How to make a garden timber cross

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Have some left over wood timbers from a remodeling project? Use them to make a nice, natural looking timber cross for that special garden spot in your Fort Worth backyard.  It’s not hard to do at all.

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How to make a garden timber cross

Things you’ll need:

  • Wood timbers left over from project (or purchased)
  • Chain or skill saw
  • Carpenter’s pencil and measuring tape
  • Heavy or maul hammer and chisel
  • Galvanized nails, 16d or long spikes as required
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Shovel or post hole digger
  • Sackrete and water
  • Scrap 2x4s for temporary cross support

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Decide on where you want to place your timber garden cross.  Select a special spot and check that it is cleared of conflicting bushes and shrubs.  Maybe you have a nice spot under a spreading oak tree with a grassy clearing and a stone path leading to it. Take a before picture of the site before you start work.

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Locate or purchase wood timbers for cross. You can also use fence posts left over from a job. If you purchase timbers, locate a Fort Worth Home Depot or Lowe’s close to you and check out their timbers available.  They often have several sizes that you can choose from.  The size of your timbers needed will depend on the garden or backyard spot you select. The larger the space, the larger the timbers.  Usually a 4” by 6” or 4” by 8” timber will work. Avoid the pressure treated timber, go with cedar, redwood, or pine for a more natural weathered look.  Select non -finished timbers or rough sawn if you can. If you can find a contractor that specializes in demolition, they may have used timbers available. Take time in picking out what you need for your timber cross. Measure the height and width of the cross you plan and take dimensions with you when you select the timbers.

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There are several Fort Worth area demolition, salvage, and hauling contractors. They often have used and salvaged timbers for sale.

Just do an on-line Mapquest search and locate one near your area, call them and ask them if they have what you need for your timber cross.

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Notch out sections of each piece of timber, horizontal cross and vertical, to fit so surfaces are flush when joined. Use chain saw or sharp skill saw for cutting lines to depth desired, then use heavy maul and chisel to remove wood from timber. Work as needed so crossing pieces fit flush. Place liberal amount of exterior glue without allowing excess to bleed on outside of timbers. Then nail notched pieces together by cross nailing at angles or drive long spikes straight into pieces to help hold together. If you are a real craftsman you could use wood dowels placed to hold cross pieces together. Let assembled cross sit overnight for glue to set.

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Timber cross can be any size or height you want. A rough natural looking cross will look great ouside if left to weather naturally in the Frt Worth climate

If you have one, use post hole digger to dig hole in ground at selected spot, about 3 inches wider around sides of timber. Place timber cross in hole, support with scrap 2x4s so it remains vertical to ground. Mix Sackrete with water per directions, place around cross, tamp to remove air, let dry overnight. Remove temporary wood braces. Plant flowers or ground cover selectively around area at base of timber cross and step back and smile! Take an after picture to compare with the picture you took before starting. Show them to all your friends!

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Tips & Warnings

  • Select your spot carefully so there is plenty of room to install the timber cross.
  • Spend some time online in advance to locate timbers if you do not have any.
  • Plant a mixture of colorful annuals and perennials around the cross base. .
  • Take care when cutting with chin or skill saws!
  • Use GFI receptacles to avoid shock and avoid wet areas.
  • Beware of splitting wood when nailing cross pieces together.

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