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"Parasitic" floor lamp #8: Light box and louver shaping

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Blog entry by Ross Leidy posted 09-08-2021 05:36 PM 398 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Turret revisited Part 8 of "Parasitic" floor lamp series Part 9: Louvers - threaded inserts »

For the main box and louvers, I again used some wood that I had on-hand – some Alaskan yellow cedar – selected because it was wide enough so I wouldn’t need to do a glue-up and it was relatively lightweight. It’s not very striking grain-wise, but I figured this lamp is all about form, so I’m okay with the plain look. AYC is on the soft side, but I figure the lamp isn’t going to get much abuse, so I went with it.

I started by resawing and thickness sanding some pieces for the box down to 7/16”. I cut the pieces down to the design dimensions of 20”L x 8”D x 7.75”H. The plan is to use simple butt joints like the original, and to fasten them with 4mm dominoes.

And just set in place to get a first view of the box. I won’t be able to assemble the box until I check the proportions against the rest of the lamp and have the holes drilled for the louver fasteners.

I did do a quick test with some scrap to see how the tiny dominoes would work. They’ll do just fine.

With the box taped together, I set it on top of the turret. It was then that we found that the turret needed some additional height (simulated with some cork coasters) and that the box looked just a bit too large. I overlaid the picture below over the original, and sure enough mine was a bit too long and high.

I kept the box proportions the same, reducing the height by 1/2” and the length by 1-1/4”. With the new turret cap in place and the resized box, I was happy with overall proportions.

For the louvers, I started with a plank matching the thickness of the center of the louver and a little oversized in width to give me some wiggle room. I cut the length to be enough for 4 louvers plus some waste. I marked out the target cross section on either end, and then trimmed off the bulk on the bandsaw.

It was a really nice day, so I did all my planing outside on the patio. I used my trusty piece of thick purple rug pad to cushion the piece to avoid denting the piece on the workmate.

After planing down to the line, I took it back to the workshop to do some final sanding. The nice part about this shaping was that, like the legs, the cross-section didn’t need to be perfectly uniform along the length. It just needed to “look” right.

Then it was off to the tablesaw to cut the louvers to length. A strip of masking tape eliminated any tear-out during cutting.

The louver length is 1/8” less shy of the opening height to allow for a 1/16” thick washer on either end at the pivot point. And another quick look at the components in-place to see how it’s looking:

Next up will be the threaded inserts on the top and bottom of the louvers.



2 comments so far

View Ron Stewart's profile

Ron Stewart

327 posts in 3720 days


#1 posted 09-08-2021 09:23 PM

It’s looking really good, Ross. Nice job shaping the louvers.

Also, it’s always nice seeing an old Workmate in use. I’ve had mine for over 35 years, and I still find ways to use it all the time.

-- Ron Stewart

View Ross Leidy's profile

Ross Leidy

279 posts in 3158 days


#2 posted 09-09-2021 12:29 PM



It’s looking really good, Ross. Nice job shaping the louvers.

Also, it’s always nice seeing an old Workmate in use. I’ve had mine for over 35 years, and I still find ways to use it all the time.

- Ron Stewart


Thanks, Ron. The Workmate – yeah, I think I got mine around ‘85 or ‘86, so I’ve had mine for about the same length of time. The plastic part the keeps the legs folded has broken on one of the legs, but other than that it’s still going strong.

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