Friday, December 30, 2011

Alien Nativity and First Maypole

As the year comes to an end I was able to finish two nativities.  The first and probably the most simple of the two was the maypole.  I am not quite sure what a maypole is but it came out nice.  The pattern came form Meisel hardware.  It was a lot of scroll saw work.  My mother painted the figures.  I cannot paint so it was nice of her to paint them for me.  They may have looked nice unpainted but I think they would be a little hard to tell which figure was which.
This is the front and back sides.  Below is the reason I fell in love with this project:
It really spins.  I think I would be sick after this ride.  The scroll saw work was relatively straight forward.  The circles are easy to cut out if you know how to do them.  Two basic ways.  One is on a band saw with a fixture and a pivot point.  The other, which I used, is a circle template and a router.  There are off the shelf circle templates that you can buy; save your money and make one.  all you need is a grooving bit, a scrap piece of wood and a bushing guide set.  There are all sorts of plans on the internet to make these.  It is a good jig to have in the garage. 
I did modify the plan slightly.  All the figures are doweled into place.  Dowels are glued into the base and not glued into the figurine,  This makes it so kids can play with it, switch things around or make it completely lopsided.

On to the Alien Nativity.  If you look at this nativity straight on they look like aliens.
 However if they are turned sideways they look fantastic.

This nativity was the reason I purchased my scroll saw.  I purchased the patterns so I had to purchase the power tool.  I started making this set four years ago.  I completely screwed it up.  My table was not square, I was pushing the material through the blade at an angle so the blade was bowing and breaking.  I ended up burning the parts I had cut out.  This is when I started cutting puzzles for practice.  Two years ago I started this set.  If I do say so myself, it is pretty good looking.  It is made out of maple and walnut.  There are some things that I would do better next time but I don't think there will be a next time on this project. 
Interesting little tidbit.  I reduced the patterns on this by 25%.  The wise men were suppose to be three inches taller, they are 12 inches now.  Believe it or not this is not quite done.  I still have another piece to cut out.