Jump to content
Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
Guest Jeff_Womack

Type of wood for large project?

Recommended Posts

Guest Jeff_Womack

I want to make a large cutout for this year (4x8ish), what type of wood would you suggest?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use 1/2 inch ply for all my cutouts - exterior grade sanded one side. For larger projects I will at times attach 1/2 or 1/3 to the back for help make ridgid and deter warping. Also will double prime the end grain, paint w/ exterior again to reduce warping. I have some cutouts approaching 10 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff,

I would use 1/2 inch exterior plywood. 1/4 plywood or luan would need too much bracing on the back side. 3/4 inch is too heavy to work with in my opinion.

Andy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My dad had a 8' tall plywood Santa when I was growing up. It was 5/8" thick and had a small 1x4 frame (like a barn door) attached to the back for support and to avoid warping. That thing lasted about 10 years

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kathy and I first put up the large Winfield snowman in 1993. We used 3/4 inch plywood. Yes it is heavy but it has last all these years and this year we have decided to repaint for the first time. Kathy sprayed it with several coats of sealer after she first painted it and sprayed sealer again over the years. No warping. It is painted on both sides so it can be seen by people coming down the road from both directions for over a hundred yards. I usually use the thicker plywood when I have the larger items.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made this Santa and reindeer set over 18 years ago and its still in almost perfect shape even after having a motor move them back and fourth year after year lol Ive only repainted them once.

post-9005-129571116859_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use 1/2 inch, exterior grade plywood for all my cutouts. Be sure to get 5 ply rather than 3 ply. Five ply helps prevent warping. I also use two coats of primer and two coats of the "finishing" paint. The final project is then coated with two coats of a clear, matte, polyurethane. I also seal the edges of the plywood with caulking before painting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hardi board. might be a bit heavy but will last a lifetime

He's going to need a fork lift using Hardiboard :)!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a lot of good advice posted here. I would say that most of the recommendations would make you very safe in terms of longevity. There would appear to be a trade off in expense not only money wise but also labor wise. After years of making cutouts, displaying, and storing them, here are our conclusions.

Use ACX plywood. Sanded one side - A, fair grade one side - C, and exterior grade - X. The A grade side makes tracing, cutting, and painting very easy. The C grade side needs little patching/caulking to fill holes/voids. The X exterior rating ensures long life.

We use 1/2" ( actually 15/32" today ) for all of our cutouts no matter how large. We have a Santa Stack that is nearly 16' tall, two pieces 8' long, spliced together in the center. We often attach a 1x4" board to the back of our cutouts. This is not for strength but for attaching the fence posts to the back of the cutouts. We screw the posts to the back. The extra board takes all the damage and preserves the original cutout.

The recommendation for 5 ply over 3 ply is a great one, with one exception: Expense. If you can get 5 ply free or at a price less than 3 ply, go for it. With as many cutouts as we have, 5 ply would kill the budget. We have found 3 ply is plenty good enough.

Paint: A good grade of exterior house paint and primer is a necessity. My wife likes Valspar or Glidden. Goes on easy, dries hard, cleans up easily, and the 15 year warranty (180 months) should last nearly 90 years displaying them 2 months a year. We do not use, nor do we recommend using a sealer. Every sealer I have ever used on any outdoor project, yellowed due to UV light reactions. Our first cutouts still look like new after more than 12 years of display. One thing that is very nice about exterior house paint; you can tint it to any color you want. Another recommendation: Every store has a returned paint shelf. This is the paint a customer ordered and then didn't like or was tinted to the wrong color. This paint can be had at less than half price usually. The store just wants to get rid of it rather than having to go through the process of disposal. You might have to keep an eye on that shelf for the colors you want, but eventually, you'll find them.

Concerning warping. Of the nearly 100 cutouts we have, there are only 4 that have warped. All of these are 3' candy canes made of regular grade 1/2" plywood. Originally, these were not intended for long term use, thus the use of regular plywood. Though we have displayed them for more than 11 years. I honestly can't say if they warped before or after we cut them out. They may have well been warped before as I collected all the scrap plywood off of jobs. I attribute the long life of the regular plywood to the use of good quality exterior house paint and primer. The Santa Stack is only about 2' wide for most of the height and has no warp what so ever.

Jeff, with all of the recommendations posted in this thread, I think you will be able to build some great, long lasting, cutouts.

Good Luck,

Terry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 4x8 sheets of hardi panel aren't all that heavy. Maybe a little more than a couple of sheets of 3/4 ply. Paint is supposed to last a lifetime on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeff_Womack

The 4x8 sheets of hardi panel aren't all that heavy. Maybe a little more than a couple of sheets of 3/4 ply. Paint is supposed to last a lifetime on it.

Thanks for the suggestion but two things prohibit the use. One is my soil is completely sand. I can drive rebar 3 ft down into the sand and pull it out with my bare hands. And second something that sounds contradictory to my last statement, I'm a girly man! The thought of lifting two sheets of 3/4 plywood together isn't really something I think I could do without a visit to our wonderful socialized medical care in the VA system! Motrin just won't cut that kind of pain! :giggle:

Seriously though, a lot of great suggestions both here and on Lone Star Holidays. I hope to have my project at least cutout, primed and maybe even the painting started by the Lone Star Holidays April Workgroup. Anthony Vetrano is going to talk about coro projects (which this idea started off as) and Jon Flummer will be doing a presentation on plywood cutouts. We will also be doing a 5 model bubble machine "blow-off" competition and posting reviews of 5 popular machines and showing other new products. As always anyone is invited, there is more info under the Texas forum here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made the "presents" that I use to house LOR controllers about 15 years ago out of 1/2" plywood. I just repainted them last year.

One of them has a little rot on the bottom now but that's because my woodworking skills leave a bit to be desired and there is a gap between the bottom of the box and the side panel that allows moisture to seep in. (These sit directly on the ground.)

The best tip is to prime extremely well with a good primer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... I also seal the edges of the plywood with caulking before painting.

Ah, now that's someting I didn't think about. Good Idea!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeff_Womack

Thanks for all the suggestions. I purchased 1/2 inch ACX plywood yesterday and applied the first coat of primer. Will do an additional coat today with hopes of tracing it tonight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

applied the first coat of primer. Will do an additional coat today with hopes of tracing it tonight.

Prime before you trace and cut out? Perhaps I am doing it wrong? I wait until I have everything cut out and then I prime and paint.

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prime before you trace and cut out? Perhaps I am doing it wrong? I wait until I have everything cut out and then I prime and paint.

Jim

Jim,

Either way is fine. It is easier to see the tracing lines over the white primer that is probably the biggest advantage. The important thing is to seal the edges with primer + at least 3-4 coats of exterior paint.

good luck.

Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeff_Womack

Prime before you trace and cut out? Perhaps I am doing it wrong? I wait until I have everything cut out and then I prime and paint.

Jim

Jim,

It's my first one, just thought it might be easier to see the lines with the projector and then to cut if it was primered first. It may be the wrong order to do it, some of the cutout experts would have to tell us that. Just working on my first one ever.

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have done both ways, depending on the project. Generally though, I prime the board first. After I get it cut out, I go back and seal the cut edges and prime them also.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeff_Womack

I have done both ways, depending on the project. Generally though, I prime the board first. After I get it cut out, I go back and seal the cut edges and prime them also.

That is what my plan is. Several people suggested using caulk to help seal the edges so I will do that and then a little primer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe someone that's better at woodworking than I am will chime in here but I think you should prime, then caulk. Then prime again if desired.

I think the caulk will keep the primer from penetrating as far as it would without it (the caulk) being there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe someone that's better at woodworking than I am will chime in here but I think you should prime, then caulk. Then prime again if desired.

I think the caulk will keep the primer from penetrating as far as it would without it (the caulk) being there.

I would def prime first as Chuck is right it will not soak into the wood if you do it after you caulk. But i could be wrong:confused:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a professional wood worker or painter, but I think the purpose of the primer is to seal the grain of the wood so that the finishing coats of paint don't get absorbed into the wood. Been there, done that, by trying to take shortcuts on other projects. When doing regular construction, such as an addition to a house, you caulk first and then prime so that the caulk adheres better to the wood and not to the paint (primer). Again, I have done it both ways on cutouts, but usually I caulk and then paint. There are large gaps in the laminate of plywood and no amount of primer is going to seal them. One tip that I learned the hard way, make sure you get all the splinters off the edges of the cutout with a file, rasp, sandpaper, etc. before you caulk. I use my fingers to apply the caulk to the edges and those slivers of wood can make you say some things that cannot be posted on Planet Christmas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jeff_Womack

That's exactly what I was planning on doing. Caulking then primer, then paint. Thanks for the reminder about the splinters, I already have enough boo-boos with fire ants! Ouch! :eek:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...