Here is a fashionable desk lamp mission that’s comparatively simple to show. Its shaft includes three individually turned items in spindle orientation (grain operating parallel to the lathe’s mattress methods), which permits for the engaging use of contrasting woods and avoids the necessity for a lengthy lamp auger. The lamp’s base is a easy part turned in faceplate orientation (grain operating perpendicular to the mattress methods).

The prospect of drilling lengthy holes into endgrain with a lamp auger creates stress and anguish I can do with out. This mission lets you keep away from that stress by dividing the lamp shaft into three items and drilling all of the holes on the drill press previous to turning. I used a desk noticed to chop the blanks completely sq., which makes aligning them on the drill press simpler and extra correct. If you don’t have a desk noticed, cautious reducing on a bandsaw will do.

My college students and I’ve made roughly a dozen lamps utilizing this design. Over time, I’ve tried numerous options (totally different gap sizes, no lamp rod, and so on.). I’ve discovered the next simplified method works finest for many turners.

Material Prep and Layout

Drawing of sample turned lamp
A simplified 4-piece design makes drilling simpler and presents a sublime, fashionable look. Including the shade, the lamp stands about 32″ (81cm) tall.

I like to make use of contrasting wooden colours within the lamp shaft and base—black cherry for the darkish colour and laborious maple for the sunshine colour. Using totally different species creates a horny lamp and precludes any grain-matching points that might end result from utilizing a single piece of wooden minimize into three sections and rejoined. I wish to alternate the wooden species prime to backside—both darkish-mild-darkish-mild or mild-darkish-mild-darkish.

When you put together the blanks, begin with sq. inventory 1/4″ (6mm) wider than the completed diameter. Straight grain wooden is straightforward to work with, however not required. Using wild grain can flip a easy spindle mission into a torn-grain sanding nightmare. Following are the size of every wooden part previous to turning; the numbered items correspond to the labels within the drawing:

1. Lamp Shaft Top: 2-1/4″ sq. × 2-half of″ lengthy (57mm × 64mm)
2. Lamp Shaft Middle: 1-half of″ sq. × 9-half of″ lengthy (38mm × 24cm)
3. Lamp Shaft Bottom: 2-3/4″ sq. × 5-3/4″ lengthy (7cm × 15cm)
4. Lamp Base: 8″ sq. × 1-1/4″ thick (20cm × 32mm)

For many lathe initiatives, I see no level in making blanks completely sq. earlier than turning them spherical. However, that method is not going to work for this mission. Since the by holes are drilled previous to turning, beginning with completely sq. inventory is crucial to laying out the outlet areas precisely. Pay particular consideration to creating the ends of shaft blanks parallel. This means registering the identical face of the clean in opposition to the miter gauge when crosscutting the items on the desk noticed (or in opposition to the fence on a chop noticed). Mark exact facilities on each ends of the three lamp shaft blanks and on the bottom clean. Drawing two pencil traces nook to nook works finest. If you might be utilizing a heart-marking jig, be sure you use the jig on all 4 corners and discover the typical within the center. Mark the underside of the lamp base “bottom” for future reference.

Lamp Kit and Hardware

Hardware kit for wiring a lamp

You’ll want to amass the next lamp parts, available on-line or at large field shops:

• Lamp Kit, together with socket, harp, twine, nuts, and so on.
• Lamp Rod, 3/8″ (9.5mm) OD, 20″ (51cm) lengthy
• Lamp Shade, steered measurement: 6″ (15cm) prime diameter × 19″ (48cm) backside diameter × 13″ (33cm) slant peak

Pre-drill Holes

Shaft Blanks

Drilling rod hole in lamp shaft
A wood hand screw clamped to your drill press desk aids in correct drilling. Use a sq. to double verify alignment earlier than drilling all over the lamp shaft blanks.

You can drill straight holes utilizing a good outdated-original wood hand screw clamp and a drill press. Before drilling, use a sq. to substantiate that the lamp shaft clean is held vertically within the clamp. Use a half of″ (13mm) bradpoint bit to begin the holes on heart.

Clamping set-up for lamp blank in a drill press
Use a sq. scrap of wooden (on this case, the lamp base clean) to securely clamp the tall center shaft part for drilling. It can be essential to drill the longer sections from each ends.

All of the by holes within the lamp shaft are half of″ diameter. A 3/8″ OD lamp rod suits simply in a half of″ gap. You can drill a gap all over the shorter prime clean with a standardlength half of″ bradpoint bit. The decrease two shaft blanks, being longer, are more difficult. You must drill the half of″ gap from each ends so the holes meet within the center. For the 9-half of″ clean, it could be needed to finish the drilling with a longer twist drill.

Important: The holes within the lamp shaft blanks should enter the wooden at useless heart. It is much less crucial how the holes meet in the course of every clean; if the lamp rod passes by the outlet, it’s adequate.

Base Blank

Using drill press and Forstner bit to cut hole for lamp shaft base
Drill a 3/4″-deep gap with a 2-half of″-diameter Forstner bit within the backside heart of the lamp base.

Using a 2-half of″-diameter Forstner bit, drill a gap within the backside of the lamp base 3/4″ deep. To drill a gap of this measurement safely, clamp the workpiece to the drill press desk earlier than drilling. This gap can be used as a chucking recess, so you could must make it bigger, relying on the minimal jaw measurement of your chuck in growth mode.

Do not drill the half of″-diameter by gap within the base simply but—this gap can be drilled afterward the lathe.

Drilling cord hole in lamp base
Clamp the lamp base on edge to drill the lamp twine escape gap.

Next, drill a gap within the aspect of the lamp base to permit the twine to flee from the middle. This gap is finest drilled now, whereas the lamp base clean remains to be sq. and thus simple to clamp on the drill press desk. Drill a 5/16″ (8mm) gap within the heart of the sidegrain (not into the endgrain). This gap ought to intersect the two-half of″-diameter gap already drilled within the backside of the lamp base.

Turn the Base

Attaching lamp base blank to lathe
Mount the lamp base in your chuck by increasing the jaws into the outlet on the underside.

I like to begin by turning the lamp base after which working my manner up. The first step is to show the underside of the lamp base, however to do that, you’ll must drill a pilot gap in your screw chuck within the prime of the bottom. I’ve discovered that is finest completed on the lathe.

Cutting screw chuck hole in lamp base blank
Drill a pilot gap for a screw chuck within the prime of the bottom.

I minimize my blanks near spherical on the bandsaw after which make them really spherical on the lathe. Draw a 7-half of″- (19cm-) diameter circle in your lamp base clean with a compass. Then use a bandsaw to chop outdoors the road. Mount this clean in a 4-jaw chuck, increasing the jaws into the two-half of″-diameter gap within the backside. The jaws mustn’t backside out within the chucking recess.

Turning recess in center of lamp base blank
Then flip a flat within the heart 3″ to 4″ broad.

Install a drill chuck within the lathe’s tailstock with a drill bit sized in your screw chuck—in my case, a 3/8″ drill. Drill a gap all over your clean. Now flip a flat space for the face of your chuck jaws to sit down in opposition to while you mount the clean on the screw chuck. Don’t take away an excessive amount of wooden at this level, simply create a flat 3″ to 4″ (8cm to 10cm) broad within the heart.

Attaching lamp base blank to screw chuck
Mount the highest of the bottom onto the screw chuck. The chuck jaws will register in opposition to the turned flat space.

With the workpiece remounted on the screw chuck, form the underside of the lamp base. Start by truing up the surface fringe of the bottom with a bowl gouge. Then true up the underside and create a 3/16″ dip within the center (check with the drawing). For stability, solely the surface of the lamp base ought to make contact with the desk. But beware — in the event you undercut the bottom too deeply, you threat reducing into the lamp twine gap.

Drilling center hole in lamp base blank
Use a bowl gouge and shear-scraper to show the underside of the lamp base. After truing up the surface edge, type a concave floor within the center.

Create the 1/4″ again minimize angle on the aspect of the lamp base. I used a half of″ bowl gouge and a shear-scraper to type this floor. This delicate element provides the lamp a sublime, fashionable look. Sand the underside earlier than eradicating the bottom from the lathe.

Checking shape of lamp base with straight edge
A straightedge touching solely the outer edges signifies concavity.

Flip the lamp base over and remount it in your 4-jaw chuck by increasing the jaws into the chucking recess. Mark a 2-half of″-diameter circle in the course of the highest. This is the place the lamp base will contact the underside of the lamp shaft. Since the underside of the lamp shaft is flat, don’t attempt to additionally make the highest of the bottom flat; any variation may imply a seen hole.

Turning lamp base to shape
With the bottom now re-mounted on the chuck in growth mode, mark a 2-half of″ diameter circle in the course of the highest. Create a concave space inside this circle, then form the rest of the highest.

Instead, create a small recess within the prime of the lamp base so solely the surface edges of the shaft will make contact. I used a shear-scraper to create this small recess, operating downhill from the marked 2-half of″ circle to the outlet within the heart. Now form the rest of the highest of the lamp base.

Finishing sizing of cord hole in lamp base
Enlarge the middle gap with a 13/32″ or 7/16″ twist drill to totally settle for the three/8″ OD lamp rod.

Since the screw chuck pilot gap was simply 3/8″ diameter, the outlet needs to be enlarged barely to raised accommodate the three/8″ OD lamp rod. A 13/32″ or 7/16″ twist drill ought to do the job. Sand the highest of the lamp base.

Turn the Shaft Pieces

Dowel centers in lathe to hold lamp shaft blank
The lamp shaft elements with half of″ heart holes are mounted between facilities on half of″ wood dowels.

Each of the three lamp shaft blanks needs to be mounted between facilities to supply entry to the whole lot of every clean, finish to finish. The half of″-diameter by gap makes conventional mounting a problem. My answer is to mount the shaft segments utilizing two 2-half of″-long items of half of″-diameter wood dowels—no particular-objective lamp facilities wanted.

Hardware for mounting lamp shaft blank
Two options for mounting dowels within the tailstock stay heart with heart level eliminated.

Top: straight-walled stay heart with setscrew.

Bottom: tapered stay heart with no setscrew.

At the headstock finish, mount a half of″ dowel in a collet chuck, small chuck jaws, or a drill chuck. At the tailstock finish, take away the middle level from the stay heart and change it with a half of″ dowel. Some stay heart holes have straight sides and a setscrew, which can be utilized to safe your dowel. But if the outlet is tapered and has no setscrew, you’ll have to flip a tenon and shoulder on the dowel to register in opposition to the top of the stay heart. Both of those approaches are proven. Be positive to make the tenon lengthy sufficient to help the dowel protruding of the stay heart. The dowel might not run completely true within the tailstock, however it can suffice after you mount your blanks on the 2 dowels.

Mount and switch every lamp shaft part, one at a time, on the half of″ dowels. Note that normal half of″ wood dowels are often undersized, so that you would possibly must wrap masking tape across the dowel to make it match snugly within the half of″ holes within the blanks. The form of every shaft phase is a easy taper or cylinder, so I simply use a spindle-roughing gouge and sandpaper. If you might be cautious, you will get actually clear end cuts with a roughing gouge.

Different sized waste blocks for turning
Wasteblocks minimize from half of″-thick plywood with a half of″ gap within the heart. These blocks function measurement references, just like mandrel bushings in pen turning.

I’ve discovered that including appropriately sized wasteblocks on each ends of the blanks makes the turning easy. They provide help to keep away from sizing errors and forestall tearout on the ends of the shaft sections. I make my wasteblocks out of half of″-thick plywood. Rough them spherical on the bandsaw barely outsized after drilling a half of″ gap within the center. To flip the three shaft segments as specified within the drawing, you will have six wasteblocks within the following sizes:

• Top phase: 2″ and 1-half of″ diameter
• Middle phase: Two at 1-3/8″ diameter
• Lower phase: 2-half of″ and 1-half of″ diameter

Wasteblocks mounted on lathe to set up tapering
Install the suitable wasteblocks over the half of″ dowels on the headstock and tailstock ends.

Mount the suitable wasteblocks over the half of″ dowels with the turning clean mounted between them. Turn the wasteblocks right down to their ultimate diameter earlier than turning the lamp sections.

Lamp shaft blank between two wasteblocks
Then mount the lamp shaft clean and apply tailstock stress.

After the wasteblocks are appropriately sized, you solely must “connect the dots” to show the clean to the proper taper. Leave every clean a little outsized, and sand to the ultimate diameter.

Shaping lamp blank based on waste blank sizes
Turn the wasteblocks right down to their ultimate diameter, then use them as sizing guides when shaping the lamp shaft clean.

If you run into issues with the blanks slipping on the dowels, add masking tape to the dowels to get a tighter match.

Smoothing out the lamp shaft blank
The center shaft part is turned to a straight cylinder.

After you flip the center part to a cylinder, you’ll be able to add some ornamental burn traces, however keep in mind the outdated adage: much less is extra. Burn the traces with a wire after you make a shallow groove to get the wire began.

Cutting decorative lines in lamp blank with chisel

I type the groove with a level device. You can buy burn wires, however a piano wire or guitar string may even work.

Safety Note: If you make your personal burn wires, securely set up wooden balls or handles at every finish of the wire.

Creating strong decorative elements with wire burning
A couple of burn traces add an understated class.

Never wrap the wire round your fingers! The lathe have to be operating at a excessive velocity to create sufficient friction to make a good burn line. Press the wire into the groove till smoke seems. Assembling the lamp can be simpler in the event you flip the ends of the center shaft part barely concave. Undercutting each ends will assist the sections mate up with out unpleasant gaps.

Cutting away the ends of the lamp base blank
Undercut each ends of the center part to make sure hole-free unions the place the shaft sections meet. Turn away a lot of the plywood wasteblock to offer your self entry to the top of the spindle.

You can do that by decreasing the wasteblock on the tailstock finish, then use a spindle gouge to undercut the endgrain of the shaft. phase. Flip the piece finish for finish and repeat the method, once more from the tailstock place. Use a spindle gouge so as to add a 1/4″ bevel on the prime of the higher shaft part.

Tapered lamp shaft topper
Add a ornamental 1/4″ bevel to the highest of the uppermost shaft part.

When sanding the lamp shaft sections, take away the wasteblocks so you’ll be able to entry the ends to barely spherical over the perimeters. But don’t sand the ends that you simply made completely sq. on the desk noticed.

Finish and Assemble Lamp Parts

It is a good concept to pre-end all of the wooden lamp elements earlier than meeting. I apply two coats of semigloss sprayon polyurethane, calmly sanding with artificial metal wool and buffing between coats.

I like to make use of the lathe as a large clamp. Use it to align and dry-match the items earlier than gluing them collectively. Epoxy is a good selection of adhesive due to its hole-filling qualities. The 3/8″ lamp rod suits loosely within the half of″ heart gap. I’ve discovered it simpler to permit the epoxy to fill a few of that hole close to the joints than to power a 3/8″ lamp rod by a lengthy 3/8″ gap with no play.

Insert the lamp rod by the entire turned elements and set up lamp rod nuts on the prime and backside. Do not go away any further lamp rod protruding on the backside, however do go away 1-half of″ or so further lamp rod protruding the highest. Cut off any extra rod solely after you will have check fitted the lamp socket on the prime of the lamp rod.

Gluing up lamp shaft parts assembled on lathe
Prefinish all of the lamp elements previous to meeting. The lathe acts as the right holding gadget to assist in alignment of the elements.

Mount the lamp base on a chuck in your lathe, increasing the jaws as soon as once more into the chucking recess on the underside of the bottom. Then place the middle level of the tailstock stay heart within the gap on the prime of the lamp rod. Hand-rotate the wooden elements on the lamp rod to place the grain to your liking. When you might be pleased with the dry-match, loosen the lamp rod nut on the tailstock finish and add some 5-minute epoxy to the joints. You don’t want a lot glue. Tighten the nut to carry the elements in place whereas the epoxy dries.

Holding lamp hardware in place with screw in lathe
Glue the wooden sections collectively utilizing 5-minute epoxy, and tighten the lamp rod nut on the prime to carry the items in place whereas the glue dries.

If you want to clear up any extra epoxy after it dries, you are able to do this by turning the lathe on at a very gradual velocity and buffing with high quality artificial metal wool. Finally, I like so as to add one final coat of end after assembling the lamp to assist tie all the things collectively and conceal any issues created in the course of the meeting course of.

Install Lamp Hardware

Finished lamp with harp installed
Install the lamp socket, harp, and twine out of your lamp equipment.

Install the lamp socket and twine in accordance with the producer’s directions. It is vital to make use of a UL-authorised lamp twine knot, additionally known as an Underwriter’s Knot, underneath the socket. An Internet seek for “UL lamp cord knot” will reveal the proper option to tie this knot, which prevents {the electrical} connections from being pulled and changing into disconnected. This is a vital security precaution.

Complete turned lamp with shade

When positioning the lampshade on the lamp, I like the underside of the shade to be above the highest of my superbly turned lamp. The peak of the harp determines how excessive or low a shade sits. The harp that is available in your lamp equipment might not be the best measurement, however you should buy a taller or shorter harp individually.

Carl Ford is an achieved woodturner, a member of the Kaatskill Woodturners (Hurley, New York), and loves educating individuals easy methods to flip. His web site is

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