Wood lantern MaFe version. #1: My go on a traditional old Danish lantern.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 12-21-2015 12:01 AM 2072 reads 8 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Wood lantern.
My go on a traditional old Danish lantern

At my visits to the Danish Frilandsmuseum, I fell in love with the old traditional lanterns.
The simple way they were created and the few materials.
Also they can be made all by hand or with power tools – from recycle materials or all new.
Kind of right up my Alley.

This lantern from the museum is kind of my favorite, simple and kind of timeless design, in my eyes a Denmark meets Japan.

Another favorite and same style.
Both use simple wire as hardware.

All of them are pinned together with wood pegs.

Simple lines.

Less elegant version and where the putty is visual on the outside.

I brought ice cream to my friend Flemming and he had found his old lanterns to show me…

He had a few and it was quite inspirational.
Also to study the top, where the heat are supposed to get out and air flow freely.

So after the study of old versions, it was time to draw up my own version.
I were looking for the elegant look the first picture represent, kind of Japanese as I see it, perhaps Japan meets Denmark.
It also needed to work with modern standard candles, so it had to be higher, this helped to make the look slimmer.
I wanted it to be putty free, this since I could see no need for putty if the lantern are pinned together with visible pins and also it was an extra process and expense with no need as I see it.
Finally the no hardware idea was important, perhaps even a recycle touch if possible.
Since I wanted it as simple as possible and liked the look of this I also decided to make as few work processes as I could, so the glass would be held only on two sides and like this leaving the glass edge visible in top and bottom.

Here we are by the workbench, two scrap outdoor decking floor board pieces.
This story symbolically started in darkness even it was summer and end it now in light even it is winter.

Running through the planer / thicknesser to get the desired thickness.

Then making the profiles and the top and base boards.

Using a thin push block / stick.

All profiles and the bases are cut from same thickness of lumber as you can see here.
Not just to be lazy but to make the process and design simple.
Less is more.

The carry handles are made from wire, had a roll of heavy galvanized wire in the shop, so this would do.

Simple bending and twisting, that all you need.

I had soup that night and got an idea with the can.
So the top and bottom came off.

And the metal was made ready for recycle.
But we will get back to this later.

It was time to work on the profiles.
The needed shoulders to be able to pin the lanterns together.
Made them on the table saw but they could have been made easy by hand as the rest of this project.

Shoulders are cut for the tenons.

Tenons are cut free hand on the saw, they don’t need to be perfect.

Tenons all cut.

Now making a rabbet for the glass to be held.
Two types, one with one rabbet one with two.
As I said; less is more…

That’s it for the profiles.

Ok less is not always more, sometimes more is lovely.
Dinner in the work shop.

Espresso and sketch book.
Yes life is more than wood.

Marking the mortises for the tenons on the top.

Both sides.

Then precut with the wheel.

Finding the center.

And marking it.

Drill out the waste.

With a chisel the mortises are cleaned up.

First cut the sides.

Then dig in.
Auuuuchhh look at the mirror of that chisel.

To clean them up.

First assembly makes me trust in the dimensions.
I can see this is going in a good direction.

This is where I will cut the blog for now, see you in a while.

About the museum:
The museum are a big area, where there are collected houses from all over Denmark, the houses are moved there, brick by brick, to preserve our cultural treasures, and to make it possible for people to come there and experience the atmosphere in and around these houses. Even the landscape around the houses is shaped to represent the area as much as possible.
There are all kinds of houses, also an old blacksmith or an inn. All the houses has original interior from the given period, and the gardens around have seeds from the period to. So this gives you a unique chance, to walk in time and history, around Denmark, and some of the places we used to rule.

You can find info about the museum here: Frilandsmuseet.

My latest museum visits can be seen here:

Hope it can be an inspiration, perhaps even a light…


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

16 comments so far

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2762 days

#1 posted 12-21-2015 01:57 AM

nice build there mads
be easier to see that yummy food you get to eat

felis navidad

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

View lew's profile


11265 posts in 3177 days

#2 posted 12-21-2015 02:03 AM

One can only imagine how many hands held those old lanterns high as they moved through the darkness.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Druid's profile


1231 posts in 2217 days

#3 posted 12-21-2015 02:33 AM

This is an interesting recreation of an old method, and you have caught my attention.
Old methods such as this really interest me. I’ll be following with interest.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Jerry's profile


1710 posts in 1069 days

#4 posted 12-21-2015 03:50 AM

Really beautiful work Mafe.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View icemanhank's profile


288 posts in 1577 days

#5 posted 12-21-2015 04:54 AM

Great blog as always Mads, really interesting.

Food and wine look great too!

My very best wishes for Christmas and the new year my friend from the other side of the world.

Best David

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David from Sydney Australia

View Dutchy's profile


1976 posts in 1590 days

#6 posted 12-21-2015 07:39 AM

Very nice. I’m looking forward,

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3097 days

#7 posted 12-21-2015 08:17 AM

As always, nice work and exceptional blog!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1734 days

#8 posted 12-21-2015 09:28 AM

Very interesting. Less is definitely more!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2755 days

#9 posted 12-21-2015 12:55 PM

Looks like a fun project Mads and it’s always nice to preserve a slice of the Danish culture. I’m kind of acquainted with lanterns because my grandparents farm where I lived during WWII in Minnesota didn’t have electricity. Ours were kerosene and not candles, but kind of cool anyway. I think I know what that tin can is for, but I won’t say and ruin your fun.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View madts's profile (online now)


1662 posts in 1761 days

#10 posted 12-21-2015 01:39 PM

Nice to have you back Mads.
Nice lamp you are making there.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2202 days

#11 posted 12-21-2015 01:49 PM

Another great project Mads, looking forward to the followups !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1170 posts in 1135 days

#12 posted 12-21-2015 02:59 PM

Looks great. When i was i child in the 70-80┬┤ies we had one exactly like that on the farm but newer thought much about it. Seeing yours i am sad that i did not keep it..
Looks i need to go to the Frilndsmuseum as well and seek inspiration.

God jul!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View yuridichesky's profile


622 posts in 1385 days

#13 posted 12-21-2015 09:06 PM

It is always a pleasure to watch you working on the project, thank you for sharing!

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View helluvawreck's profile


22687 posts in 2288 days

#14 posted 12-26-2015 12:34 PM

It’s always fun to see the fruit of your mind and labor. Nice work and well presented.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2225 days

#15 posted 12-27-2015 02:05 PM

I think this was an awesome blog Mads…..,but, all I seen was that ice cream cone… hahaha Merry Christmas (belated) to you and yours

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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