A Special Lamp for a Special Lady #3: Made In The Shade

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Blog entry by William posted 10-05-2012 12:34 AM 1650 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Taken To School Part 3 of A Special Lamp for a Special Lady series Part 4: Ready For Finish..... Almost »

I only got about an hour of shop time yesterday. Therefore I did not make a post. I just didn’t think it was enough to warrant one. All I done was make a hexagon block as a riser and installed the lamp kit.

Here’s what it looks like.

Now on to today’s festivities.
It was time to start on the shade. Here is where I found my first real sign of trouble for this project.

For the maple panels I plan on using for the shade, this is the effect I was hoping for. This is cottonwood sliced about 1/32 of an inch on my shop made band saw. The saw slices it like hot butter. I made several test cuts. Everything was going just peachy and I was finally comfortable enough to run the maple through.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that this board did not at all like being sliced that thin. No matter how tight the blade was, or how much pressure I applied against the fence, the blade only would go a very short distance into the board before chipping it off in pieces. This was not looking good. So it was time to back up and regroup.

I cut off about one inch of the end of the maple board as a test piece in order to see how thin I could slice it without problems. The thinnest I could get it was just shy of sixteenth of an inch. Here’s the two lengths I need to get the panels the size I wanted. My plan was to get them thinner by a lot of careful sanding.

As I was sanding, I was thinking. This wood seemed brittle. From my experience, brittle usually also means hard and dense. So I shut off the sander and checked one of the very thing pieces I had chipped off earlier on the failed attempt.
If you look closely, except for the extremely fine feathery edges of the piece, light was night creating that same glow as it does in the cottonwood. So I was not going to be able to get this wood thin enough, and still be stable enough to use, and have light glowing through it. This was a game changer.
I stopped to consider my option. I had to consult my wife for this. I wanted to make sure she was happy. My plan was to save the maple for another project and use cottonwood for the shade instead. My wife though, she vetoed that idea. She says that she doesn’t care about the glow through the wood. She insisted that she wants this beautiful maple for the shade panels.
So, after the boss had spoken, it was back to work on it.

My plan is to make the shade a hexagon shape to match the body of the lamp. I want everything to be a lighter colored wood though to contrast the darker woods below. I started to make it identical in design to the lamp body. However, weight would come into play here, since the shade has to be suspended above the lamp on a failry thin wire type hoop. So, while still keeping close to the lamp design, I wanted to come up with a lighter way to do it.

I considered several different wood for the panel stiles. I decided on sycamore though for the end grain figure. When quartersawn, this wood has a beautiful grain pattern that I felt would look wonderful on the shade, in contrast to a similar pattern on the lacewood below.

This is the profile I made strips of in preparation to cut down into stiles. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but they’re only about a quarter inch thick. This is thick enough for strength, while still being thin enough to be light.

I cut those strips down and made six of these panels. After allowing the glue to dry for about an hour, I beveled both sides of each panel to thirty degrees. Just to be on the safe side, I also ran each end across the table saw on a sled just to be sure everything was perfectly square. If even one of these were a tad out of square, I knew it would throw everything off kilter.

Using tape, I laid all the panels out much like you’d glue up a box. I just made sure all of them were perfectly even lengthwise, and that they putted up against each other’s sides tight.

Then, after spreading glue on all the surfaces that will mate up, I just rolled it up like a giant wooden burrito. In this photo, it is still taped up, waiting for glue to dry.

At this point, I actually was feeling pretty good this evening and wanted very much to continue. However, the way this is made, I thought it best to allow the glue to dry at least overnight before moving on.
So, I took the opportunity to drink coffee and read wood porn (wood working magazines). I mean, it isn’t like I do that a lot after all.
See you all next time.


13 comments so far

View StumpyNubs's profile


7604 posts in 2828 days

#1 posted 10-05-2012 12:40 AM

WOW- Very nice! Can’t wait to see it all finished!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View JL7's profile


8667 posts in 2992 days

#2 posted 10-05-2012 12:47 AM

Sounds like a challenging day…, panic, confirm your orders and get the job done. This is looking good…..!

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#3 posted 10-05-2012 12:54 AM

Thanks guys.
If everything goes right, I’m hoping to have it ready for finishing by the end of the weekend.


View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3368 days

#4 posted 10-05-2012 12:55 AM

if you can’t get around the block
in the first direction
go around the right way

well done william
looking good

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#5 posted 10-05-2012 12:58 AM

That entire project is coming together beautifully. I like the QS sycamore with the B’eye for the shade.

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

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#6 posted 10-05-2012 01:06 AM

Thank you both.

True Patron.
There’s more than one way to skin a board.
Is that right? Or maybe it’s a cat.

gfadvm, I like that too. It looks nicely next to the maple. Besides that though, if you look at the sycamore next to the lavewood I used on the lamp body, they are very similar in pattern, just contrasting colors.


View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4234 posts in 2589 days

#7 posted 10-05-2012 01:19 AM


One big thing to make it translucient is to soak the panels in oil and let them set there for 3 to 5 days. Let them dry out and alot of light will go through them.

Very nicely done by the way.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#8 posted 10-05-2012 01:31 AM

Thanks Arlin.
I did not know about soaking them in oil.
I’ll have to try that in the future.
However, since these are already glued up, and the wife seems happy, I think these will be fine.


View luv2learn's profile


2769 posts in 2330 days

#9 posted 10-05-2012 01:42 AM

Lets just call this what it is, “A LABOR OF LOVE”. It will look beautiful next to the Victorian clock your wife appropriated off your work bench :).

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2870 days

#10 posted 10-05-2012 01:48 AM

You’re not supposed to remind me about that luv2learn.
She put that clock where I don’t see it everyday. I think she’s hoping I’ll forget about it and give up on getting it one day to put finish on it.
Actually, I’m thinking more along the lines of getting it while she’s at work and hiding it in the attic.

Thanks for the compliment.


View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 3758 days

#11 posted 10-05-2012 01:55 AM

And Randy said that you’d never be able to pull it off.

Wow, great job William.
You’re inspiring.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2702 days

#12 posted 10-05-2012 04:05 AM

Fall back, regroup & conquer!!! Well done.

Lookin’ forward to seeing the finished project.

-- 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 2870 days

#13 posted 10-05-2012 09:21 AM

Thank you both.
I appreciate the compliments.


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