin towers as that is where the artifact came from. I felt the best way to do that was to make a two legged display stand where the legs visually represented the twin towers. From there I needed to design an attractive and complementing base and top. Given the symmetry of the legs I felt the top and base should be some what symmetrical as well. I decided to shape the base and top to resemble plane tales or plane wings. At the four corners, at the end of each plane tale, there is a plane number inlaid. Each number is a plane number involved in the events of that day. Then on the front center of the top, the Pentagon is represented standing proud. To give the piece a little bit more dimension and to add a little extra stability, I angled the front of the piece out a little bit instead of making it flat across the front.

I chose walnut and 1/4 sawn teak for the woods. I wanted two woods that were in stark contract to each other, a light and a dark wood. I chose this teak because it was a lighter color wood that had very tight and linear grain. I decided to run the grain vertically as much as possible to symbolize that although America got knocked down that day, we didn’t stay there. Horizontal grain more or less might symbolize staying knocked down. I lightly stained both the walnut and teak to match the color of the rusted synged steel I-beam.


This piece required a wide variety of construction methods. Over all the piece needed to be very strong and able to support the 100lb piece of steel. Inside the piece is a beefy plywood substructure that is both solid and weight distributing. For the towers I cut the grid onto each leg face using a 3/8 dado set up. This series of plows needed to be extremely accurate as everything needed to line up just right. After the grids were cut, about an 1/8 deep, I started filling them in with walnut. I ran the plowed grid so that it would be easy to accurately register the walnut grid consistently. I ran the vertical pieces first as they stand proud of the horizontal pieces, visually making them more dominant. Then I ran the horizontal pieces. I did have to cut each horizontal piece individually. Because of the jigs I used for the grid, all the spaces were the same so it was easy to make a stop on the saw and just cut and glue. Each leg grid took 45 minutes to cut and glue in all the walnut pieces. Each leg face consists of about 60 individual pieces as well. I also had to plan the finishing stages of the piece as I built. I milled, stained, and sealed walnut stock to work from for the grids. This piece would have been a finishing nightmare to stain had I not stained and sealed all the tower pieces before putting them together. Once each leg face was complete I sprayed and top coated each leg face before putting the four sides together completing a tower.

For the top and base I had to lay out full scale drawings to work out all the different angles. There was a lot of miter-folding required with weird angles. I used different jigs to cut the miters on the odd shaped pieces. I also centered and waterfalled the walnut grain on the top and base. Because they are stained dark the visual contribution of the grain patterns is lost, but as a craftsman my convictions led me to take the time to do it, no matter if it could be seen or not.

For the inlaid numbers I had to create a jig template for each set of numbers. I then used the jig and routed each number the depth of the teak veneer. After which I cut the numbers out of the teak veneer, fit them tightly, then glued them in. For the Pentagon I made a center pentagon then bordered it with another. The border is the same width as the numbers, I thought this might better connect them visually. The pentagon stands proud instead of inlaying it like the numbers to give it a little bit more dimension.

7 comments so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


9633 posts in 3532 days

#1 posted 03-05-2013 04:34 AM

A fitting tribute.

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

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


787 posts in 4396 days

#2 posted 03-05-2013 05:12 AM

Well done sir!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30620 posts in 3461 days

#3 posted 03-05-2013 01:37 PM

Very awesome

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


734 posts in 3813 days

#4 posted 03-05-2013 01:47 PM

This is a great piece. The time and thought you put into makes this one very special. Where will this be displayed?

-- -Al, Jacksonville, FL

View Daiku's profile


239 posts in 4030 days

#5 posted 03-05-2013 02:33 PM

This is a great job. One of the best tributes that I have seen and your symbolic pieces are spot on.

Thanks for posting,

-- Cal Noguchi

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 03-06-2013 12:42 AM

A beautiful tribute! The time, effort, and craftsmanship you put into this tribute is something you should be very proud of!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12837 posts in 4279 days

#7 posted 11-04-2016 11:52 PM

very impressive work, great tribute for the many that lost their lives that day.

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

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