Intarsia Santa

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Saw and sand with care; St. Nick will soon be there.

Looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit? With the help of intarsia expert Judy Gale Roberts, we’ve come up with a fun project that fills the bill. At first glance, this merry wall hanging appears hand-carved, but the illusion of depth comes from sawing small pieces of wood with a scrollsaw and then sculpting them on a drum sander. The piece-by-piece approach is easier than it first appears, and should you remove too much material, you can quickly make a spare part.

It’s hard to find a project that’s so rewarding and that uses so little material. All the parts for this project are sawn from pre-milled 3⁄4" stock. Surprisingly the project’s palette comes from the woods’ natural colors. Here, we used aspen for the lightest sections and found the rest of the shades in a stack of western red cedar at our local home center. Exotic hardwoods can be used for a more colorful Claus, but realize that they are harder to saw and shape than cedar.

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