How I made MY shades

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Blog entry by Andrew posted 01-05-2011 11:10 PM 2290 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Well after posting my Christmas lamps project there was some interest in how I turned the shades, luckily I took some pictures of the process along the way. This is my first time so be gentle, but I do want to know if there are things I can do better, so let me know.
  • Woodturning can be dangerous, especially with a 30 chunk of wood spinning at 500 rpms, I have not been hurt doing this yet, but I realize it is a possibility. Once the tailstock is removed, I do not cross the “exit path” of the wood ever. ** If you try this please be careful, I also wish you luck in trying this, if you choose to. I have tryed 10 shades and been successful on 9.
    I choose the wood, very green, very wet, and as white as I can find. I start by Mounting a log (In this case poplar) on my faceplate, I actually drill the holes then add CA glue, then screw it all on, 1 hole at a time, I have not had a chunk of wood come off since I started using the glue. I then measure about 9 inches or so, and part the rest off, I will be going for 8” high but don’t want to hit the screws attatching the wood to the faceplate.
    I begin by spinning it at about 150-250 rpm, the fastest speed I can go without my lathe getting “jumpy”

So I shape the outside, an nice taper, I want it to still be at least 7” in diameter at the top and maybe 9” at the bottom.
I do like using the tailstock for shapeing the outside and the beginning the holowing process. This is a great time to get the outside of the shade as smooth as possible, because once you start getting it thin, it will warp a little and it will come down to hand sanding (which it will anyway).
There comes a time when you have to take a leap of faith and remove the tailstock though. about 400 rpms now
Once I have a little hollowed out, I start using a drill bit in a jacobs chuck to get the very center
For the hollowing process I use a variety of tools, bowl gouge, heavy duty scrapers, even a bedan, no real rhyme or reason, sometimes, I feel a tool is grabby, and other timesj just not cutting well enough, or even I just get tired of using 1 tool. I am very wary of catchs though, this is still a big honking chunk of wood, and its size, and moisture content can cause it to be unbalanced to begin with. With the picture below, this is about where I start getting comfortable with the process. about 600 rpms.
Now we are at the point of no return, I must finish it now or it will be junk. Before this if I had to quit, I could throw a plastic bag over it for about 24 hours and come back to it.
Once I get to this point, I exclusively use my bowl gouge, sharp, and careful, patient, and gentle cuts. I set up a light on the other side and under the lamp shade, and once light starts to show through, I turn off all the lights (except the one under the shade) in the garage, and shut the doorI switch to my EZ wood Finisher. I bought the tool just for this project, it really seems to work pretty well, and catches are a lot easier to deal with than with any other tool. In fact I only get catches when my tool is overhanging the tool rest about 3 or 4 inches. ( I don’t like that and I am having a custom tool rest made by my nieghbor, MetalMike). Spinning about 800 rpms from this point on.
I can tell by the color of the glow of the wood how thick it is. I start at the end closest to me and pull the tool toward me, then slowly work my way back, gentley smoothing the surface and carefully removing whispers of wood at a time.
This process continues.
and continues
It just keeps going, until, I am afraid of cutting anymore. Then it is time to part off, this is kind of scary too. I move the light to shine on the inside of the shade. I then part a wide groove in the top of the shade using my bedan, until I can see light start to emerge from the cut, it is time to be gentle again. nice easy cuts, towards the end the light gets brighter, and I have to gently part using 1 hand, and the other lightly grabbing the wood ready to catch it when it comes free.
The lights come on, and I look at my work, then bring it inside for about 2 weeks, before it is dry enough to sand out, somtimes the hole at the top is a little smaller than I want so I drop it over my rigid oscillating spindle sander and widen the hole by moving it around the spindle. For the connection to the lamp I simply glue a strip of plexi-glass, that has a 1/4” hole in the middle, across the inside of the shade. Done and done. I only started this back in october, so I am not a pro by any means, I will be very interested to see how the wood ages.
Thanks for checking this out. All feedback is welcome.


-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

9 comments so far

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4441 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 11:12 PM

Anyone know how I change the links to actual pictures?

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View HerbC's profile


1821 posts in 4102 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 11:36 PM


Hmmm…. photobucket says the photos have been moved or deleted.

Look at this for good info on how to embed photos in forum and blog entries…

Look forward to seeing thew photos.


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1628 posts in 4808 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 11:37 PM

Click on the img button, then click “from the web”

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4438 days

#4 posted 01-06-2011 12:08 AM

You can post images from photobucket easily with an exclamation point before and after path of image

!image url!

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4438 days

#5 posted 01-06-2011 12:10 AM

Herb, images weren’t removed but the url has an extra [/IMG] attached to the url instead of being code. Remove that from url and you can see them.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4441 days

#6 posted 01-06-2011 02:07 AM

Okay, I used the ! method and it works, Thanks guys, this is much better now!

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View bigike's profile


4058 posts in 4531 days

#7 posted 01-06-2011 02:13 AM

oh it’s a lamp shade cool.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4358 days

#8 posted 01-06-2011 02:37 AM

thank´s for sharing it :-)


View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 4579 days

#9 posted 01-06-2011 04:21 PM

This is awesome – thank you! I’ll give it a try sometime.

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