A Special Lamp for a Special Lady #2: Taken To School

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Blog entry by William posted 10-03-2012 12:43 AM 1905 reads 1 time favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting Started Part 2 of A Special Lamp for a Special Lady series Part 3: Made In The Shade »

I title this entry as it is for all the things I learned today. It is an exciting day for me when I can travel down new roads in my wood working journey.

I left the hexagon shaped shell of the lamp body yesterday and needed to first figure out this morning how I was going to tackle gluing it up. So I was sitting at the table this morning, waiting for the kids to catch the bus, trying to figure out how to make a perfect hexagon. I knew how to draw a close enough hexagon, but I couldn’t remember how to draw one perfectly, which I needed if I was to keep this in line.
Now let me tell you, I have one son, he carries the same first name as me, William, that is a genius. I’m not exaggerating. This kid is smarter than I ever dreamed of being.

What you figuring up Daddy?

I’m trying to make a perfect hexagon for that lamp I’m building.

Easy. A hexagon has six sides. That breaks down into six parts of a 360 degree circle.

Then he said something that lost me about something to do with a pie.

Figure out how long on leg is. Use that for your radius, then use that same length to mark off arc segments.


Draw a six petal flower with a compass around the circle Daddy.

Oooooh kay!

Then my brilliant son got on the bus and I was left to my own devices.

I wish I had more time for him to explain in better detail. It took me an hour to figure out what he was talking about. As soon as I did figure it out, I remembered drawing flowers like that for him when he was in kindergarden. I never thought about joining the intersecting points on the circle to make a hexagon though.

Now that I had my perfect hexagon though, I couldn’t get the posts of the shell set just so on it to line it all up perfectly like I wanted. So I knew just how to come up with an answer, since my brilliant son wasn’t there to save my butt again.

I always think better with a hot cup of coffee in my hand.
I didn’t have the geometric knowledge of my son. And anyone who knows me knows that angles usually warp my brain. What I did have though is scrap wood. I have plenty of scrap wood.
And zip ties.

It accured to me that if I zip tied the shell together to keep it from seperating, and used scrap pieces of wood to space the posts the exact same distance apart on the inside, the panels would automatically fall into place.

So I had my shell set up and was happy that everything was spaced correctly.
Then I set out around my shop to gather wood for the top of the body. It was then that I realized that I was not going to be happy with it no matter what wood I used. I had carefully planned the shell. Now laying a piece of straight wood across the top, in my opinion, just looked like crap. It just distracted from the beautiful wood that I had used for the shell. I had to come up with something better for this project.

Well, the reason I wanted the Incra sled to start with was for it’s accuracy and full range of motion. I had never done what I was thinking about doing. After yesterday though, I decided it was time to get past my fear of failure and get this thing done right.

Using sapelle to match the posts, I cut twelve pieces with a right angle on one side and a sixty degree angle on the other.
I learned two things doing this on the Incra sled. Take it slow if you don’t want terrible tearout at the thinnest part of the triangle. Also, if you think the wood will move under the hold down, it will. Take the time to reclamp it down until you are certain it won’t move.
All in all though, I was quite happy at this point. This is the first time I’ve ever put together this many angled pieces to make anything.

I think it looks quite nice along with the shell. I am so glad I took the time to make the top as I did.

Keeping with the angled theme of the top, for the bottom, I mitered six sides around the base of the shell.

Then I made twelve small pieces at thirty degree opposite angles to make feet for the body to sit on.

And that’s what I got done today. I still have a lot of sanding to do before I can glue everything up. Also, it doesn’t exactly look like a lamp just yet. However, it is far enough along now that I am starting to get a picture in my head of what I want the final piece to look like.

I learned a lot today about hexagons and angles.
It helped me learned even more that William, my son, came in from school explaining to me about six more different kinds of ways I could have come up with this perfect six sided shape. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?


21 comments so far

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3433 days

#1 posted 10-03-2012 12:48 AM

Looks like you did a lot today William. Amazing what comes out of the mouth of babes sometimes. It is going to be a great gift and she’ll love it.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3340 days

#2 posted 10-03-2012 12:52 AM

very classy
and unique william

sure to wow the wife

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#3 posted 10-03-2012 01:00 AM

Thank you both.

Glad you like it David.
Rex, I don’t know if I’ve talked about my son before on here, but he is a smart one.
Problem is, when he gets started on something like this today, he acts superior. In other words, he turns into a smartass. I know I need to say something about it, but it’s usually hard to when he’s 100% correct in what he’s saying.


View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 3729 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 01:00 AM

Good thing for that youngster of yours or you might still be out there drinkin coffee and bumpin into walls.
It’ looks to be coming together beautifully.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2674 days

#5 posted 10-03-2012 01:03 AM

It’s really starting to take shape. Lookin’ good!

I would never accomplish that much in one day. I need a day to fiqure out how to do it, another day to build a jig and still another day to make hundreds of mistakes!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#6 posted 10-03-2012 01:04 AM

Thanks Bags.
The wife and kids keep me straight.
Someone has to or the world would be in trouble.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#7 posted 10-03-2012 01:05 AM

Have you learned nothing Randy.
Never make mistakes.
Make design changes.

Thanks for the compliment though.


View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2839 days

#8 posted 10-03-2012 01:09 AM

Man look at all those crazy angles.
Great work William.
What are you going to finish it with?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#9 posted 10-03-2012 01:16 AM

Thanks Dave.
I’m not sure yet about finish.
I’m leaning towards shellac because I want to use that technique Jeff pointed me to on the Wood Wisperer.
You know what I’m talking about. He uses dye to bring out the grain in the maple. I’m using maple slice into veneer thickness on the shade and I think that technique will really make it stand out.


View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2839 days

#10 posted 10-03-2012 01:33 AM

Pop goes the wood.
0000 steal wool then shellac

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#11 posted 10-03-2012 01:34 AM

Yep, that’s the one.
He posted a link to it the other day.
I saved the link just in case I need to go back and watch it, which I proabably will right before finishing, since I’ve never used that technique before.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2689 days

#12 posted 10-03-2012 01:38 AM

Holy cow William! That is just amazing. I thought the sides were fancy but the top is incredible. You lost me when you cut the slots in the uprights to hold the sides and they fit perfectly. Now you see why I stick to boxes. This is comong along beautifully!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#13 posted 10-03-2012 01:46 AM

Thanks gfadvm.
Actually, the upright posts were easy.
I just figured out the angles in a mockup (thirty degrees on both sides of the post).
Then I set my saw blade to thirty degrees and “snuck up” on getting the slots cut right.
I have an incra fence system. So after the first cut, I just used the micro adjustment knob to move it a couple of thousands of an inch at a time until the panels fit just right.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#14 posted 10-03-2012 10:26 AM

Very nice, William! I am really enjoying seeing this come to be! :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2841 days

#15 posted 10-03-2012 11:19 AM

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