Mission easy chair floor lamp

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Project by splintergroup posted 02-13-2015 05:28 PM 15662 views 28 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was built on kind of a lark.

We had an el-cheapo pole lamp that my wife kept bugging me to somehow dress it up. My intent was to basically use the parts and make a cyborg version with wood. I then got to looking at some pictures of Mission style floor lamps and some of the great work shown on this site…. well, you know how it happens.

The wood is Red Oak with Bartley’s Jet Mahogany gel stain.

I rarely design something to spec. I usually get an image in my head and then see what dimensions of stock I have around the shop that can be used. I knew I needed something about 6’ tall with an overhang for a recliner.
I also like working with LED lighting and have made a fair number of custom glass art frames to highlight my wife’s fused glass projects. They are also wonderful in that you are not limited to standard lightbulb shapes and sizes when designing.

Not knowing where it would end up being used, I allowed for the shade to adjust from a bit over 3 feet up to 5 feet.

So it began, an adjustable overhang floor lamp that uses LEDs. The LEDs are some left over Bridgelux units I had on hand. This lamp style could have used a standard bulb, but where is the fun in that?. The LEDs are mounted to an old computer CPU heat sink to keep things cool without the need for a fan:

This was low-profile enough to fit at the top of a typical Mission style shade. Making the shade was the hardest part. After three attempts I finally got the dimensions and angles close enough so I wouldn’t hate myself every time I saw it (cutting with compound angles is not fun). Calculating the angles and such is easy enough, especially if you use some of the available calculators on-line. The problems begin when you need to set a table saw to 27.23 degrees. You can get close, but any errors in the angle and/or the length of the parts will be compounded (and problems begin).

I feel the shade may be a tad oversize for the general scale of the lamp (there is always next time to fine tune the dimensions).
The shade material is mica sheet. It has a nice glow when the light is turned on. It could use more details to break up the surface but at this point I was just glad enough to have something that wouldn’t fall apart.

In my mind, Mission style stuff begs for copper. The wires are run through 3/4” copper pipe that I experimented with trying to patina. There is also another pipe used as a counter balance, without which the lamp would be very tippy.

The pipe carrying the wires was fumed with ammonia then heated with a propane torch. This turned the copper a very deep blue, but it lacked the ‘crustiness’ I wanted. I then used some salt/vinegar to get the crusty green. It needed more work but I thought it was good ‘nuff and left it at that. I wasn’t working with any master plan, I just tried something and then tried something else. The counterweight was done in reverse, first the salt/vinegar then a misting with ammonia. Way too ugly. I’ll eventually strip it down and re do it so it matches the lamp post pipe.

The pivoting system was easy enough, 1/2” dowels are used for the pivots and some #6 copper wire used as pins to keep it all together. The wires are enclosed in a slot cut into the lower arm. The slot was then capped with a matching piece from the same board, essentially making a hidden hole through the arms center.

Overall I think this may be a project worth trying again. Aside from making the shade, the rest was actually quite simple and used minimal materials.

I wish I had better pictures, there literally was no place around the house to take pictures without background clutter.

14 comments so far

View ChrisK's profile


2074 posts in 4532 days

#1 posted 02-13-2015 07:02 PM

Very nice work. Looks great.

-- Chris K

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 3100 days

#2 posted 02-13-2015 07:17 PM

I like it,in future my favorite…thanks

-- bambi

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4639 days

#3 posted 02-13-2015 07:44 PM

I like it, great job on this. lovr the style… A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View map's profile


98 posts in 4964 days

#4 posted 02-13-2015 10:11 PM

No question about it, you done good! I now know what my next project (after the other two for SWMBO) is going to be.

-- measure once, cut once, swear, start over

View splintergroup's profile


6896 posts in 2673 days

#5 posted 02-13-2015 10:18 PM

Thanks Guys!

This is one of those projects that go a lot easier if the finish is applied before assembly…..

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 3321 days

#6 posted 02-13-2015 10:37 PM

Classy! Love the look, and from the last picture it looks like it’ll fit right in with the rest of the living room.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Marty 529's profile

Marty 529

344 posts in 3170 days

#7 posted 02-13-2015 10:38 PM

Very nice. Love the look. Love the design. This reminds me of the Jib I built for our film company. Never thought about using the design for a lamp. Now I will have to make one. The Jib not only moves up and down like your lamp, but rotates around the base. I used tapered roller bearings because of the weight. This could be incorporated into your lamp design. Great job. I’m inspired to try this :)

-- Marty, Ohio

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4598 days

#8 posted 02-14-2015 01:23 AM

Well, despite the challenges you faced, this lamp came out great! And I like the use of the modern LED lights with the 1900’s Mission lamp—the best of both worlds!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View CharlieK's profile


605 posts in 5244 days

#9 posted 02-14-2015 01:39 AM

That is a very nice looking lamp.

Did you use household ammonia for fuming or were you able to source something stronger?

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View Picklehead's profile


1055 posts in 3380 days

#10 posted 02-14-2015 12:08 PM

Fine work. Looks like you’re building quite the collection of unique furniture.

(But for some reason, now I’m craving eggs)

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

View Luddite's profile


254 posts in 2689 days

#11 posted 02-14-2015 01:20 PM

Wow! Really nice work and yes eggs sound good also.

-- T Loftus -- Just on the edge of common sense

View splintergroup's profile


6896 posts in 2673 days

#12 posted 02-14-2015 02:20 PM

Yes, quail eggs!

The copper pipe was fumed with ‘janitorial strength’ ammonia sourced from the local Ace hardware store. No funky lemony scent.
I suspended the pipe in a section of 4” PVC drain pipe with caps to contain the fumes. I did a small test that came out great, but after 4 days the pipe just got dark, no texture. I hit it with a propane torch to dry it out and thats when it turned a nice deep dark blue. I changed the method for the second counter weight pipe because I didn’t want to wait another four days (Hmmmm. I also like 5-minute epoxy versus the 60-minute stuff, maybe I’m a bit impatient?).

Running the LEDs at nominal power levels (12 watts each) made my wife shriek when I switched it on so I backed off to 3/4 power to avoid giving her sunburn.

View backcountryfire's profile


14 posts in 2649 days

#13 posted 02-14-2015 05:54 PM

Very nice work!

-- --Michael, Kansas City

View mountainaxe's profile


166 posts in 3956 days

#14 posted 02-16-2015 11:37 PM

A simply wonderful project…useful and spirited.

-- Jeff, "The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me."

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