A lighted plate holder for a slumped glass plate

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Project by Dan Lyke posted 05-16-2010 04:10 AM 2972 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Many many years ago, a boy was trying to scare his mom, swinging on a rope swing out over a cliff, slipped, and fell a long way onto a hard surface. He ended up with a bunch of metal in his legs. During his recuperation period, long before I’d met her, my partner was hired to hang out with him while he healed, and she became part of that family.

Some time after that, I ended up part of the family. Back in the .com boom I had a consulting company, and on Friday evenings we’d load up the car with them and friends and play games on the company network until the late hours of the morning. One Monday, an associate leaned out of his office and asked “why is my computer calling me ‘rat boy’?”, and thence forward they were named the rat boys.

Growing up continued, one Christmas we gave them some PVC pipe, a sack of potatoes and a can of hair spray, and it took them more than a little while to figure that one out, we ended up building a class project that involved burning out the routes of European colonization in a sugar and potassium nitrate mixture that took extra special precautions when presented at school.

And now the elder is through college, and the younger is finishing up his schooling in Belgium, but at some point in there they made us a slumped glass plate. It had had a holder that wasn’t really up to the task, and in our last move the round fluorescent tube got broken and I decided that it was time to rebuild the thing with LEDs.

So this is my lighted plate holder, displaying their slumped glass plate. The wood is Massaranduba saved from the scrap pile at a high end deck place, the angles were cut carefully, glued up one at a time into half-circles, and then carefully trimmed so that accumulated error got removed. The light system is a coiled LED rope light behind several layers of the diffuser material that’s used in fluorescent fixtures.

And, yeah, I still need to practice these difficult multi-segmented curve glue-ups, because there’s a little filler involved. The finish is several layers of Penofin for hardwoods, sanded to 400.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#1 posted 05-16-2010 05:57 PM

Unique project well done

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4113 days

#2 posted 05-16-2010 07:13 PM

If you had trouble with joinery, you covered it well! Great story, and great display piece.


View sras's profile


4812 posts in 3157 days

#3 posted 05-16-2010 07:28 PM

Nice project and story!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4153 days

#4 posted 05-17-2010 08:30 PM

Yeah, they’re amazing kids. The younger one (and his mom) are also competent glass blowers. I don’t think they ever said exactly how many tries it took to get this plate through the firing process in one piece, but this wasn’t the first attempt..

The other thing in the shop at that time was a simple figure 8 track layout for a little wooden Thomas the Tank Engine train that I cut out of a single sheet of plywood because I didn’t have the confidence to actually try to cut track segments. Getting the 12 segment thing right here may give me the confidence to try curved track segments next. (Background: We volunteer for a program that teams us up with a family making the transition from homeless shelter to permanent housing, we’re allowed to provide emotional support and childcare and things like that, but we’re not allowed to give them any money (or vice-versa). But if I can built toys for them from scraps, that doesn’t count, right?)

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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