Sunday, November 21, 2010

Santa's almost here!

When we left Santa last weekend, he didn't have it all together, and he was laid out in our basement.

But after some careful cutting and sanding the edges, a little white stain along his edges, some glue, clamps, and some carefully modified deck screws, he went together pretty well.  (Two pieces of the plywood together were only about 7/8 of an inch, so I used a pair of bolt cutters to nip off enough of the ends of the one-inch deck screws I had to make them just short enough so they wouldn't go all the way through the wood and mess up the project.)

I had a piece of 1/2 inch conduit pipe that I found nicely fits over a long piece of rebar, so I cut it, drilled a couple of holes, and screwed it into the thickest part where three layers of plywood come together.

So after I drive the rebar into the ground where I want him to stand, I'll have what I hope is a good, unintrusive way to stand Santa up in the yard.

Now, his glue is dry, he's all screwed up together, and he's patiently waiting for Thanksgiving to pass so he can take up residence in our front yard! (Santa's a traditionalist donchaknow - wouldn't think of decorating for Christmas before the turkey leftovers are in the fridge.)

I still need to get some white outdoor caulk and use it between the edges of the pieces of plywood that are glued/screwed together.  I want to do this to minimize the amount of rain, snow, and ice that gets in there.  After all, I'd like this Santa to last for a while through a mix of bad weather conditions.

Here's what I learned from this project:

  • If you want to work with treated plywood, buy it and let it sit flat to dry out for a couple of weeks - I was too hasty, and I think the wood shrunk and bowed a little as the treated chemicals in the wood dried out
  • Have plenty of clamps to hold the pieces together after you apply the wood glue - with the piece glued and clamped, you can then screw the pieces together to hold better.  I left the clamps on until the glue dried
  • If you have the Santa standing up while the glue dries, watch for glue running down the front - if you catch the runs before they dry, they'll wipe off with a wet cloth
  • Don't expect to have the pattern glue down perfectly to the wood - despite my best efforts, I have some wrinkles and areas where air pockets puffed out the applique a little
Overall, this was a fun project, not too difficult, but you do need enough space to work in, the right tools, and you have to be fairly good with a jigsaw or sabersaw.


  1. Thanks, I just caulked around the edges. On Friday I play to get the rebar in the ground and set him up! Pictures to come.

  2. Wow, Santa looks great! Its wonderful that you made this, otherwise that pattern/print would be sitting on a shelf someplace. Now the whole neighborhood can enjoy him :-)