– Ben Martens

Bandsaw Reindeer

Years ago, I added “scrap wood bandsaw reindeer” to my project idea list, and this year I finally got around to making it. One of the big reasons I hadn’t made it before is that the plans call for a big Forstner bit and my old drill press really didn’t like those. This project felt like a fun way to see how well my new drill press would do with it. (Spoiler: it was awesome!)

I bought the plans from that linked video, mostly to support the creator, but as I dug in more, I realized this could have also been done without the big Forstner bit. Using the bit does result in less sanding so that’s a win. The process is a little hard to explain in text, but maybe you have heard the old saying: “How do you carve an elephant? Start with a block of stone and chip away everything that’s not an elephant.” This project is a lot like that. Imagine starting with a 2×4 about 7.5″ long. After drilling two holes in the face at specific points, you glue a template onto the narrow side of the 2×4 and cut it out on the bandsaw. The cutout pieces get taped back into place, the blank is laid flat, and a template is applied to the face. That gets cut out on the bandsaw again and then all the pieces fall out and you’re left with a reindeer.

I first made one out of a scrap 2×4 and then I made a fancier one with different species of wood glued together at specific points. The antlers are mahogany, the body is cherry, the hooves are walnut, and the nose is padauk. I didn’t have a big enough block of cherry so I had to glue one up. The lines are pretty visible but it was still a fun project. I’ll have to do it again when I have some thicker scraps. They require a lot of sanding, but I could see batching out some of these for gifts.