The Tango Lamp

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Project by Castlewerks posted 07-15-2010 04:21 PM 4883 views 27 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Tango Floor Lamp, which I initially called The Whirly, then The Roto, began as an experiment in bent lamination.

Organic and sculptural. Sensual. The intertwining of the helical form is nature’s Tango.
The graceful shade follows where the base leads. Joined by rare earth magnets, each becomes a part of the other.

Bent laminated American Black Walnut and Shoji White Silk paper with a hand rubbed oil & varnish finish.
61”Tall, 10” Diameter

-- -Michael ( ) Groton, MA

17 comments so far

View dedalo's profile


173 posts in 2893 days

#1 posted 07-15-2010 04:42 PM

very, VERY nice! do you have any detail of the magnets usage? great idea!


View Castlewerks's profile


35 posts in 2868 days

#2 posted 07-15-2010 04:54 PM

Thanks!! The 3/8” magnets and cups are available from Rockler. There are four magnets recessed into the base of the shade with the washers recessed into the top of the base. There is enough attractive force to hold the shade in place if you tip the base maybe 20 or 30 degrees. It’s tricky to find the sweet spot wherein the shade can be removed easily, but not too easily :-) Four seems to work pretty well.


-- -Michael ( ) Groton, MA

View Gnome's profile


93 posts in 2906 days

#3 posted 07-15-2010 05:06 PM

I’m not too sure about this one. It makes me uneasy, leaves me feeling off-balance. Or, is that what’s it’s supposed to do? I can appreciate the concept and workmanship, but reminds me of a tipsy watertower. I like the top, I like the bottom, I’m not sure I like them together.

-- Gnettie the Gnome

View Konquest's profile


171 posts in 3440 days

#4 posted 07-15-2010 05:18 PM

That is awesome.

-- 9 3/4 fingers remaining.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3111 days

#5 posted 07-15-2010 05:27 PM

thank´s for sharing it
and welcome to L J enjoy and have fun
but be aware it can bee addictive believe me


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4295 days

#6 posted 07-15-2010 05:30 PM

A beautiful lamp + work of art!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View mcoyfrog's profile


4145 posts in 3590 days

#7 posted 07-15-2010 06:11 PM


-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View WiZeR's profile


17 posts in 3461 days

#8 posted 07-15-2010 07:53 PM

Absolutely stunning!!! Can you talk us through how you did the spiral laminations?

-- Home of Woodworking.

View Castlewerks's profile


35 posts in 2868 days

#9 posted 07-15-2010 10:13 PM

Thanks everyone for having a look… Gnome—you said the same thing that my wife did, “I like the top, I like the bottom, I’m not sure that I like them together”. I can’t say that I disagree. My intention was to have a matched set—a table lamp and a floor lamp. I think I’d like the shade as a table lamp on a short base, but I might make something a bit different for this base.

As for the bent laminations…. (sorry this is likely going to be long winded)

I made a cylindrical form by stacking 9” diameter discs that I made from 3/4” MDF. In between each disc, I have a smaller 4” diameter disc made from 3/4” MDF. This makes the entire form a bit lighter and essentially gives you slots spaced 3/4” apart to slide a clamp if you go that route, but I think I have a better method. More on that later.

I then took this form and attached a 2” diameter pipe flange on the bottom, screwed another flange into a piece of plywood and connected a section of pipe between them. Since this is a tall form, it allowed me to bolt the ply to the floor and work at a comfortable height. There is a lot of lateral pressure put on the form as you bend the laminates around it, so you need a way to secure it to a surface. Also, the laminates need to be able to hang below the bottom of the form—this way when they are dry, you can cut them flush with the top and bottom of the form and have a consistent length for each piece.

Okay, now that the form was done, I laid out a wheel on the top of the form, marked in 30 degree segments and dropped lines down the sides. I divided the form vertically into 4 sections/quarters. Each laminated leg turns 120 decrees from end to end, or 30 degrees per section. So, on the bottom disk I drilled three 1/4” holes offset by 120 degrees as referenced from the layout lines that I had dropped from the top, and glued a short section of dowel into each one. At the end of the each section, as I moved from bottom to top, I placed dowels offset by 30 degrees from the ones below. These provide registration for the laminates as they are clamped into the form and insure a consistent curve of the spiral.

Now for the fun part—the clamping. The goal was to be able to clamp all three legs at one time and this would require just an insane amount of clamps and just isn’t feasible. Also If using a bar clamp or a K-body style clamp, you’d also only get point pressure on the laminates and you’d need a clamping caul as well. The goal is for the laminates to conform to the radius of the form as well…

Ultimately what I came up with was the idea to use wide diameter adjustable hose clamps—the kind that you use on the hoses of a dust collector. McMaster-Carr sells 15” diameter hose clamps very inexpensively and it appears that you can buy kits to make pretty much any diameter that you need. Fortunately, they are tightened by means of a combo hex/philips head screw so you can tighten them quickly with a cordless drill. I temporarily fastened the laminated bundles into the form and started my clamping in the middle. Just slide the hose clamp over the top of the form and tighten. I basically used one clamp centered on each 9” diameter discs that made up the form—so the clamps were spaced 3/4” apart from each other. I alternated applying the clamps on either side working out from the middle.

It is a somewhat hairy operation, but it works.

-- -Michael ( ) Groton, MA

View Corrigithian's profile


42 posts in 2876 days

#10 posted 07-15-2010 10:14 PM

this piece has a really nice flow to it, nice design

View WiZeR's profile


17 posts in 3461 days

#11 posted 07-15-2010 10:41 PM

Thanks Michael. Intense Build!

-- Home of Woodworking.

View dakremer's profile


2672 posts in 3087 days

#12 posted 07-15-2010 11:50 PM

call me dumb…but i didnt understand a single thing about your jib/forms for getting these curves!!! haha. Anyway you can do a sketchup of them?? AWESOME lamp – i love this

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3803 days

#13 posted 07-16-2010 03:00 AM


The bent lamination on this piece is just stunning. The way you created your form and then used hose clamps is brilliant!!!

View CJay's profile


133 posts in 3227 days

#14 posted 07-16-2010 08:40 AM

Elegant, graceful and unique, its beautiful.

-- Chris Boreham, Oxfordshire, UK - -

View Hayabusa's profile


173 posts in 2876 days

#15 posted 07-16-2010 12:06 PM

it really impresses, very attractive, I wish I could design like that. Smart mate !

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