12 Days of Christmas Filigree Ornaments

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Project by Keith Fenton posted 09-30-2013 01:41 AM 6290 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

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18373 posts in 3821 days

#1 posted 09-30-2013 01:53 AM

Nice design Keith

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

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#2 posted 09-30-2013 02:01 AM

Very nice!

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3449 days

#3 posted 09-30-2013 02:05 AM

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 ...[''''']

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Keith Fenton

328 posts in 3065 days

#4 posted 09-30-2013 02:31 AM

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


117234 posts in 3722 days

#5 posted 09-30-2013 03:41 AM

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

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Jamie Speirs

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#6 posted 09-30-2013 04:29 AM

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

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4068 posts in 2038 days

#7 posted 09-30-2013 05:49 AM

Great job. I really like these patterns

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

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#8 posted 09-30-2013 06:19 AM


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#9 posted 09-30-2013 06:26 AM

Realy nice pieces

-- Dreaming patterns

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Dennis Zongker

2768 posts in 3737 days

#10 posted 09-30-2013 12:18 PM

very nice!!!

-- Dennis Zongker

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145 posts in 2658 days

#11 posted 09-30-2013 12:55 PM

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

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5811 posts in 2438 days

#12 posted 09-30-2013 04:32 PM

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

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#13 posted 09-30-2013 05:16 PM

Beautiful ornaments Keith. Love all your filigree work

-- Anna, Richmond BC

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#14 posted 10-01-2013 02:18 AM

Excellent Keith, those are Beautiful!

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

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7836 posts in 3449 days

#15 posted 10-01-2013 03:07 AM

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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