Some of you who read a lot of my ramblings know that I mostly work with cottonwood, pecan, oak, and mahogany (sapelle actually). The reason for that is that it’s what I have available. So I do what most woodworkers do. I work with what I have. It do not have the funds to seek out more exotic woods.
Well, over the course of the last year or so, I have recieved several other species of woods from friends, mostly fellow Lumberjocks. I have been hoarding this wood because, truthfully, I’ve been a little nervous about using any of it and messing up.
Last week, I recieved a package from a fellow Lumberjock containing a piece of birdseye maple and lacewood. I unpacked what you see in this photo and just drooled over it for the longest time. It got me to thinking though that I need to use some of this wood I’ve been given. These guys didn’t give me this wood just to look at. They gave it to use. So I decided that over the next few projects, I want to put these woods to use.
To start with, I decided to use the lacewood and maple, since it’s sitting on my work bench anyway. Now, my specialty is scroll work. However, the beautiful grains of these woods don’t lend themselves well to scrolling. It’d be a crime, in my opinion, to remove holes from the grain such as in most scroll work. It would take away the patterns in the grain that make it beautiful to start with. So I started thinking on what else I could do with it. Of course, I plan on using it to create something for a special lady, my wife.
Before I could come up with anything, my wife told me what she really wanted was a wooden lamp. I could work with that idea. So I started planning on that.
To start with, I planned a simple lamp that highlighted the beautiful woods I’m using in it above anything else. So I was thinking on a simple square based lamp. The more I thought about it though, I just don’t do simple. It just isn’t my style. So what else could I do? The answer is, I don’t know. I’m sort of making it up as I go along. Procrastination time was over though. I had to get over my hesitation about cutting this wood and get my butt in gear.
I decided the body of the lamp would have six sides instead of four. I laid in bed last night thinking about how I wanted to do this. I started doing the math in my head and came up with a plan that involved posts at all six intersect points with fifteen degree angles on each side.
Something in the back of my head told me to use scrap to mock this up first. I’m glad I did.
I cut all the pieces in scrap pine and started laying it out. I hadn’t even gotten it completely laid out before I knew I was wrong. I have made this mistake before.
Since I usually work with 2D portraits and such in my scrolling, I have a bad habit of dividing things on a 180 degree scale. This being a 3D object though, I needed to think about it as an entire 360 degree object.
So, some quick math in my head told me that I needed to increase the angles in each side of each post to thirty degrees, making sixty degree total at each intersection.
After making sure this would lay out like I planned, I made my posts out of shapelle. I thought about using one of the woods some other guys have given me. Those will have to wait though. I wanted to keep the lamp body dark to contrast the lighter colored shade I plan on making later.
Now came the task that had my nerves in overdrive.
I don’t get to work with woods this beautiful. To me, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I knew I had to resaw the lacewood next, and I only had one shot at it. If I screwed this up, I would have to cry. I’d have blown my chances at pulling this project off successfully and, in my mind, let down the kind fella who gave me this wood.
I have to admit something.
Resawing this fine wood on a saw that I built my self was one of the most nerveracking experiences I’ve had in a long time.
However, success at doing it without a hiccup was the most rewarding things I’ve done in an even longer time.
And here is the main body of the lamp mocked up. Nothing is glued yet. It was getting late and the soreness was setting up in my back. Besides, at this point I just wanted to sit back, enjoy a cup of java, and think on my next point of attack.
I will keep ya’ll posted on the progress of this project. I have big plans in my head for it.
Resawing this lacewood was an anxious and rewarding experience for me. Wait until I get ready to resaw the maple to veneer thickness later in this project. I’m not sure my heart can stand it.
I must point out that I am not worried about my saw. I have put it through it’s paced plenty since building it earlier this year. This is the first time though that I’ve used it on wood that, if I mess up, I can’t walk to the back room and grab more wood to start over on. That is the part that causes me anxiety. I almost feel I am not worthy to be messing with wood this beautiful. I only hope I do good enough job on this to bring a smile to the face of my lovely wife, and the man who gave me the wood.