Step 3: The first jig

Cut a wooden square.  The dimensions equal the length of the nails.  This is approximately 2 1/2 inches, but may vary a little.  From experience, it would be better if the block were oversize by 1/32 to 1/16 of an inch on each side. 

I used 1/2 inch angle iron to make my jig.  The piece shown (red paint on the end) is a piece of scrap for purposes of this photo.  It is a little short.  Weld the jig where you see the red paint.  Check to be certain heat from the weld has not pulled the corner so it is no longer square. 

Weld all four pieces of angle iron so they fit closely around the wooden block.  My finished jig is at the right of the photo.

I debated with myself about the bother of making jigs.  But, as friends saw the finished Jerusalem cross I began to get requests for more and more copies.  A good set of jigs makes it easy to produce consistent duplicates.
<p>This just popped up for me and I hope you are still doing projects. I like how you approach the work.</p>
Thank you. I retired three years ago and still enjoy using my tools to solve problems and make things. I published my 298th Instructsble two days ago. <br><br>I always wonder how people find various Instructables. I know some search the Internet for information on solving a problem and find a particular Instructable. I try to look at all of the Recent Instructables each day or two. I have not had much experience with them just popping up as happened for you.
Oh this is lovely. Clearly I need to learn to weld. :)
I did an <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Learning-to-Weld/" rel="nofollow">Instructable on learning to weld</a>. In step 18 I mentioned and linked a book on decorative welding for women by a woman. My wife saw the book at a fabric store and bought it for me. A wire feed welder would be reasonably easy to learn for decorative welding where a lot of structural integrity for supporting a load is not really necessary. I think you would like the book. It is at Amazon and I reviewed it there. It is called &quot;Ready, Set, Weld.&quot; Thank you for looking at my Instructable.
OOH thanks for the info!
And then I remember how they used to make <b><a href="http://www.Wooden-Crosses.Net">Wooden Crosses</a></b> from olive wood.. They still do is Israel!
I think I have a relatively small one someplace--about 2 inches high.
Could I put nails in a piece of wood like that for a jig? I'm welding out side so if the wood caught fire, it wouldn't be a problem.
I believe you could use a wooden jig. I am guessing it is not too likely to catch fire, but may singe and turn dark brown near your welds. I considered making a wooden jig because I could have stacked four pieces and made identical notches in all of the pieces at the same time. But, I decided I could tweak any inaccuracies in my jig more easily if it were steel by adding a little weld material where I might have ground away too much, etc. Also, I knew I wanted to make more of these crosses later. The steel jig seemed more durable. And, the steel jig helps conduct ground current back to the welder. I hope it works well for you. I tweaked on my jig for quite a while, but now it works like I want it to, so it was worth the effort. Thank you for your interest and your comment.
Thank you for your thoughts. A welded jig is the better option but I am a beginner so less welding is better for me.
I am a beginner, too; but have been at it long enough to have developed an attitude. My welds are not great, but they also do not break, hence the attitude. ;-) I keep my angle head grinder near for times when things do not go well. With welding you can usually cut it apart and do it over if something goes wrong. I assume you are using a wire welder of some type (flux core or MIG).
I must confess that I have yet to weld and it may never happen. I'm in the process of making a stick/arc welder from two old microwaves. It's in another instructable.
I have seen that Instructable. My first welder was a 115 volt commercially made machine with a 70 and a 50 amp setting. It was a big advance over no welder, but still quite limited in the final analysis. If you want to weld nails as in this Instructable and use such a welder, I would recommend getting some 1/16 inch welding rods. Also get some carbon rods and check my Instructable on starting an arc exactly where you want it to begin. There is a link to it in step 8 above. You will need to experiment with pushing the rod into the joint to get good fusion between the two pieces, but also breaking off the arc so you do not burn away the nails into a molten glob. I hope it all works for you. Enjoy what you are doing.
If you build your microwave arc welder and want to weld thinner, smaller pieces, like these nails, try backing them with a piece of aluminum while welding. Aluminum will not fuse to steel. It absorbs excess heat and keeps small pieces from turning molten and blowing away. I have used a short section from the window frame on an old aluminum storm window or storm door. You will still need to watch carefully the length of time you hold your arc. It will need to be long enough to for the two parts to fuse together, but short enough that nothing blows away in drops of molten steel.
Very nice as always Phil, I've done crosses with masons nails before but the Jerusalem heraldry never occurred to me, very nice
Thank you. I would be interested in seeing photos of your crosses. Would you consider an Instructable on them?
Phil, these crosses are very nice. You always make tools for help your work, I do the same.
Thank you, Osvaldo. Now you know what was at the link I sent to you, but would not open for you. My father often criticized me because he wanted me to do something immediately, but I knew I could do the job better if I made a jig first. He did not like the delay.
I must confess that ever happened that your father told you, I have taken longer to make the tool that do the job. But the tool I had for another chance, and I also had the pleasure to design it and make it...!
You regret that my father criticized me for making a jig so I could do the job better. Even though you used more time to make a tool or a jig than it took to do the job, you had the tool to use again later, as well as having the enjoyment of designing, making, and using the tool. (I am paraphrasing what I believe you mean.)
Yes, that's precisely what I meant, following the phrase &quot;I must confess that ever happened that your father told you&quot;. May be is better to say &quot;I must confess that ever happened<strong> to me</strong> that your father told you&quot;
Thank you.
I agree completely.
I'm not Jewish, but I will totally make a Christian cross like this. In fact, I have a sterling silver cross necklace that looks pretty similar to this, with three nails &quot;bound&quot; by copper wire.
The name &quot;Jerusalem cross&quot; does not imply that this is Jewish. The name seems to be related to two things. One is that a group of Crusaders adopted this cross in their famous campaigns against Muslims occupying Jerusalem. The other is that it reflects Acts 1:8 which speaks of the Gospel going from Jerusalem out to the four corners of the world. (The center cross represents Jerusalem and the four smaller crosses the outward extremes of the world.)
Here's a picture.
Your cross is very nice. The cross I made is not a true Jerusalem cross, but a stylized adaptation. I have always liked a Jerusalem cross, whether faithful to the original pattern or stylized. Feel free to adapt as you see fit. Thank you for your comment.
Nice work Phil! While not something I'd make it was really interesting reading about the jigging and processes. :D
Thank you. Hopefully the preparations might have application for some other project.
This is really beautiful, the iridescent colour created by heating the nails is really nice!
Thank you. The striations from heating to braze were a happy accident I decided to keep and utilize.
That's a nice result!<br /> <br /> I love working with metal, and these nails are brilliant.<br />
Thank you.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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