Sacred Art  Jesus  In The Cross 

Carving a Crucifix in wood

To create a large wood sculpture  you need ambition, you need to have a full understanding  of you final piece you need to imagine and visualize you final product, and with every  chisel mark  you will be one step closer to your goal.

The process to create a large wooden sculpture is long and you have to make many difficult decisions.  You must have a clear vision of what you are going to carve in wood, you must create a map or a guide for the process.

How to star a large sculpture

Crucifix In Wood

The easy thing is to get a paper and a pencil and start drawing different ideas, look at past sculptures or study great artists, in this way you will be inspired and come with your own design.

You really need to study the subject for example if you are carving a portrait of a woman, it is a good idea to have your model for a photography section where you get a series of photos from different angles, this process will help you create a sculpture in proportion.

If you are creating a sculpture of Jesus on the cross, it is a good idea to have or study the anatomy of the body, there are excellent places on the web to study how to draw a human body, such as the web art academy, Vladimir London and Natalie Richy are excellent teachers  and they created a wonderful course that will teach you human anatomy through drawing classes.

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Continuing the Classical Art Tradition

The Drawing Academy is an online Drawing Course and Art Community, where you can learn how to draw in the comfort of your home, and benefit from the support of Academy tutors and fellow students.

It was founded and is lead by professional fine artists and art teachers.

To improve in the field of wood carving, you must have a clear vision of your project.  If you first work on your clay project and study human anatomy, you can create incredible sculptures.

For Jesus on the cross, I drew the full-scale pencil sculpture in order to see and study my subject, solving problems with the muscles and pose it this way is one of the best ways to create a study before starting the sculpture  in wood.

It will also help you with the process to take steps to build the large block of wood and  start your sculpture.

What kind of wood is better for carving?

The Materials are of personal preference, sometimes customers will ask for a particular type because they must match an existing object or to create unity with the Architecture or the interior or exterior design.

I am creating this project of Jesus on the cross with the wooden till that I dress most to carve the Limewood or Aspen, which is a hard type and is a beautiful light-colored wood, which is excellent for giving any finish or dye it, because you start with a light color.

As I said, it is a preferred option, there are many types of wood available to create any wood carving large or small sculptures.

These are the types that attract my attention The cherry, poplar, mahogany, maple, linden, birch, basswood and the list is large, your decision depends on the final result you get.

How to glue a wooden block to sculpt?

Have as many clamps

You should clean the surface with a planner or a hand planner for wood, as well as clean the edge of the wood for joining the pieces.  If you do not have this equipment, there is no problem, most wood suppliers can clean your wood at a low cost they can also clean the sides to create good joints.

Here in Michigan I use Johnson and Johnson Lumber wood company

For good results, make sure your wood is clean and straight.  To begin with, it is a good idea to do a test and hold the entire block first without the glue, with this additional step you will know if you need to pass the wood through the planner again or use a belt sander to create a clean and straight surface.

You are ready, everything was fine without the glue, now you can apply the wood glue on both surfaces, which must be joined.

First, make sure that the wooden surface is clean of dust, after having all the pieces with glue, it is time for a real physical training the processor is hard, you need so many clamps that you can put on the size block, make sure  If you have enough clamps before making the final union but if you don't have enough you must get more without enough hand clamps the block will not stick well, it may have gap in the joins.

How to start carving the sculpture of Jesus on the cross

Wood  Carving the details  

Now you  have a large block of wood, it is time to transfer the design with a carbon paper, I usually draw my design on a 4mil. plastic because it is malleable, does not change with moisture and does not tear like paper you can use a permanent  marker to draw in the plastic.

When you have a good sketch on the wooden block, you are ready to start carving ...

what tools are best to rough  out.

The Large Pfiel Swiss made tools work  well to rough  out

The faster way to remove  lots of materials is a chain saw  but they are dangerous if you have never used one before ,  make sure to learn from someone that has experience on how to use a chain saw and used all the safety  equipment with it.

You could remove  a lot of material with a large gauge and a good heavier  wood mallet, this combination will bring you very close yo you finish  sculpture without worries of the chain saw that goes very fast you really  need to have a clear vision of your carving so you will not remove too much material and will be fast.

How to overcome the challenges to create a monumental wood sculpture

To carve on wood a large sculpture  You need patience 

There are many challenges when it comes to a large or monumental size.  You should consider the space, the weight, the time and the hard work that takes the process.

You must have a clear vision of your piece before you start carving, you must solve all anatomy problems with the pose you choose, the type of wood, some are difficult to carve than others, and you need to have a good set of tools for a monument  sizes sculpture.

There are many wood carving chisels in the market, this group of Tools is good for those who are going to start carving, this set of Tools are at a good price, which for quantity and quality will be a good game to start the  arts carve in wood. But if you are creating a large sculpture, as in this video, you need to invest in good quality tools, the Swiss chisels are one of my favorites they have the edge very sharp and when you buy they will send a well sharpened tool, if you take good care of this sharpened edge it will  hold for a good time.

By this I mean not hammering or stock the Tools in the wood or using them as if they were levers, just carving very smoothly, if the tools are sharp or with a good  edge it will be an easy and pleasant jobt to carve wood.

This process of creating a great wood sculpture is great is a special feeling when you start to see the image, it is a long journey but in the end you will be surprised by what you achieve with just one hand full of tools.


To create a monumental wood sculpture you need to have ambition, you must have a complete understanding of your final piece, you need to imagine and visualize your final product, and with each brand of the chisel you create you will be one step closer to your goal.

But you need to have and maintain a good sharp tools to create sculptures without frustrations, you must also keep the work area in order to avoid any type of accidents.

At the end of its hard work, the emotion of a large wood sculpture works well, and with this you will surprise many people.

Think how many you could influence when you create a special religious image if your main theme is the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

To create this type of religious art you must be prepared to face all kinds of complications you  could face many tasks, you will suffer with the process, maybe you are carrying your cross and your crown will be a majestic sculpture that will become part of a great beautiful church like Saint  Peter The Fisherman.

About the Author Ruben

Colombian Artist
I am a working artist since 1987 in the mediums of Stone Sculpture, Wood Sculptures and Oils painting...

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