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Building a Christmas Cross

By April 4, 2015Sculpture

When Christmas is over, the Christmas tree is generally wasted. In the past I have made ornaments out of the wood, but this last Christmas I decided to make a cross that would stand as a reminder to us until Easter.

The Process

This was a relatively quick project. I took the tree outside and used my sawsall to cut off the branches close to the bole. Good thing I did too, because I found a stowaway hidden in the branches that escaped the ornament removal process.

I used a hachet to debark the trunk, and then my hand belt sander to smooth things out.

Beware stowaway ornaments

To make the cross beam, I cut the bole at about 1/3 its length, though for larger trees 1/4 will look better. Then I sanded down the edges.

About 1/3 the way down the longer piece, you need to make a notch to set the cross beam in, which is pretty simple with a hatchet. I then piloted a hole and drilled a screw through from the backside, pre-assembling to make sure everything looked right.

I generally prefer a natural finish, but I’m still in my “deep-red finish” period, and so I stained it with Minwax Gunstock.  Finishing with polyurethane is a good idea because the wood will quickly dry out and crack otherwise.

Our cross then returned inside the house and stood on our mantel.

Cut at about 1/3 the length (1/4 for larger trees)

Christmas Cross – Natural Finish

Christmas Cross – Stained & Finished

May this Easter be meaningful for you, and inspire deep gratitude.


Tyler Bengtson is a designer and product manager working in San Jose, California. He is ever inspired, easily amazed, eager to learn and happy to share at Redevised.

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