First Japanese style lamp

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Project by rustythebailiff posted 07-25-2013 01:00 AM 4501 views 15 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the first lamp I built from a book I bought with quite a few examples. I have taken to Japanese style and design of late, mainly for it’s lightness and simplicity.

I used poplar for the inner framework, and cypress for the legs and top. Did I say simplicity? The inner frame was a bit of a puzzle, with lap joints going every which way. I gang cut the bulk of them with a router before ripping the pieces to size, then cut the balance with saw and chisel.

After a light coat of latex urethane, I glued the shoji paper onto the frames. Prior to cutting one piece to size, I ran it through my inkjet printer taped to a piece of standard card stock. The kanji came out perfect, leaving me to learn Japanese calligraphy another day.

The cypress legs and top were shaped and grooved, with some corrections to the dados made by hand. I dyed the cypress to avoid blotching, then put three coats of laquer on them with a light rub down after curing.

Instead of a power cord and 110v bulb, which I thought would be too hot and might start a fire, I opted for battery operated “candles” (in the bottom left corner of one of the photos) I found online. The light is yellow like a flame, and flickers, giving the effect of candle lit lamp of olden days.

One down, a bunch to go!

-- "Necessity is the mother of invention"

14 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5489 posts in 1330 days

#1 posted 07-25-2013 01:06 AM

Very nicely done. Just one question: what do the Japanese letters say/mean?

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View rustythebailiff's profile


93 posts in 980 days

#2 posted 07-25-2013 01:36 AM

Thanks. It means “Peace” as in peace and harmony.

-- "Necessity is the mother of invention"

View waho6o9's profile


6308 posts in 1615 days

#3 posted 07-25-2013 03:25 AM

Well done.

View Mosquito's profile (online now)


6535 posts in 1330 days

#4 posted 07-25-2013 03:35 AM

Nice work, that looks pretty cool.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

772 posts in 1350 days

#5 posted 07-25-2013 08:02 AM

Very nicely done. Can you tell us the title of the book you used?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View rustythebailiff's profile


93 posts in 980 days

#6 posted 07-25-2013 09:42 AM

Thank you guys. Oddly enough, it’s called “Making Japanese Style Lamps and Lanterns” by Edward R. Turner. It has 18 different styles from floor to table to ceiling to outdoors. The instructions are pretty good, but some require a bit of deciphering. There aren’t any cutlists, but I rarely use them anyway

-- "Necessity is the mother of invention"

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

772 posts in 1350 days

#7 posted 07-25-2013 10:31 AM

Thanks Rusty. Very illuminating!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View aussiedave's profile


3101 posts in 862 days

#8 posted 07-25-2013 11:47 AM

Nice job….beautiful looking lamp.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

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73 posts in 1907 days

#9 posted 07-25-2013 11:32 PM

Very clean lines love the lamp. I’m going to add it to my favorites.

View Mean_Dean's profile (online now)


2863 posts in 2185 days

#10 posted 07-26-2013 04:34 PM

Great looking Soji lamp! I’m in the process of making two of these, and am using the same book as you.

-- Dean

View Russ's profile


356 posts in 2115 days

#11 posted 07-26-2013 05:50 PM

Very nice work. I love the look you have achived here.

-- Russ

View Goins's profile


7 posts in 1483 days

#12 posted 07-28-2013 12:48 AM

Just wanted to say simple but very nice.
Awesome job!

-- Marvin,Lancaster,Pennslyvania

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11362 posts in 1214 days

#13 posted 07-29-2013 01:39 PM

Great looking lamp, like the cool style and the beautiful finish. Great work!

View vanislescotty's profile


6 posts in 558 days

#14 posted 01-30-2015 05:46 PM

Very very nice. I’m keeping this design in my back pocket for a future build. I have another design in mind for my first japanese lantern but then I would like to try this.

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