Celtic Woodcraft Templates

Scrotlsavv or fretsaw

Router (optional)

Chisels and gouges

Drill with bit to match brass screws

Countersink bit

32mm (i V'-iin) flat wood bit for hole cutting

Craft knife or chip knife

8 As you come to a bunch of grapes, reduce the depth by only I-2mm C/i6-V^in) and re-draw the three circles. Cut out the small triangle formed at the centre of the circles using a chip knife or craft knife then round each of them over to form a ball shape. Again, shape the stem into the grapes. The grapes can be made to look more realistic by undercutting them slightly, using a small gouge to remove a little of the material all round the base of each cluster of grapes.

9 Mark the curved lines on each leaf, using a small gouge held vertically.

10 Tidy up the lettering, making sure that the sides are vertical. J have kept the letters at their full depth, but you can reduce them if you prefer.

11 Next, make the shelf to hold the canisters. Stick template 8C onto the smaller piccc of timber, using spray adhesive, and cut to size.

12 Using the flat bit, cut out the five holes as shown. The. largest flat bit available is 32mm (l'/-inj. which is just slightly too small for the 34mm (iviin) diameter canisters, so sand them back to size after cutting. This is easily done with a small sanding drum.

13 The shelf, ready for joining to the backboard, is shown above. Check the holes for size.

14 With the shelf held at right angles to the bottom of the backboard, where indicated on the template, drill two pilot holes for the screws. Use a countersink bit on the back of the backboard so that the screws can sit flush with the back. 1 lold the shelf in place in a workbench or vice, apply a layer of wood glue along the edge, then screw the backboard to it.

15 Finish the piccc using either wax or varnish. If the seed keeper is going to be hung in an outbuilding, a waterproof varnish would be the most suitable finish. Attach two picture hangers to the back of the seed keeper, to ensure that it hangs firmly as the canisters are taken in and out.

16 Make a set of labels for the canisters to identify the contents of each, and stick them onto the canisters near the bottom, where they can be more easily read.


his hand mirror introduces a new clement of Celtic art, that of the spiral. The spiral, or triskcle, is made up of three legs or curves that radiate from a common centre, and is thought to represent the sun and the movement of heavenly bodies. Others interpret the three coils as representing the three elements of heaven, earth and water, and a safeguard against evil.

The spiral motif appears in very early pagan Celtic art; one of the oldest examples is on the entrance stone at Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland, which dates back to 3000bc. Newgrange - a passage-tomb and the alleged burial place of the ancient Kings of Tara - is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments.

Spirals with two coils appear on early Celtic jewellery, such as bronze-age metal cloak fasteners and third-century Irish horse ornaments. These motifs are also found on stone crosses carved by stonemasons working in the sixth century.


Photocopy of template 9A. on page 102. enlarged by 125%

Carbon paper

Repps it ionabto spray adhesive

Timber, at least 160 x 260 x I2mm (ó'/í x lO'/'i x 7jn) (European oak)

Round mirror, 125mm (5in) in diameter

Glue suitable for sticking glass to timber.


Scrollsaw or hand fretsaw

Router with straight cutter (optional) and non-slip mat

Dremel with cutter bit No 9936 (optional)

Carving chisels and gouges

Chip-carving knife (optional)

Clear wax polish, or finish of your choice

tht' doublc-sidcd cross slab-slone in A berk'in no churchyard. Angus

Spirals appear in pictorial form in The Book' of Kells, where the Celtic artist took the simple spiral and introduced fantastic variations by adding animal and bird features.

The mirror featured in this project follows the tradition of the enamelled and engraved bronze mirrors produced by craftsmen of the pre-Roman Celtic period of British culture.

The Celts were particularly conscious of their appearance, especially their clothes and hair, so mirrors and combs were very important objects. Many Pictish stone carvings bear a mirror and comb motif. In this drawing of another of the Aberlemno stones, the mirror and comb can be seen in the lower right-hand corner.

The actual design on the back of the mirror has been adapted from the central motif on the eighth-century High Cross of Aberlemno, Scotland, shown below.

Two legs from the lower spirals break away to create the knotwork on the handle, forming an eternal knot.

For this project, I used European oak for strength, as the handle has to be strong enough to support the weight of the mirror. Oak is not the easiest of woods to carve, as the grain is quite coarse, but the finished result makes it worth the effort.

Detail on the cighth-ccnlury High Cruss of Aberlemno
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