Making lamps from musical instruments

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Project by JoeinGa posted 08-26-2016 12:18 AM 4316 views 2 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Years ago (too many to mention) I played the Saxophone. I started on the Alto, then switched to Baritone and for awhile I even had a straight Soprano. All of them are long gone now, but something I have wanted to do for years was to make a table lamp from one. So a couple weeks ago I stumbled across one on the internet and since it had damage that made it not worth repairing, I bought it.

BUT (and you knew there was a “but” coming ) In making the Sax lamp I didn’t use any wood, so I didn’t want to take any chance of incurring the wrath of the LJs Internet Police by posting it.

Well. last week I was surfing the ‘Net and spotted an old metal clarinet. It “kinda-sorta” resembles a Soprano Sax so I scooped it up and this time I DID use some wood in transforming it into a lamp. So now I get to show you BOTH of them :)

The Sax was pretty simple. I de-constructed one of our end-table lamps and used the pieces from that to transform the Sax into a useable lamp. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the Sax and ran the tube straight up thru the Sax and mounted the lamp socket (and shade) up top where they belong. Here’s the Sax lamp…


The clarinet is an “oldie goldie” which was manufactured in about 1915 or 1916 (according to the serial number).

Because the bell end is rather small I had to make a base so it will sit on the table and not be tipped too easily. I started with a 12” square of a 2-layer glued up piece of pine and cut it down on the lathe to about 9”.


Tapered the sides to resemble the curve of the bell. I then turned a cone from a piece of scrap something I found in the scrap pile so it would fit snug inside the bell. Splashed it with some dark MinWax stain and about 5 coats of rattle-can lacquer. .

Using a router I cut a channel for the cord to lay in, and stuck on a couple felt pads for feet.


I also had to come up with a way to attach the 3-way socket and shade harp to the top so I turned a small “adapter” from a hunk of mahogany to fit snug in the top of the clarinet and JB welded it to the cut-off center tube from the old lamp. It’s a good tight fit, but I put a small set screw thru all it just for better holding power. I couldn’t get a clamp on it so I stacked a bunch of huge 1” hex nuts on it till the JB Weld set up.


And here’s a few pix of the finished lamp.



To most people that old clarinet looks a lot like a Soprano Sax, but I can tell the difference, so I’m likely to give this to one of my daughters, soon as I can find another Sax so I can have a matched set for either end of the couch.

Yeah, I know there’s not really very much WOOD involved in this project, but I am kinda proud at how well they turned out …. so I took a chance and posted them anyway.

As usual, comments, critiques welcomed ! Thanks for checking out my stuff ! :)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

22 comments so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3461 days

#1 posted 08-26-2016 12:20 AM

Oh, that big squarish white blotch on the end table is from when a newspaper got wet and went unnoticed for a few days. I really should re-finish that end table :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View ZAGREB's profile


1276 posts in 3103 days

#2 posted 08-26-2016 01:50 AM

great lamp joe,very unique

-- bambi

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


9454 posts in 2274 days

#3 posted 08-26-2016 01:58 AM

You ain’t “whistling” Dixie… toot-toot!

Nice job.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 3083 days

#4 posted 08-26-2016 02:17 AM

Do the instruments play themselves ???

If not, start over and let us know when you’re REALLY done.

Maybe something like this …


Love your lamps !!!

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


10889 posts in 3863 days

#5 posted 08-26-2016 02:54 AM

Nice, now I know where my clarinet is….LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View doubleDD's profile


11279 posts in 3497 days

#6 posted 08-26-2016 03:24 AM

Tuning in the light. Now I’ve seen everything. You should get it to play some background music. Looks very relaxing.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View oldnovice's profile


7791 posts in 4821 days

#7 posted 08-26-2016 04:47 AM

That’s a very “saxy” lamp, definiteky unique!
The clarinet looks elegant and regal, almost royal!

Thanks for a view of another perspective on lamps and woodworking.

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2970 posts in 2517 days

#8 posted 08-26-2016 09:24 AM

Too saxy by half, Joe.
By the bye, doppelganger mine: I, too, played the alto for years. She’s in the case til I can afford a mouth full of implants and bone grafting. She’s nickle-plated, and far to valuable to make a lamp of. You know, clarinets are made of wood. Rosewood. I’m pretty sure what you have there is an archaic soprano saxomophone.

-- Mark

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 3986 days

#9 posted 08-26-2016 12:54 PM

I love them Joe ! good thinking my friend ! Keepsakes !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View bushmaster's profile


4180 posts in 3736 days

#10 posted 08-26-2016 01:59 PM

Great idea to light up a musical instrument that the light has gone out of. Now it would be neat if you could wire a swicth into one of the keys to turn it on and off. also a short piece of music. You wife will be devoted to keep it dust free and shinny since you did such a great job.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View BusterB's profile


2365 posts in 3462 days

#11 posted 08-26-2016 02:24 PM

That’s next level upcycling Joe….well done sir….well done!!!

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View Desert_Woodworker's profile


9785 posts in 2668 days

#12 posted 08-26-2016 02:27 PM

Helpful info on building a lamp-

-- Desert_Woodworker

View splintergroup's profile


6922 posts in 2676 days

#13 posted 08-26-2016 02:35 PM

Awesomeness! You really pulled out all the stops, the tone of the wood makes these reeding lamps really keyed up.

View WimP's profile


16 posts in 2100 days

#14 posted 08-26-2016 02:59 PM

I’m a huge fan of what you did. I like the writeup and I plan on modifying this and making one for my niece out of her student sax when she’s ready for a better instrument soon!

Very cool man.

-- An undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions ~Robert A. Humphrey

View JPJ's profile


821 posts in 4073 days

#15 posted 08-27-2016 01:34 AM

Nice job!

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