Walnut Tree Lamp

  • Advertise with us
Project by Kayvon posted 12-13-2015 03:03 PM 1268 views 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This one started by thinking about carving a tree from a log. Something about irony, I don’t know. Then I thought lamp, I always wanted to make a lamp. I googled tree lamp and it turns out that Louis Comfort Tiffany came up with the idea more than 100 years before me. If you haven’t seen his Wisteria lamp, google it. It’s amazing. Oh well, not as original a thought as I had hoped.
I turned a walnut log with the centers centered perfectly at the pith. Turned it to a trumpet shape and then used a two foot long drill bit to drill a hole right through the center. The log had been drying in my garage for two or three years so it wasn’t really green. I let the trumpet end check and crack for a few days, marked each crack I could see with a black marker, and then drew the path that the “roots” could take by avoiding the cracks. No real artistic license, the log decided what it wanted to look like. I used a band saw, a dremel and power sanders for most of the carving. The roots are all end grain so it was a pain. You can see that the tips of several of the roots are the bark of the tree.
The base is turned from a maple burl. I turned it such that the root tips would contact the base while the center of the log would have a slight gap. I used threaded rod, and a little wood glue, to bring the two pieces together. Once the nuts on each end of the rod were tightened it all pulled together perfectly.
The finial is turned from African black wood. It started out about four inches tall but looked goofy so I kept trimming until it looked better, about an inch and a half.
Once the lamp was done I learned how to do stained glass. YouTube videos, some articles, and a nice lady at the stained glass shop who gave me some advice. I thought wood was tough to work with. Man, glass doesn’t give. There is no amount of clamping pressure that can close an ugly gap. Not to mention the problems with overcoming a too tight fit with a good whack with a hammer. No give at all. I made a segmented lamp shade form out of two by fours. The shade was assembled on that. Any botanical nerds out there might notice that the leaves on the shade are in fact walnut tree leaves. I found leaves on a tree in by back yard that were the right size and photocopied them. I used that for the leaf shapes. The blue glass was cut to fit, one piece at a time.
One piece of walnut, one piece of maple, one piece of black wood, 336 pieces of glass.
I really enjoyed this one. It took almost a year of an hour here and an hour there but it was good fun. I learned a new skill and got to buy a few new toys.

-- Kayvon

6 comments so far

View Lazyman's profile


2556 posts in 1557 days

#1 posted 12-13-2015 03:22 PM

This is probably one of the coolest lamps I have ever seen. I recognized the Walnut leaves in the shade immediately. If you could bring yourself to part with it (after that much work I couldn’t), I think that this would bring big bucks.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1346 days

#2 posted 12-13-2015 04:24 PM

I love the roots of the lamp!

I tried stained glass once and decided I would leave it to someone else.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Babieca's profile


178 posts in 1674 days

#3 posted 12-13-2015 04:57 PM

This is amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

View leafherder's profile


1575 posts in 2122 days

#4 posted 12-13-2015 10:05 PM

Beautiful – I like this better than the actual Tiffany (yes I have seen one in person). I’m a big believer in letting the wood decide what it wants to be, and you did a great job of listening when the wood spoke to you. I recognized the walnut leaves because I have two trees in my backyard – they are my retirement project – by the time I retire they will be big enough to make myself a rocking chair. I also tried stained glass but lost too much blood in the process, never cut myself that bad with wood working tools. I also tried blown glass, I am much better with open flames but have to keep them away from the wood. :)

Thanks for posting, Happy Holidays!

-- Leafherder

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2578 days

#5 posted 12-13-2015 10:37 PM

This is truly worthy of Top 3 project of the day…....any day. Absolutely beautiful woodwork with the walnut and the stained glass is very very nice. I am impressed. I agree with Lazyman….....this WOULD bring a very nice price. If it were mine, I’d never sell it. Great job!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View michelletwo's profile


2760 posts in 3186 days

#6 posted 12-14-2015 10:02 AM

as a woodworker/turner/glass artist, i am impressed by your first glasswork. Looks great! The roots rock!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics