A Special Lamp for a Special Lady #1: Getting Started

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Blog entry by William posted 10-02-2012 12:23 AM 1917 reads 0 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A Special Lamp for a Special Lady series Part 2: Taken To School »

Some of you who read a lot of my ramblings know that I mostly work with cottonwood, pecan, oak, and mahogany (sapelle actually). The reason for that is that it’s what I have available. So I do what most woodworkers do. I work with what I have. It do not have the funds to seek out more exotic woods.
Well, over the course of the last year or so, I have recieved several other species of woods from friends, mostly fellow Lumberjocks. I have been hoarding this wood because, truthfully, I’ve been a little nervous about using any of it and messing up.

Last week, I recieved a package from a fellow Lumberjock containing a piece of birdseye maple and lacewood. I unpacked what you see in this photo and just drooled over it for the longest time. It got me to thinking though that I need to use some of this wood I’ve been given. These guys didn’t give me this wood just to look at. They gave it to use. So I decided that over the next few projects, I want to put these woods to use.
To start with, I decided to use the lacewood and maple, since it’s sitting on my work bench anyway. Now, my specialty is scroll work. However, the beautiful grains of these woods don’t lend themselves well to scrolling. It’d be a crime, in my opinion, to remove holes from the grain such as in most scroll work. It would take away the patterns in the grain that make it beautiful to start with. So I started thinking on what else I could do with it. Of course, I plan on using it to create something for a special lady, my wife.
Before I could come up with anything, my wife told me what she really wanted was a wooden lamp. I could work with that idea. So I started planning on that.

To start with, I planned a simple lamp that highlighted the beautiful woods I’m using in it above anything else. So I was thinking on a simple square based lamp. The more I thought about it though, I just don’t do simple. It just isn’t my style. So what else could I do? The answer is, I don’t know. I’m sort of making it up as I go along. Procrastination time was over though. I had to get over my hesitation about cutting this wood and get my butt in gear.
I decided the body of the lamp would have six sides instead of four. I laid in bed last night thinking about how I wanted to do this. I started doing the math in my head and came up with a plan that involved posts at all six intersect points with fifteen degree angles on each side.
Something in the back of my head told me to use scrap to mock this up first. I’m glad I did.

I cut all the pieces in scrap pine and started laying it out. I hadn’t even gotten it completely laid out before I knew I was wrong. I have made this mistake before.
Since I usually work with 2D portraits and such in my scrolling, I have a bad habit of dividing things on a 180 degree scale. This being a 3D object though, I needed to think about it as an entire 360 degree object.
So, some quick math in my head told me that I needed to increase the angles in each side of each post to thirty degrees, making sixty degree total at each intersection.

After making sure this would lay out like I planned, I made my posts out of shapelle. I thought about using one of the woods some other guys have given me. Those will have to wait though. I wanted to keep the lamp body dark to contrast the lighter colored shade I plan on making later.

Now came the task that had my nerves in overdrive.
I don’t get to work with woods this beautiful. To me, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I knew I had to resaw the lacewood next, and I only had one shot at it. If I screwed this up, I would have to cry. I’d have blown my chances at pulling this project off successfully and, in my mind, let down the kind fella who gave me this wood.

I have to admit something.
Resawing this fine wood on a saw that I built my self was one of the most nerveracking experiences I’ve had in a long time.

However, success at doing it without a hiccup was the most rewarding things I’ve done in an even longer time.


And here is the main body of the lamp mocked up. Nothing is glued yet. It was getting late and the soreness was setting up in my back. Besides, at this point I just wanted to sit back, enjoy a cup of java, and think on my next point of attack.

Stay tuned.
I will keep ya’ll posted on the progress of this project. I have big plans in my head for it.
Resawing this lacewood was an anxious and rewarding experience for me. Wait until I get ready to resaw the maple to veneer thickness later in this project. I’m not sure my heart can stand it.
I must point out that I am not worried about my saw. I have put it through it’s paced plenty since building it earlier this year. This is the first time though that I’ve used it on wood that, if I mess up, I can’t walk to the back room and grab more wood to start over on. That is the part that causes me anxiety. I almost feel I am not worthy to be messing with wood this beautiful. I only hope I do good enough job on this to bring a smile to the face of my lovely wife, and the man who gave me the wood.


23 comments so far

View Bagtown's profile


1745 posts in 5189 days

#1 posted 10-02-2012 12:42 AM

Thats gonna be beautiful with the light shining through it.
As always, your work is amazing William.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 4894 days

#2 posted 10-02-2012 12:50 AM

William, that looks really good, can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#3 posted 10-02-2012 12:56 AM

Thank you both.

Bags. The light won’t be shining through this. I’m planning on making the shade out of birdseye maple. That’s what the light will be shining through.
To be honest, I am not 100% certain how I’m going to finish the lamp body, which is what I’m making here. I have about five different ideas. I may use one of them, a combination of them, or I may just come up with something else tonight while liying in bed.


View JL7's profile


8793 posts in 4424 days

#4 posted 10-02-2012 01:02 AM

Very cool design William – and your band saw is quite impressive! Certainly looking forward to seeing the wooden lamp shade! Beautiful work.

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 4134 days

#5 posted 10-02-2012 01:06 AM

That is going to be one beutiful lamp. Between your craftsmanship & those woods, there ain’t no way it could turn out any differently.

I hear ya about opps’ing with such nice woods. I’m in the same frame of mind.

I’ll be following along…......

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#6 posted 10-02-2012 01:07 AM

Thank you Jeff.
I’ve cut veneer on that saw several times out of cottonwood, pecan and oak. All were thin enough to see light through. So I don’t see any issues with the maple. It still worries me though for some reason.


View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#7 posted 10-02-2012 01:08 AM

Thanks DIY.
I hope things are getting better on the health front and I can start making more progress on a regular basis than I have as of late.


View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4299 days

#8 posted 10-02-2012 01:20 AM

Get me a bottle I will wear it!!!
Nice job William, where is the lamp?
OK enough with the bad jokes. I am happy you had a great time worrying over the sawing of you wood. And if you had messed it up you would have shifted to plan B as we all do.
Your project is looking very nice.
I am interested in seeing the outcome.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#9 posted 10-02-2012 01:31 AM

Thank you Dave.
There’s always a plan B.
Plan B can be a pain though when you haven’t even thought plan A all the way through yet.


View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4299 days

#10 posted 10-02-2012 01:31 AM

Plan A.5

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#11 posted 10-02-2012 01:37 AM

I’ll have to remember that one.
I messed up a project once and my wife came over and seen me redoing everything and asked if I was working on plan B.
I told her that I was now on planC or D.
She asked what that meant.
Plan C: Haven’t got a clue what I’m doing now.
Plan D: Holy crap we’re in trouble.


View boxcarmarty's profile


17506 posts in 3819 days

#12 posted 10-02-2012 01:42 AM

Sweet….. Gonna look good William. Can’t wait to see it finished.

And I’ll have what Dave’s having…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View sras's profile


6697 posts in 4588 days

#13 posted 10-02-2012 01:46 AM

That lamp is going to look great. You’re a pretty good story teller too! Good call on putting that fine wood to work.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4149 days

#14 posted 10-02-2012 01:48 AM

That is some awesome wood! You showed a lot of guts resawing that lacewood with ANY saw much less one you made! You are my newest hero!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4301 days

#15 posted 10-02-2012 01:51 AM

Thank you all.
gfadvm, my shop made saw, all in all, has actually been more reliable and accurate than the factory built Craftsman saw I have.


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