Neon Cross – No, Not Neon Trees

This took a while to design and make, but in many eyes, well worth it.   With loads of help from Dwight Hartsell and GA, it was first turned into an elongated pill which was ripped in two, planed, and each cut in half, all from a leftover piece of wood from an altar made by Dwight.   We then removed the inside with a table saw (next time we will go with a router), and mitered the two halves and glued them together to from the basis cross.  We then routed out “L” at each corner for metal brackets for each support, that way it would be flush with the cross and not block more light.  Once finished we sanded and put a light spray-on lacquer for protection and to bring out the wood grain.   From there we made a copy of the cavity and the exterior on paper, and made the neon cross, with the face side towards the wall-to-be. to ensure the most light going out the back, with the electrodes closest to the wood.  Brackets, drilling, and mounting, and a bit of electricity makes it shine! (of course, click to enlarge)

In the sign business, this is referred to as a Channel Letter, much like Walgreen’s, CVS/pharmacy, and many other business signs in which they can not be lit with straight light bulbs given the design.  Even though I have been working in a commercial fabrication shop for around 5 years, and have seen and been fascinated by many signs, inspiration for this idea did not come from the idea of a channel letter, but from my member cross that was given to me by Dwight, and which has hung on my bedroom wall since.  His is a much simpler version of just two plain rectangular pieces of wood humbly crossed together using a lap joint.  Staring at this for years, one day/night in low light, I thought it might look neat to have it back-lit with the light coming out of the sides.