The Jerusalem cross has a rich symbolism and history. Its five crosses point to the five wounds of Christ. That reminds us He died to redeem the world. It also symbolizes the Gospel going out from Jerusalem to the four corners of the world. That reminds us of the commission Christ has given to His people. I like to think of it as who we are and what we are to do.
Cut nails are available through: www.tremontnail.com I used #6d common nails (not galvinized). They are 2 inches long.
Step 1: Prepare the Nails
Step 2: Lay Out the Main Cross
Step 3: Brazing the Main Cross
It is very easy to bump the nails out of alignment. Should that happen, heat the joint again and use a plier to position the piece that moved.
When slightly cooled, pull the main cross from the brick with a plier. Be careful. The brick and the nails are still hot enough to cause pain if touched. Set the main cross assembly aside.
Step 4: Cut Nails for the Smaller Crosses Assembly
Remove the masking tape and grind away any burrs left by the cutting wheel.
Step 5: Begin Laying Out the Smaller Crosses
Sometimes the braze does not want to flow as it should because of a coating on the nails. Here you can see that I touched the joint area of the nail pieces with a grindstone to expose bare metal.
After a joint has been brazed, some flux material will act as an adhesive to hold the piece in place on the brick. This helps reduce the chance something will be knocked out of alignment while brazing a later joint.
Step 6: More Laying Out the Smaller Crosses
Step 7: Braze the Main Cross Over the Smaller Crosses
Sometimes the joint in the main cross has taken enough heat while brazing the main cross to the smaller crosses that the joint softens and a nail falls out of place. You can use extra nails like shims to add support at the outer ends. The best precaution is to be careful about the direction of the flame. Keep it on the joint you are brazing, but away from the center joint. Also watch out for stray heat directed toward the main cross joint when the flame bounces off of the brick.
Notice that the joint to the left has already been brazed. The same is true of the joint at the top. This photo shows the right side joint being brazed. The brazing rod will melt and flow when the metal is hot enough. Beware the temptation to push on the brazing rod to make it melt and flow faster. You only push things out of alignment.
Step 8: Brush Away the Slag
Step 9: Preparing the Cross for Use
Drill at an angle so the loop for the cord is as high up on the top nail as possible.
I once made one of these for a woman who admired it. In her case, I mounted it to an 8 sided piece of finished walnut. I used four wire brads as stand-offs and very carefully brazed them to the back of the nails. That is a tricky thing to do because there is always the possibility braze material will flow around to the front side of the cross where there is not supposed to be any braze material. It worked, though.
Step 10: Attach a Wire Loop for the Cord
Insert a wire brad 3/4 or 7/8 inch long from the back side. Lightly grind away any sharp edges on the point of the brad. Bend it around with a needle nose plier. Make the loop as smooth and round as possible.
Before attaching the neck cord, place the cross on some newspaper and spray lightly with an aerosol shellac to prevent rust. Do this several times from different angles, but only after the last coat has dried. Make a couple of applications from the back side, too.
These crosses are fairly simple to make, but they bring great wonderment and joy to those who receive them and see them for the first time.