Shane Dennehey

Nineteen Years Ago Today

Today is my Mom's Birthday, Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Nineteen years ago, I gave her a gift that forever changed MY life. I was working in a commercial woodshop by day and going to night school to study graphic design by night. Work was slow in the shop due to the September 11th attacks' financial aftermath. So my foreman gave me access to scrap wood and let me build whatever I wanted while we waited for work to come in.

At the time, I had been woodworking for about five years and had just recently committed my life to Christ. As a craftsman, my skills were growing, and I was passionate about using my talent to share my newfound faith, so I decided to build a cross.

I remember building my first cross that October day. I didn't have a plan or any idea when I got started. I just started building, layer by layer, cut by cut until it was complete. It was one of those moments where I was so into my work that time seemed to fly by. I felt such a wild rush of inspiration as I piled on the layers.

I made that cross as a gift for my Mom's birthday, but after it was finished, one of the sales associates liked it so much that he asked me to build him five more! I was so excited—I had never sold anything I'd made before. I was pumped!

The thrill of that first sale got me thinking—what if I set up a booth at a craft show? So I sought out a venue, rented a space, and sold another cross to the woman running the show! Now I was on fire. I knew I had something special!

I took a week off work, bought as much wood as I could afford, and feverishly made over 200 crosses. It took a solid five days, including an all-nighter on the night before the show to get them all ready. I had to make every single cross because I didn't want to sell out!

On the day of the big show, so many people stopped and commented, "these crosses are so beautiful!" But not one cross sold. Nobody wanted to buy one. I was bewildered. So disappointed.

I went home, slept to recover from building crosses all night, and wallowed in despair for a few weeks. I was so embarrassed and confused. Why was this happening to me?

The depression from that first failure didn't last long. I had to do something with all that inventory. So after some soul searching and experimenting, I started selling them one-by-one on eBay and eventually on my own website.

They were a hit once again, and I have sold them consistently online for almost 20 years now. Since then, I've made hundreds of Layered Crosses ranging from 4 inches to 8 feet tall.

They've been a blessing to my family and me through the years. They provided extra income and wonderful handmade gifts for every occasion.

It started as a flash of inspiration, launched me on a journey of discovery and growth. And today, I'm able to support my family by woodworking.

I feel beyond blessed to have the opportunity to share this design with you and it's amazing to see all of you making and sharing it with the world every single day!

Tags: News

Comments

  • Posted by Rick Tennes on

    Awesome story! I just bought a 9" cross kit from you, that I put together, and I used Howard Butcher Block Conditioner to finish and protect the cross. It turned out very nicely. Blessings to your family, Rick

  • Posted by Walt Hickman on

    It’s amazing how things can evolve from trying something new. …. Your design really inspired me when I accidentilly came upon your website last Spring. Making crosses this summer was a lot of fun. Thank you.

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DDC Woodworking Journal

Resources, ramblings, lists, and lore from the desks of Dennehey Design.