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Project by Stephen Mines posted 03-24-2011 06:48 PM 5474 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When the request for a quote came in on this my answer was:

I’m pushing for more work but this isn’t something that I can fit easily into the shop routine w/the help I have now, so am going to reluctantly pass. It’s a fun thing that I would like to personally work on but I have to run the lathes. Will quote a price (you should use me for this ONLY as a LAST RESORT!) of $46. ea in Poplar if there is at least 6-8 weeks of lead time. Stephen”

Sometimes when it seems like a job might be a hassle (for whatever reason) a high quote will send it somewhere else. Not so this time. The Purchase Order (with 50% deposit) came in for 72 pieces, at $46 each = $3,312.00.

Son Steve was working with me at the time, and I swear (to the best of my recollection we had a buncha fun with this job). We solved the attendant problems together and worked on it together, and shared the profits. He came up with an idea for making the jig for making the ‘trellis’ work in a sheet that would yield 8 parts, enough for two lamps (and he took on the non-fun task of putting the grids together). The corners of the trellis section were dadoed on the inside corners (3/16th” dado) to accept the grid section. The ‘posts’ on the corners were 1/2” X 1/2” with compound miters at each end and were attached to the top and bottom sections by two 1/8” dowels at each end. The tricky glue up was aided by the customer furnishing the metal lamp giblets (used the hollow lamp pipe as a clamp). The rest of the job was standard procedure…kinda repetitious.

Also standard procedure in my shop for a job like this is to add a 5% additional product to the total ordered. That came in handy when one of the 72 ordered was returned…(AFTER it went through customer’s finish department!) it is shown in the next to last picture (#5)...Can you spot the mistake??? If it weren’t for that mistake I wouldn’t have been able to photograph the lamp today! God looks after fools and woodworkers…

For those here aspiring to create lamps commercially, the last photo (#6) shows a view of the bottom of the lamp…the weight hole and weight plainly visible. I’m not terribly familiar with UL and/other regs relating to lamps, but a lamp weight is almost always added to the base… obviously for tip-over prevention…may or may not be a requirement for hospitality sales. Incidentally, lamp parts found at the big box stores are not all there is to it, and what is available certainly are not priced for resale. Google LAMP PARTS, LIGHTING FIXTURE PARTS for a wholesale source, or vist a lamp maker to buy a few parts.

-- Stephen Mines ([email protected])

13 comments so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11708 posts in 3883 days

#1 posted 03-24-2011 06:53 PM

You refer to pictures, but all that I see are the plans.
Would love to see the product.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View D1st's profile


291 posts in 3494 days

#2 posted 03-24-2011 07:39 PM

I see them and its a nice product and a good sell. As far as the blemish? Cant see it.


View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

226 posts in 3145 days

#3 posted 03-24-2011 07:41 PM

The mistake will be in the next to last photo…#5…thanks for looking!

-- Stephen Mines ([email protected])

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3657 days

#4 posted 03-24-2011 07:49 PM

Nice lamp. Did you pin it also, or just glue?

As far as a blemish – I can’t tell if the white area on the top section (left side) is glare or a missed spot.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View Skylark53's profile


2702 posts in 3515 days

#5 posted 03-24-2011 07:54 PM

Congratulations. At times I think I have to make a mistake and underbid a job to get the contract, but at times it works our as this one did for you. Very nice work and a good story to go with it. Thanks for sharing.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View tswoodwizard's profile


104 posts in 3145 days

#6 posted 03-24-2011 09:19 PM

Stephen; You obviously are talking about the lack of one raised panel profile, but what I don’t get is how you could knock these out for a piddly $46 bucks apeace. My guess is that she got a lot higher quotes from other less efficiant shops and knew a good deal when she saw it.

-- Tim B. Sweely Elizabeth, Illinois, [email protected] -------- My potential is limited only by my emagination.

View SMSTEVE's profile


3 posts in 3075 days

#7 posted 03-24-2011 09:20 PM

Hey Dad!

Did we really send that lamp out like that? Forgetting to use the router on that one side? Damn, that’s just plain embarrassing. I now take full responsibility for that error, but sorry, no refunds or exchanges after 90 days! Seeing those photos brings back memories, lol. I thought that we would never finish putting all those trellis pieces together, but I do remember having quite a few laughs during that job. Good fun seeing all of these jobs and remembering the fun we had.

Steve III

View peteg's profile


4435 posts in 3277 days

#8 posted 03-24-2011 10:13 PM

And I guess that’s why they invented QA :))))

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

226 posts in 3145 days

#9 posted 03-24-2011 10:15 PM

Hi Tim,

This was 10 years ago…$46 was dinner out for four…and not at McDonalds. There was virtually no material cost on this job, and the deal my son and I had was Job amount less 10% for the machinery, less material, then a 50/50 split of the remainder. I don’t think it took more than a week to make these things. Probalby somewhere around $1,200 in our pocket each would be darn good wages even today. Also, very little overhead (shop in my backyard) and everything else already paid for, helped us to be competetive. And believe it, there were other things going through the shop bringing in revenue.

Los Angeles is a very tight market but the customer base is infinite (to a small shop).

Best, Stephen

-- Stephen Mines ([email protected])

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 3573 days

#10 posted 03-24-2011 10:20 PM

Very impressive work, I am a newbie and aspire to make a living at woodworking, your plans, execution and final product, save the one mistake (no biggie) are exceptional examples of “HOW IT IS DONE”, that seems to me to be a very good price for the quality craftsmanship involved, great job, great story, great Son, I am very happy for you Stephen, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3398 days

#11 posted 03-25-2011 02:26 AM

Stephen, nice lamp and indeed a good lesson. Always make a mistake, and keep a souvenir of the work. :-)

-- Back home. Fernando

View junipercanyon's profile


198 posts in 3148 days

#12 posted 03-25-2011 05:28 AM

Thank you for this post. I never thought to weigh the bottom like that. That will really help with my projects. Thanks again.

-- Juniper Canyon Design

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3540 days

#13 posted 03-26-2011 06:54 PM

Steve III, whatever happened to the lifetime guarantee? Great little project, and after all these years,
it is still bringing back the sharing and laughter with the son. You can not beat that at any price. Thank
you for sharing, never thought to look for base weight commercially, usually just whacked them out of
a piece of steel or iron, live and learn. Thank you once again.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

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