Finally, The Floor Lamp Lives!

  • Advertise with us
Project by splintergroup posted 09-14-2021 08:56 PM 722 views 4 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

How I spent my summer.

A fellow had bought a set of my previous lamps and asked if I could make a floor lamp on the same theme.
Normally I hate commissions because it locks me into a project when I’d rather be building the latest project that pique my interests.

I’m just a sucker I guess 8^)

I won’t take any down payments which allows me to not keep any promises (commitment issues?), but I knew I would be doing this.

There were a few issues however.

I didn’t have the required walnut. I found a source for some narrow (4”) walnut with a fair amount of sap wood and no real nice figure, but that was all I could get at a not so reasonable price. This changed the design from keeping 100% with the original table lamps and allowed me to use the basic shape as a platform.

I wanted to use copper, with a patina.

The shade

I’ve made many of these shades, but since the lamp was much bigger than the usual table lamps, I scaled it up 15% (glad I had a CAD drawing 8^).
The usual amber mica for the panels.
Normally I can get two shades (8 panels) from a single standard sheet of the mica with some left over. I had guessed that with the larger size I could still get that, but not have any of the extra cutoffs. Big screw up there! I could only get enough for a single shade + one additional panel. The rest was too small to use anywhere, oh well!

The post

Made with four walnut 1”x1” struts, arranged in a truncated pyramid. Knowing these would probably bow and in general be wiggly, I installed “blocks” at the usual top & bottoms, but also put one in the upper center.

These blocks are Honduran rosewood, capped with walnut and the corners were rabbeted to partially inlay the struts. Based on a very early LJ project with a swing arm floor lamp, I added some corner beading strips also rabbeted into the struts.

Jigging up the cuts for all these subtle angles (1.8 degrees) was a RPITA and ate a lot of time, but the results came out well.

To hide the wiring I decided to use four sections of 3/8” copper tube on the bottom and a single link of 3/4” running to the top.
The copper was given a blue-green patina with ammonia. I really like how the color works with the darker walnut.

The base.

Three mitered frames stacked and the typical pad feet

The top

Corbels T&G’d into the upper block, a two lamp cluster with “vintage” style LED bulbs.

This was also a real pain to photograph, I wish I had a room dedicated for photos and tons of light (sigh)

Further lengthening the time involved I also had a huge list of other “housely” items to attend to, including having a large section of the metal roofing stripped from my shop after a mini monsoon season dust devil decided to touch down and tear things up.

I was glad to finally finish this as I went a bit over the top in construction.
The good thing with not getting any down payment is I can let the client take it or leave it if they don’t like it (and make something more of their liking based on this lamps pluses and minuses)


About 5’+ total height, base at the bottom is about 18” on a side (approximately the same as the shade) and weighs a lot so it isn’t too tippy.

A tad under 14bf. of walnut was butchered in the making of this project.

Finish is Danish oil (natural) and pre-cat (Mohawk) satin lacquer.

38 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8288 posts in 1798 days

#1 posted 09-14-2021 09:06 PM

Dang, Splint! That’s a pretty one, even if it was a pain in the butt to make. Well done, buddy!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View gdaveg's profile (online now)


321 posts in 418 days

#2 posted 09-14-2021 09:41 PM

Splinter G,

Nice floor lamp, great execution.

Been thinking of making a floor lamp, been looking at all on this site and others.

-- Dave, Vancouver, WA & Tucson, AZ

View Andre's profile


4682 posts in 3022 days

#3 posted 09-14-2021 09:43 PM

Love it, that copper puts over the top!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#4 posted 09-14-2021 09:44 PM

Dave, Dave, thanks a bunch friends!

I spent hours searching Google images and other sources for ideas, but didn’t find anything that really caught my attention.

If the client takes it home, I’d imagine their wife will hate the idea of dusting the thing 8^)

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#5 posted 09-14-2021 09:47 PM

Thanks Andre!

I bought a few pallets of solar water heater panels at auction which yielded a bunch of copper tubes. Gotta do something with all that metal!

View FestusHaagen's profile


164 posts in 436 days

#6 posted 09-14-2021 10:06 PM

I love the look of the lamps you have turned out. I had to go back to see some of the table lamp projects you made. The copper tubes you used turned out very striking with the Ammonia patina. I have a bunch of 3/4 tubes that have been waiting on the right project. I will have to try that. Is there anything special I need to do to get that patina?

-- Ed Haagen, Moscow, Idaho

View recycle1943's profile


5814 posts in 2838 days

#7 posted 09-14-2021 10:08 PM

That is one beautiful lamp – REALLY like the patina on the copper.

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4807 posts in 4325 days

#8 posted 09-14-2021 10:13 PM

Man, that is beautiful! I’d like to build something like this, but there is no place to put it. I’ve already decided that I’ll start giving my wood carvings away to my family. There is no place to put anything.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View pottz's profile


20152 posts in 2201 days

#9 posted 09-14-2021 10:28 PM

wow oh wow splint,that is one gorgeous lamp.i dont know how much you charged for that beautiful creation but whatever it was was too cheap.the combination of woods,copper and mica shade just blend together seamlessly.fantastic work my friend.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#10 posted 09-14-2021 10:43 PM

Ed, thanks!

The patina is fairly easy,
For these, I made a container out of 4” PVC drain pipe and glued a cap on one end. The tubes were suspended in the PVC by making several holders that fit close to the walls of the PVC from some (square) scrap pine. I used a Forstner bit the same diameter as the copper pipe to drill shallow holes in the pine, placed one of these pine blocks onto each end of the pipe, then secured them to the pipe by running a piece of wire through each end, tightening it up then tying it off.
This makes a cradle that keeps the pipe from touching anything while in the PVC. Of course a short section of each end that is stuffed into the pine doesn’t get patina, but that was going into a similar hole in the lamp parts.
I did all tubes at the same time so the colors and density would match.

For the patina, with the PVC standing upright (glued cap down) I poured about a cup of ammonia into the bottom and tossed in a 4” section of small PVC tube to keep the pine end cap from contacting the ammonia pool.
I then spritz the pipes with water and sprinkle a light coating of table salt to evenly cover the copper (the water lets the salt stick).
I then slide the assembly into the PVC and cap the end to keep the fumes in.

Doing all this allows the copper to be exposed to the fumes, but never contact the actual liquid ammonia.

After a few hours, I pull off the top cap and have a peek. If the parts look good, I’ll slide out the assembly (carefully since the patina is very soft) and let it hang to dry.

A rinse with water will wash off the salt and a gentle wiping with a wet towel will remove any cling-ons (and also begin removing the blue patina if rubbed too hard).

After drying again (in the sun to get it hot), I let it cool then seal it all in with rattle can shellac.

More salt makes for a finer grained pattern.
You can also place the pipe in a tub horizontally on a bed of crumpled up paper towels or rags that have been salt sprinkled, then cover the top with the same and seal the tub.

It’s all experimentation and you can wipe off the patina when fresh to try again if it isn’t what you want.

The ammonia makes the copper turn blue-green an the salt activates it all. Where the salt makes contact with the copper it will wash off leaving exposed bare copper.

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#11 posted 09-14-2021 10:44 PM

Dick, I love to experiment with it, the colors are excellent. Thanks!

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#12 posted 09-14-2021 10:46 PM

Thanks Steven, I’m in the same boat. If I couldn’t sell the stuff or gift it, I wouldn’t have a reason to make anything more, the house is full!

View splintergroup's profile


5749 posts in 2439 days

#13 posted 09-14-2021 10:48 PM

Thanks Pottzy 8^)

I try to recover materials costs (wood, sandpaper, tool wear, finishes) but the labor ends up being free most of the time. I guess if I could sell it for thousands, I might recoup some profit 8^P

View NoWhiskeyWoodworking's profile


75 posts in 15 days

#14 posted 09-14-2021 11:17 PM

Holy Mary Mother of Wood… that’s an incredible lamp!

-- Van "If you're looking for perfection, don't look here."

View mtnwild's profile


4364 posts in 4744 days

#15 posted 09-14-2021 11:22 PM

What Pottz said and more….

Great, beautiful, awesome…Love the getting around obsticals to see your vision…well done

Only problem, the client will love it and you will have to pass it along…I mean it was just born…

Well, you do have more pipe, and you’ve shown that obsticals can be overcome…cool man…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

showing 1 through 15 of 38 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics