Opinions requested re: small crosses. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-10-2019, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions requested re: small crosses.

Iíve been tasked by my wifeís preacher with making 3 small crosses - about 11Ē high by 8Ē wide - for presentation to some kids (teens, I think).

No problem with one. Itís dry, no bark.

The other two are WET! 30+ percent moisture. I know whatíll happen as these things dry. Iíve discussed this with Preacher. He says do it anyway. I was given the wood Monday evening. He will make the presentation this coming Sunday.

The sticks are what the kids chose as ďwalking sticksĒ while on a retreat, so Preacher thinks a small cross from these woods would be meaningful to them.

Now, to my questions. The wood is oak, it is wet, and apparently was cut a few months ago, so during cold (for us) weather. He would like to leave the bark on. Right now itís tighter than Dickís hatband, but whatíll happen later is anybodyís guess. Should I try to add a finish or leave as is? If finishing is recommended, I prefer using oils. Good or bad on bark? I know Tung is out due to drying time. Maybe Watco Danish Oil? Wax? Other?

What might I do to prep the bark?

If I dilute some Titebond II & paint the cut ends with it, will that reduce end checking? Some other recommendations that wonít stand out like a sore thumb? I donít have time or desire to drive to DFW or even to Lubbock hoping to get dedicated material for this. I have a few oils, some spar varnish & spar urethane, and some clear poly.

Joinery: Iím thinking either a dowel glued in from the back, or a screw. Iím half-lapping the pieces to join them. I like dowels, but with green wood my thinking is that with a screw adjustments could be more easily made as the wood dries.

The crosses will sit on Red Oak bases. Again, I usually use dowels, but leaning toward screws, and maybe adding a clipped brad to help keep the cross from turning on the base.

With luck, photos to follow.

Thanks for your assistance.


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Last edited by WesTex; 04-10-2019 at 01:49 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-10-2019, 02:20 PM
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This is a difficult question .....

Typically as the wood dries, the bark separates and falls off which is not the look you are seeking. After some searching for "wood preservatives" most of which are toxic, I came across this which get some good reviews:
https://www.rockler.com/wood-juice-w...RoCaK0QAvD_BwE

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-10-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Woodnthings, it looks like a good solution, except that I have no way of obtaining it & completing the task before Sunday. Thanks anyway.


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post #4 of 11 Old 04-11-2019, 10:23 PM
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It is simple. Wood moves and there is nothing that Pastor, you nor JC can do about it.

My suggestion is to take some wood scraps 11 and 8 by 2Ĺ and make the crosses with a half lap joint. I made a couple for a friend of SWMBO. (Never even said thank you, BTW.)
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-12-2019, 11:39 AM
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Maybe it would help if you answered the following questions:

What is the real purpose of these crosses?
I think that they are to encourage their spiritual growth, with a special reminder of their religious retreat in the woods.

How long will they be used by their recipients?
These are young people. They will be displayed on a dresser, shelf, or a prayer spot for a few years. After a few years, they will look ratty from accumulated dust, where the dust cannot be easily cleaned off the rough surface (bark or post-bark). I think a reasonable goal is a year or two of useful life.

What will happen when they are done?
They will be disposed according to custom. Some people feel that burning or burial shows proper respect. Others say it doesn't matter once disassembled, and put them in the trash.

My feeling is that the goal is a "primitive" look. The crosses don't have to be straight or perfect. Even with movement, they will still look like crosses, albeit with bends and twists. It is more important that they were made from the walking sticks chosen by the teens on their retreat.

I agree with @NoThankyou. Don't overthink this. Cut simple half-lap joints, then glue them together. Use screws as clamps.

Over time, the crosses will bend, warp, crack, and check. Consider that part of the charm and uniqueness of each individual piece. These are not museum pieces, intended to last for centuries. They are primitive crosses, which will strengthen their beliefs and remind them of their experiences at the retreat. Their beliefs will evolve over time. So will the crosses.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 04-12-2019 at 11:42 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-12-2019, 12:28 PM
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I would use a drum sander (sm diameter) on a drill press to hollow round notch that closely matches the other, but only part way into one of the branches. Glue with hot glue to fill the void, then tie with hemp twine... criss crossing to cover the joint. For the base drill a slightly oversized hole, and fill it again with hot glue...and cover the flaws again with hemp.

Gary
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-12-2019, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...Iíve been tasked by my wifeís preacher with making 3 small crosses - about 11Ē high by 8Ē wide - for presentation to some kids (teens, I think).

No problem with one. Itís dry, no bark.

The other two are WET! 30+ percent moisture. I know whatíll happen as these things dry. Iíve discussed this with Preacher. He says do it anyway. I was given the wood Monday evening. He will make the presentation this coming Sunday.
Hi WesTex...

Perhaps I can be of some assistance...???...Sorry I didn't see this till now!!!

I actually see...no issue whatsoever...with what your "Wife's Preacher" is requesting?

I work almost exclusively in green woodworking systems so within that context there are a number of ways of doing this, however they do get limited since we have to get this done for you by Sunday?!!?

I know if you where here that would not be a challenge at all, but talking you through it on a forum will depend on your woodworking skill sets...???...yet still more than doable...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...The sticks are what the kids chose as ďwalking sticksĒ while on a retreat, so Preacher thinks a small cross from these woods would be meaningful to them.
That is a wonderful idea he had...!!!...I agree fully with the context and the meaning this will have to them. Very special indeed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
..Now, to my questions. The wood is oak, it is wet, and apparently was cut a few months ago, so during cold (for us) weather. He would like to leave the bark on. Right now itís tighter than Dickís hatband, but whatíll happen later is anybodyís guess. Should I try to add a finish or leave as is? If finishing is recommended, I prefer using oils. Good or bad on bark? I know Tung is out due to drying time. Maybe Watco Danish Oil? Wax? Other?.
I only use traditional finishes...So we are on the same page...

As to leaving "as is" that my be wise if you want to get the bark to "pop off" and then glue it back on for them later?

As to the bark and finishes...I find that oily slows the drying process down a great deal so may well help the wood retain its bark. I know in Adirondack and Rustic furniture I do it helps...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...What might I do to prep the bark?
Light brushing off...nothing more in this case...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...If I dilute some Titebond II & paint the cut ends with it, will that reduce end checking?
That will work great!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...I have a few oils, some spar varnish & spar urethane, and some clear poly. Joinery: Iím thinking either a dowel glued in from the back, or a screw.
YES...Dowel and all wood joiner...no plastic finishes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...Iím half-lapping the pieces to join them. I like dowels, but with green wood my thinking is that with a screw adjustments could be more easily made as the wood dries.
I wish I could of seen this earlier...I'm not certain if a "half lap" is the best joint?

If you read this and haven't done the joinery yet, I can talk you through a method that will get the pieces "scribe jointed" to each other so they look as if they grew that way...Its up to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesTex View Post
...The crosses will sit on Red Oak bases. Again, I usually use dowels, but leaning toward screws, and maybe adding a clipped brad to help keep the cross from turning on the base...
I would stick with all wood joinery and a good adhesive. In this case...for speed and strength...I would recommend PL Premium as it is a true structural adhesive meant for architectural loads...AND!!!...most important...it loves wet wood...!!!

Good luck...Let me know if I can help further, and do please share photos!
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-12-2019, 09:55 PM
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A half-lap with a round "log" .....

Probably this would work best in your case since the notch fits the mating part:
https://www.logcabinhub.com/log-cabin-notches/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-12-2019, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Probably this would work best in your case since the notch fits the mating part:
https://www.logcabinhub.com/log-cabin-notches/
Hello Woodnthings,

Actually...No...(respectfully)...that is not a good joint at all for this application...sorry.

That too is in the family of "half lap" joinery also. It is considered a "gravity joint," within the context of its primary application of log/timber architecture. When employed outside that context, it is a very weak joint structurally. It either has to rely on adhesives and/or mechanical fasteners, which neither do a very good job of securing the joint long term or agreeing with the aesthetics of the joint in general...

When it is used (horizontally...not vertically!!!) its most secure configuration looks like the image below:



What does work, and is typically used for such unions in both furniture and architecture of this style is a "housed scribe joint," held structural either by pinning, wedging, and/or adhesives. In this context it not only will take full loads in furniture applications but also entire floor and roof configurations structural loads.

When log and post (丸柱 - Marubashira...丸桁 - maru geta) are joined together...this family of tenon joinery common in roof corners (化粧隅木 - Keshō sumiki = Corner wood joinery) is the most secure and applicable to the application's of the OP.

For a simplified version applicable to WesTex's need...a dowel is easy and effectively replaces the normal tenon...See photo below for some examples of the architectural form...







...
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-17-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Iím getting back about this a little late, but finally a follow up.

Most of the responses came in a little late for this project, but will be filed away if the need arises later.

I kept it simple & notched two of the crosses and glued as is with 2 part epoxy. One was dry wood & one was very wet.

The third stick was too large to make a cross that was within the parameters set out by the preacher, so I milled a bit of it and fashioned the cross from the ďtimbersĒ, leaving saw marks visible. This wood also had very high moisture.

I did not put a finish of any kind on any of the crosses.

They were presented to the kids during last Sundayís service. Iím told they liked them.




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post #11 of 11 Old 04-18-2019, 12:25 AM
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Very nice for a last minute hurry up let's get it done!!! I especially like you made each look completely different.....very well done!!!
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Have a Blessed and Prosperous day in Jesus's Awesome Love, Tim
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