You might see some mention of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches on our social media pages. The Youth Ranches is an organization we believe in, and we have seen firsthand the impact they have on the lives of Florida’s kids. We do what we can to help support the Youth Ranches, whether it’s sponsoring kids for summer camp, contributing to Christmas gifts, or providing our specialized services.
In this case, our aid to the Youth Ranches comes from refurbishing and adding lighting to their chapel cross. The cross was originally designed to have incandescent lighting, which had failed years ago. Also, the finish was not looking too fresh due to its age.
To bring this cross back to life, we began by removing all the remnants of glue that had previously held the lighting and additional trim pieces in place. Once we had a clean slate to work with, we began to carefully sand the cross to remove the old finish. Our goal was to create a smooth, clean surface to accept the new stain.
After quite a bit of sanding, we had a beautiful raw wood cross to work with. We began staining and polishing the exposed wood surfaces. The goal was to freshen up the color but keep a somewhat rustic look. The cross is housed indoors so we only needed to stain it and give it a light coat of protective oil. This kept the beautiful aesthetic of the wood while protecting it and giving it the desired color.
Wood Inserts and LED Lighting
In our discussions about the lighting with the representative of the Youth Ranches, we decided to make raised top panels for the center of the cross. The top panels would help give the cross a finished look, hide the holes left from the previous lighting and help create a cavity for the new lighting. The top panels were made with a layer of 1/4″ baltic birch plywood on top of a spacer layer of 1/2″ baltic birch plywood. To add a bit of contrast, the top pieces were stained with a lighter colored stain than the body of the cross.
Adding lighting to the cross happened in two parts. The first part was attaching the RGB strip lights to the 1/2″ spacer layer of wood. The lighting strips were orientated to shine outward from the insert panels. This would cause the lighting to flood the gap between the insert and the edges of the cross.
The second part of the lighting was routing the wires from the RGB strips and the power supply that would power them and mounting the power supply. We made sure to route the lighting wires neatly, and secured them with nylon loops, so there would be no worries of any loose wires becoming visible. The power supply was mounted with metal brackets to the back of the cross. We also secured the power wire for the power supply with a few nylon loops to provide strain relief for the power cord.
Our final task was to get the cross cleaned up and give the lighting a final test. If you notice in the photos, the lighting isn’t bluish-white like many LEDs are. We specifically chose a warmer hue of LED so it would complement the wood colors used in the cross. The warmer shade also gives the cross an authentic, rustic feel. The representative from the Youth Ranch was excited to see the finished cross. They couldn’t wait to see it hung back up in the Youth Ranch Chapel.
While our primary focus is mobile electronics, we have the tools and abilities to tackle many other fabrication-related projects. If you are in need of some work you think we might be able to help with, contact us here.
If you would like to contribute to the excellent work the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches does for our kids, visit their DONATION PAGE.
You must be logged in to post a comment.