An easy way to make a bunch of wooden snowflakes or stars for decorating your home or Christmas tree. All you need is a little bit of hardwood, a table saw, and a hand- or band-saw. A 12" board will give you about 20 snowflakes.
Step 1: What You Need
- A piece of hardwood, 2-1/2 inch wide, 3/4 inch thick, and 12 inches long
- Table saw and band saw (or hand saw)
- Wood glue
- Laser cutter for engraving names
Step 2: Cutting the Wood
Make several cuts on your table saw in the following order (see drawings, left to right). Caution: As you are cutting a fairly small piece be extra careful with the table saw.
- Two 45-degree angled cuts to trim out a triangular strip from each narrow edge of the board. The table saw setup for this is a little tricky, so practice and adjust on a piece of 3/4" thick scrap wood. Again, be extra careful. The fourth drawing shows my setup for this cut. After you complete one edge, adjust the fence to 2-1/4" and make the 45-degree cuts along the other edge. I use a piece of tape to keep the piece from flying loose once the cut is complete.
- Two shallow grooves (width of your saw blade) about 0.4" and 0.6" from each edge on both sides of the board, see fifth drawing. The exact dimensions are not critical as these grooves are ornamental to define the shape of the snowflake. The 1/8" width indicates the kerf of the saw blade. Your saw blade may have a different kerf size.
- Crosscut the board into two 6 inch long pieces.
- Rip-cut 3/4" from the two outside edges of one of these 6" boards. Essentially you are taking out and discarding the middle third of this board.
Glue the two edge pieces to the other 6" board as shown to create the snowflake (or star) shape. Use tape or weights to hold the pieces together while the glue dries.
You'll end up with a 6 inch long 'blank' from which you can slice the snowflakes. Lightly sand along the grooves to clean up your snowflake shape.
Step 3: Drill Ornamental Holes, Cut-off Snowflakes, and Finish
Trim the end of this blank with a band- or hand-saw to get a flat end-surface. Then put the flat end of the blank on your drill press table and drill 1/16", 1/8", and/or 1/4" holes deep into the blank. These holes are purely for decorative purpose, see examples. Choose a pattern you like; but leave enough wood between the holes and sides so the snowflakes don't become too fragile.
Lastly, take the blank to your bandsaw and slice off 3/16" thick pieces, i.e. your individual snowflakes. Hand-sand the surfaces smooth and finish as you like. I typically leave my snowflakes unfinished.
Create different shapes by varying the grooves and hole pattern. Use a laser cutter to engrave names on the snowflake. Make a candle holder by cutting off a 3/4" thick 'slice' and drill a center hole to fit your candle. Use the snowflakes/stars as coasters, or as gift tags. Assemble several 3/4" thick snowflakes into a trivet.