12 Days of Christmas Filigree Ornaments

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Project by Keith Fenton posted 297 days ago 1681 views 7 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been designing quite a few filigree ornaments over the last year or so. They are fun to design and seem to be well received by our customers. I have been quite consistent with the style and tolerances I use with these patterns although a couple of the first ones do have a lot more holes! After cutting a bunch of those that take 1 to 2 hours of cutting time per ornament, I did tone things down a little. Not because I had any customers complaining about it, but because I don’t like to cut projects that don’t advance at a good enough pace.

I like using this filigree style because it allows me to cover many ornament themes that have been done before, but I get to make them with a new twist and my own style.

These 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments appeared in this year’s Holiday issue of Creative Woodworks & Crafts Magazine and were the first filigree ornaments that I made using multiple layers. (The number layer is optional though). They were made with maple as for the filigree layer (My favorite wood for scrolling), and Jatoba for the numbers. I used mineral oil on the jatoba prior to sealing it in order to give it more contrast with the light wood. I think that was probably a good idea since the wet-looking jatoba looks really nice.

When scrolling the filigree or any challenging ornaments, I always stack cut multiple layers so that my wood’s total thickness is between 1/4” to 3/8” thick. The maple was 3/16” thick and I stacked some 1/8” Baltic birch plywood with it. The 3/16” maple allowed the ornament to be a little stronger than using 1/8” like many people use, and the stack cutting gives more resistance for the blade when cutting which makes things a whole lot easier. Near 3/8” thickness is the sweet spot in my opinion for cutting on the scroll saw with most common hardwoods and intricate patterns.

Thanks for looking :D

-- Scroll saw patterns @

16 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


14587 posts in 2273 days

#1 posted 297 days ago

Nice design Keith

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Grandpa's profile


3044 posts in 1273 days

#2 posted 297 days ago

Very nice!

View grizzman's profile


6775 posts in 1901 days

#3 posted 297 days ago

those are really nice keith, the precision cutting on these is just darn right amazing to me, a lot of times i move the blade a hair to much and on something like this, i would have boo boo’s all over the place, these will look really nice for christmas.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

310 posts in 1517 days

#4 posted 297 days ago

Thanks Guys.

Grizz – Some points to minimize such booboos: (Aside from the obvious… practice)

#1 Using thick enough wood to give the blade some resistance as I said in the description.

#2 Use a smaller blade so that a potential booboo will be small – #2/0s leave really small booboos ;) . This also makes cutting slower so that you have more time to think and react. Just don’t push the blade too hard to compensate for it cutting slow.


#4 Know when to go slow… When the blade has a chance to jump into a nearby kerf.

#5 know when to keep forward tension on the blade (When not to stop)... While turning, when the blade has a chance to grab back to an earlier point in your turn (This only matters if the good part of wood is on the inside of the turn. This is also more important if your saw is aggressive and has significant front-to-back blade motion. Which brings me to #6)

#6 A good saw will help A LOT. The less forward-to-back motion of the blade, the easier it will be to do intricate cutting. I gained about 5 skill levels in the switch from a Dewalt DW788 to an Excalibur!

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2174 days

#5 posted 297 days ago

Very fine work,a great design and all around wonderful pieces .

-- Custom furniture

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4085 posts in 1454 days

#6 posted 297 days ago

Keith very nice and fine work and a great design’s


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View hoss12992's profile


2458 posts in 490 days

#7 posted 297 days ago

Great job. I really like these patterns

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View SawdustTX's profile


175 posts in 921 days

#8 posted 297 days ago


View deon's profile


2150 posts in 1623 days

#9 posted 297 days ago

Realy nice pieces

-- Dreaming patterns

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2402 posts in 2189 days

#10 posted 297 days ago

very nice!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

View simarilan's profile


121 posts in 1110 days

#11 posted 297 days ago

Really like those, and it’s time to start on Christmas things for the shop.
And thanks for the tips.

-- Quality is easy to see - but hard to explain

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4346 posts in 890 days

#12 posted 297 days ago

Great design and very nicely done!

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Celticscroller's profile


739 posts in 670 days

#13 posted 297 days ago

Beautiful ornaments Keith. Love all your filigree work

-- Anna

View littlecope's profile


2882 posts in 2099 days

#14 posted 296 days ago

Excellent Keith, those are Beautiful!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View grizzman's profile


6775 posts in 1901 days

#15 posted 296 days ago

thank you keith for the advice, its true, practice and more practice, and all of your points …hope things are going as well as possible…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

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