How to make an Arts and Crafts style lamp shade #6: Securing the mica

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Blog entry by splintergroup posted 12-06-2018 08:14 PM 3298 reads 6 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Completing the Assembly Part 6 of How to make an Arts and Crafts style lamp shade series no next part

This chapter is the last, but I may add some more information later as/if I develop some simpler jigs or techniques.

Here is a finished shade, walnut with Watco oil and a topcoat of pre-cat lacquer:

I did a smoothing with #0000 steel wool then a rub down with a blue shop towel. The entire part was then waxed.

It is much easier to do all this now when there are no mica panels in the way.

I discussed the installation of the mica panels earlier, mainly focusing on ways to do it and how to make it possible to replace a damaged panel some years down the road.

With the shade assembled, the mica retention along the stiles gets more complicated in that there is no way to easily press in brads or other retainers by squeezing them in with a pair of pliers.
(the adjacent sheet gets in the way)

What I decided to do was make a wood retainer “clamp” that is screwed into place.
It is deceptively easy to make with a box joint blade set tilted to the 23.5 degrees and some scraps of walnut.

The profile is “M” shaped to straddle the stiles and press the mica firmly into the rabbet. Two #4×1/2” screws provide the retention.

For the upper/lower rails, the plier technique works fine since I can span the plier jaws across the rail and get the needed leverage.

I’ve given up on trying to make wood strips that blend in perfectly with the rounded corners of the rabbet and instead just settled on some trips that leave short gaps on the ends.
The long strips (lower rail, 3/8” x 1/4”) use three 1/2” brads pressed through the strip and into the frame. Only one brad is used for the short top rail.

Here you can see the two strips and how they are just short of the corners:

This has all been more of presenting methods and a process versus trying to plan out a project, but hopefully it has been useful, especially if you read through all this stuff 8^)

That’s it!

Thanks for following along!

11 comments so far

View JimYoung's profile


416 posts in 2750 days

#1 posted 12-10-2018 12:48 PM

Excellent series on the lamp shade. Definitely bookmarking this one for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View MelBrandle's profile


33 posts in 2425 days

#2 posted 12-17-2018 06:17 AM

I would love to have a masterpiece like this just sitting on my storage drawers. The ambience in the room would be so cozy with the light being dispersed through the wood strips. The mood matters so much to let you relax fully after a hard day’s of work.

-- Mel Brandle,

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4722 days

#3 posted 12-28-2018 01:22 PM

Best tutorial ever! Thanks for taking the time to do this. I’ve got a few to make for our new house when I get back to the shop.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View woodetal's profile


109 posts in 936 days

#4 posted 01-09-2019 11:44 PM

Great work. I am a fan. Here is a result with QSWO. I have a BLOG that I would have inserted here had I found this site before! Great work. I will update my blog here on my experience with Mission style Lampshades. Again, great work. Brian

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5482 posts in 2386 days

#5 posted 01-10-2019 08:02 PM

Thanks Brian 8^)

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2523 days

#6 posted 04-10-2020 03:03 PM

Wow! A gorgeous design and your execution is brilliant! I’ve always wanted to make a lamp in this basic design. I need to go back to the beginning of this series. Thanks for sharing!

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5482 posts in 2386 days

#7 posted 04-11-2020 02:51 PM

Thanks Paul!

These are the most time-consuming parts to build for A&C style lamps IMO. I figure that if I keep the shades as a common element (and really jig-up for production), I can spend the time thinking about unique base styles and maybe waste more time there than the drudgery of making shade frames 8^)

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2523 days

#8 posted 04-11-2020 05:18 PM

Makes a lot of sense to me, too.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View mghood's profile


4 posts in 2038 days

#9 posted 12-02-2020 11:51 PM

Thank you for the time and expertise in documenting your project. It looks like everything need to know o finish my floor lamp/.

-- A Clean Workbench Is A Sign Of A Sick Mind!

View Sredfield's profile


4 posts in 436 days

#10 posted 07-11-2021 05:42 PM

Thank you so much for this. I am a beginner and have been aspiring to make a couple of these for quite some time. This gives me confidence (hope) that I will be able to. I have some well seasoned white oak that will be perfect, although I love the walnut as well.

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


5482 posts in 2386 days

#11 posted 07-11-2021 06:55 PM

Good luck!

I made an earlier version from WO and it went well, though WO tends to be a bit splintery.

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