Let there be lamp

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Project by oldnovice posted 03-30-2018 03:44 AM 1065 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Way back in MCMLXXII (1972) I got my first router, a Craftsman ½ hp, and wanted to build something that would challenge my yet untested routing skills so I decided to make the table lamp. The one we had wasn’t that good looking and hard to dust.

I made some concept sketches for approval by the “boss” and headed off to the one and only lumber yard within 25 miles of home. The selection of woods at this yard was very limited but there was one piece of birch suitable and long enough for my project.

I cut the piece of birch into the four sides for the lamp, mitered the long sides of each piece, built a box to hold one side, cut a template with my jigsaw, loaded a lamp side in the box, screwed down the template, cut out the opening, and repeated this for all the sides!

Because this was my first router project I had no idea as to an appropriate depth of cut and I had yet to learn about carbide bits, so I took very shallow cuts making this very time consuming. Then I switched to a ¾” roundover bit to radius the cutout edges.

I made this lamp with a removable insert that could be changed to mix/match the current decor. The photo shown is the original yellow bottle bottom plastic which, has been changed on several occasions, or left out as I finished the interior too.

I did not like, and still don’t, the commonly available brass colored lamp hardware so I decided to design my own shade harp and cover plate out of aluminum which, in my opinion, looks very good with the walnut stained birch sides.

The lamp is on an end table in our living room without an insert, and has had several different shades, as they do not seem to survive moving from place to place.

The two photos were scanned in because when I made this lamp digital photography had not been invented!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

10 comments so far

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

821 posts in 4600 days

#1 posted 03-30-2018 04:08 AM

Very nice looking and definitely a classic!

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Woodknack's profile (online now)


13383 posts in 3147 days

#2 posted 03-30-2018 04:27 AM

Definitely like your lamp hardware better and the lamp is really cool.

-- Rick M,

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

669 posts in 2969 days

#3 posted 03-30-2018 06:06 AM

That was a bold venture for the first use of a router. Now it is an attractive heirloom of the era.

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

View Dutchy's profile


3711 posts in 2935 days

#4 posted 03-30-2018 06:44 AM

In 1972 a router (TOOL, also that other digital one was invented either) was pure luxury and the lamp fits perfectly in that world.


View Jerry's profile


3388 posts in 2415 days

#5 posted 03-30-2018 07:57 AM

This has got Mid Century Modern written all over it. You created a classic!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View anthm27's profile


1721 posts in 1877 days

#6 posted 03-30-2018 09:35 AM

Lovely job, great .
let there be Lamp, love it

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5357 posts in 1349 days

#7 posted 03-30-2018 10:49 AM

It would be nice to see a picture of it today, too. It’s a sharp-looking lamp, and I like your hardware.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3932 days

#8 posted 03-30-2018 03:07 PM

Like the hardware, and the lamp, although dated, looks sharp. The aluminum harp is an item that fits into my take on lamp hardware.

I have made various lamps and lighting gizmos over the years. My wife’s reading lamp attached to our bed is the best and most complex of the lot. There is minimal wood working in that lamp, but it is in winner, in terms of function.

Still below freezing at night, but the snow is yielding to the bright sun and lengthening days…

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3634 days

#9 posted 03-30-2018 09:50 PM

This is a very nice lamp and you did a fine job on it. 1972 is a long time ago. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Andrek's profile


544 posts in 2677 days

#10 posted 03-31-2018 11:46 AM

Very nice work, but you are surely sending a lot of us wayyyy back in the past. me included.

-- andrek

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