Artillary Shell Lamps

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Project by Ken Waller posted 08-26-2010 04:59 PM 5673 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First there was the .30-06 bullet pen. Then the .50-cal pen. This almost became the world’s largest bullet pen. One of my .50-cal pen customers asked me to take the process one step farther and creat lamps from 2 artillary shell casings he had and to have them engraved with the crests of 2 regiments of which he had been a member. The casings stand 24” high, are 5 1/2” in dia at the base and the opening is 3 1/2” in dia. I managed to mount the casing on my lathe using my chuck in the expansion mode and the tail centre stuck in the indent made from the firing pin. The casing was sanded to 2000 grit then buffed with tripoli and white diamond. Three coats of lacquer were applied to stop the brass from tarnishing. A 3/8” hole was drilled on the side close to the bottom for the cord. The ‘projectile’ portion was turned from a baseball-bat blank which had to be built up using 1/2”-thick slices of maple on each of the 4 sides. The neck was turned to be a jam fit into the casing. It was drilled lengthwise for the cord and a lamp fitting was attached. The crests were applied (by a 3rd party) using a sand blaster and photo-sensitive masking material. I am still amazed with the detail he was able to produce. The projectile was finished with 3 coats of tung oil and buffed. I love the end result and now I’m searching for more artillary shells:-)

-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

12 comments so far

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 4335 days

#1 posted 08-26-2010 05:04 PM

Cool idea. My Len has artillery shell candle holders his dad made in WWII. He was in the navy and the guys would turn the shells and create candle holders. They are pretty cool. Don’t know where you might find some artillery shells- maybe try Iraq or Afghanistan? :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View sedcokid's profile


2738 posts in 5095 days

#2 posted 08-26-2010 05:09 PM

Looks real nice, the detail of the sand blasting is great! Thanks for sharing.

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View Pdub's profile


926 posts in 4677 days

#3 posted 08-26-2010 08:14 PM

Those TURNED out great. LOL Slight pun intended. Seriously though, they are really nice. I’m sure he will display them proudly.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5897 days

#4 posted 08-26-2010 09:29 PM

Ken a beautiful job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View sawblade1's profile


754 posts in 4524 days

#5 posted 08-26-2010 09:37 PM

Great work :)

-- Proverbs Ch:3 vs 5,6,7 Trust in the lord with all thine heart and lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways aknowledge him and he shall direct your path [email protected]

View wrtnaz's profile


39 posts in 4440 days

#6 posted 08-26-2010 11:57 PM

Very Nice. I have a couple of 30 mil A-10 shells I brought back from the desert. I may have to try to do something like this with them.

-- wrtnaz

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4788 days

#7 posted 08-27-2010 01:57 AM

Using the lathe to clean up the brass is a great idea. I have an empty along with an unfired projectile (w/o explosive) from a 57mm antitank cannon round that needs to be cleaned up. The projectile also needs a new tip, which can be made on the lathe.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View BigTiny's profile


1721 posts in 4385 days

#8 posted 08-27-2010 02:56 AM

You are obviously a high caliber woodworker! LOL
I’m going to check with the reserve artillery regiment here and see if I can purchase a few spent casings.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4458 days

#9 posted 08-27-2010 02:46 PM

Man, I got a bang out of this project!

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4788 days

#10 posted 09-28-2010 09:57 PM

Ken, were you ever able to get all of the fine scratches out of the brass? I took mine down to 9 micron grit, and there was almost no difference between that and, say, 600. I think it may because all the scratches are circumferential (and parallel), rather than random.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4363 days

#11 posted 09-28-2010 10:11 PM

That is so unusual and very creative. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ken Waller's profile

Ken Waller

91 posts in 4667 days

#12 posted 09-28-2010 10:29 PM

For JJohnston: All the fine scratches were effectively eliminated with sanding to 2K and buffing and with the lacquer finish. Dents and any deeper scratches became ‘character lines’ :-)


-- Ken in Sharbot Lake, Ontario

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