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Magic Lamp

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Project by Scott R. Turner posted 07-13-2015 12:01 AM 1592 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project was the convergence of a couple of different circumstances. It started when I posted my Carved Hummingbird Box to Facebook and my sister-in-law commented that she also loved hummingbirds, hint, hint. So I had it in mind to do something hummingbird-related for her. Then my son took a sudden interest in building a couple of lamps for his room. I had recently seen a posting about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Lamp, and suggested he build something along those lines. That didn’t interest him, but I liked the design enough to build one myself, and I thought the modern design would appeal to my sister-in-law. Rather than carve a hummingbird onto the outside of the lamp, I got the idea to carve the hummingbird into the inside of the lamp so that it would only be revealed when the lamp was switched on. A quick experiment suggested it was probably workable, so I just jumped into the build.

The lamp shade is poplar over an African mahogany base. (The mahogany was left over from my Adirondack Chair project.) Unlike the Wright lamp, the shade has three sides and does not swivel. The design is intentionally tall, but I’m not entirely happy with the base to shade proportions. The hummingbird design was routed out using a Dremel, small spiral bits and a router base. The pattern is cut to different depths to create different shades in the revealed figure. There is a white lucite square inserted into slots at the top of the shade to mute the light shining upwards. The lamp is finished with several coats of a water-based poly.

The construction should be obvious. The only interestingly tricky bit was in making the long miters for the shade. Except for the routed hummingbird, everything was done with hand tools and I didn’t really have a good approach for making a long consistent miter. I found plans for a jig at the Unplugged Woodshop but between saving the link and getting ready to build the jig the website disappeared! (It’s back now.) So I made the jig pretty much from memory after one quick look at the website, but it turned out fairly well. I rough-cut the miters with a hand saw and then used the jig to clean them up. They pulled together tightly on the outside corners on the glue up, so I was happy. My only regret is not making the stops the full length of the jig. I’ll probably fix that before I use the jig again.

Looking at the lamp in a dark room suggest to me that a “magic” nightlight along the same lines could be a good design.





11 comments so far

View Tomoose's profile

Tomoose

410 posts in 2840 days


#1 posted 07-13-2015 04:03 AM

Cool lamp, Scott! Thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Tom

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View BobWemm's profile

BobWemm

1816 posts in 1393 days


#2 posted 07-13-2015 05:40 AM

That is really gorgeous.
Love the Hummingbird.
Great job on the construction also.
Thanks for sharing.

Bob.

-- Bob, Western Australia, The Sun came up this morning, what a great start to the day. Now it's up to me to make it even better. I've cut this piece of wood 4 times and it's still too damn short.

View sras's profile

sras

4392 posts in 2596 days


#3 posted 07-13-2015 01:52 PM

Excellent idea!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2801 days


#4 posted 07-13-2015 03:49 PM

Great looking lamp and a good idea.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

5733 posts in 2835 days


#5 posted 07-13-2015 04:44 PM

Love this!

Reminds me of when I started working, way too many years ago, designing some “dead front” display panels that showed nothing until the lamps behind it was turned on.

This project is a step up of that concept!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View siavosh's profile

siavosh

674 posts in 1338 days


#6 posted 07-13-2015 09:51 PM

Genius! If I knew how to carve, I would copy this.

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View EggMan's profile

EggMan

66 posts in 1241 days


#7 posted 07-14-2015 02:21 AM

Great work.

View WoodworkingMD's profile

WoodworkingMD

9 posts in 506 days


#8 posted 08-08-2015 01:34 PM

Strong work. How did you manage to carve it so thin without going through the other side? I tried something similar last week with black walnut and almost immediately after I started to get light shining through I cut through to the front.

View helluvawreck's profile (online now)

helluvawreck

23203 posts in 2334 days


#9 posted 08-08-2015 01:43 PM

What a great idea. You really did a nice job on it and it’s very creative.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- 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 Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

265 posts in 2655 days


#10 posted 08-08-2015 03:22 PM


How did you manage to carve it so thin without going through the other side?

I used a Dremel tool with a spiral bit and precision router base. Then I snuck up on the final depth. I also had a reference board to check my depth against. I’d say remaining wood is about 1/16” or so in the deepest parts of the carving.

View WoodworkingMD's profile

WoodworkingMD

9 posts in 506 days


#11 posted 08-08-2015 04:26 PM

Strong work. How did you manage to carve it so thin without going through the other side? I tried something similar last week with black walnut and almost immediately after I started to get light shining through I cut through to the front.

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