White oak and mica pole lamp

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Project by croquetman posted 09-09-2012 12:33 PM 1752 views 5 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Several years ago I made two Morris chairs for our sun room. Then I added a small bookcase with attached table top (to hold a book, coffee, magazine, and lots of other stuff I might need if I had time to sit and read). It was all good except for the floor lamp which was cheap, metal and … did I say cheap? So I decided to build a floor lamp to match.

Lamps may be small projects, but they are hardly trivial. This one is made from white oak: mostly from our farm. The pole is made the usual way with the 4 sides (trapezoidal) glued to provide a hollow core and mostly quarter sawed face. I splined the meeting edges to keep the sides aligned during glue up. The rest is pretty straight forward.

What sets this apart is the lamp shade. I wanted to do an Arts & Craft style shade but was totally turned off by the cost of the nice ones and the quality of those I could reasonably afford. Solution: build it. Not so easy. Anyway, I found several examples of home built shades on LumberJacks, and decided “I can do this”. The really hard part is the interior angles of the compound miter in the vertical corners. This worked out to something like 97 degrees for the trapezoidal side frames. Half of 97 is 48.5. OOOPs. Can’t cut 48.5 degrees. So I decided 45 is good enough, and I could trim a bit off with a ahnd plane. Good plan. Glue up was tricky. First I made all 4 frames. Then trimed the whole shebang to fit nicely. Then applied glue to the edges and taped them with blue tape. Great idea. Flat black paint to simulate wrought iron gave it the look I wanted. I may have made the frame a bit too large (24” square profile at the bottom and 16” across the top), but I have big hands. My wife tells me it could’ve been 30% smaller. Maybe next time. I may have erred on the beefy side with the cross bracing, but I wanted to attach the shade to the pole securely. The frame is poplar.

The sides are mica sheets. I found a source in New Port News that had a great selection of thicknesses and colors. Most sources had just a few. They had many. Curring the sheets to size was fairly easy even though it diid produce some shattered edges. Next time (Ha!) I will fit the mica into a frame and then attach that frame to the shade rather than have the mica the last step. We learn.

-- Whatever

6 comments so far

View gul's profile


400 posts in 3107 days

#1 posted 09-09-2012 05:29 PM

It’s beautiful.My kind of lamp. :)

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3631 days

#2 posted 09-09-2012 08:55 PM

I save all the better made lamps on my favorites. You certainly earned your place on the list. Exceptional. May I ask where you purchased the mica? Is the mica verses glass for authenticity? Very nice touch.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2346 days

#3 posted 09-09-2012 10:13 PM

Job well done….. It all blends in great…..

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View croquetman's profile


136 posts in 3466 days

#4 posted 09-10-2012 02:50 AM

The mica came from Asheville Mica in New Port News, Virginia.

-- Whatever

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3735 days

#5 posted 09-10-2012 12:39 PM

Great design – beautifully done.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3631 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 06:09 AM

Thanks croquetman. I’ll check them out. You’ve made me a believer.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

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