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Agate table lamp project

DLJeffs

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Thanks Chris. I just got my lamp parts yesterday. So now I can figure out exactly how the whole thing will fit together and I can make the final cuts on the wood. I've been sanding and applying clear poly to the box shape. I'll post more pics as soon as I make more progress worth recording.
 

DLJeffs

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Made enough progress to be worth posting an update. I received all my lamp components, which I needed before I could make some final decisions about the base and the support blocks. You can see in the layout photo, I ordered some brass bent tubes and couplings so I could route the wiring into one corner of the box, while at the same time putting a small night light in the center. I did that to avoid having a shadow across one of the agate slices. On hindsight, I probably could have saved some money and simply got a piece of 3/4" X 1/8" bar stock and bent it into a square 'C' shape with the long dimension of the 'C' equal to the inside height of my boxes. Drill holes at each end, run the tubing thru the holes at the top and bottom of the box, trap it underneath the hickeys using the lock rings and nuts. Then when I pull the wires, I could simply cable tie the wire to the bar stock. The wires don't need to be in metal tubing.

lamp parts.jpg

interior with tubing.jpg

Next I worked on the base. I needed to figure out where the 3 way switch would go and how I would run the cord out of the base. I also needed to make a large enough recess to accommodate the wire nuts when I make all the connections. My bases are a piece of 3/4" MDF and a piece of 3/8" plywood, covered with 5/16" mahogany. So I drilled a 2 1/2" hole through the MDF and plywood to provide the space for the connections. I routed a space for the 3 way switch and a groove for the wiring. I drilled a 1/4" hole in one side of the base for the cord. Then I cut my miters and glued the sides and top onto the base. Next is sanding and rounding the edges and applying finish, etc.

base rough.jpg

base inside.jpg

I also needed to make the support piece that goes between the base and the box, and the top spacer which goes between the top of the box and the main lamp socket and harp. The top was pretty easy to figure out once I had my top tubing. I think I'm going to route a cove around the upper edge of that piece before I finish it. I played with various heights between the base and box and settled on 2 1/2". That leaves room for the easy access to the 3 way switch knob and seems to provide good perspective relative to overall height. I had to cut off my bottom threaded tubes. I think I'll also make the base about an inch wider than the block at the top. To do that I'll cut the same mahogany block as the top, but I'll glue a piece to each side to make it wider. The supports in the photo are just scrap cut to 2 1/2" so I could see what it would look like.

dry fit without base support.jpg

So far, I'm liking the way it looks and fits together. My concept right now is the base, lower support block, and the bottom of the box will all be glued together. The top of the box will not be glued, it will be held in place by dowel pins and the threaded tube that runs out the top. That way I have access inside the box when I need to change the light bulb. Haven't decided whether to glue the upper block to the top of the box or not.
 

DLJeffs

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I didn't like the plain square block for the top spacer so was playing with other designs. Tried to route a cove on the square block - that works when going with the grain but chipped out badly when going cross grain. You guys all knew that, I do now. Even a support block at the end of the spacer didn't prevent it. Then I thought "route a piece like moulding and then put that on the spacer". So that's what I did. Worked great. I like the Asian influence. So all the components are now done, only need to finish the spacer and then put it all together.

all components ready for finish.jpg
 

Mr. Peet

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I didn't like the plain square block for the top spacer so was playing with other designs. Tried to route a cove on the square block - that works when going with the grain but chipped out badly when going cross grain. You guys all knew that, I do now. Even a support block at the end of the spacer didn't prevent it. Then I thought "route a piece like moulding and then put that on the spacer". So that's what I did. Worked great. I like the Asian influence. So all the components are now done, only need to finish the spacer and then put it all together.

View attachment 195821

Its been a long time since I've used a shaper, or even a router table, but back then, I used a scrap piece, knocked the corner off on the table saw, an angle matching the cove. If the cove was deep and had a lot of wood to remove, I'd make several passes at deepening depths until satisfied. A few times I set the table saw up on a 45 or other agreeable angle and used it as a plow to remove wood to reduce load on the cove bit, and try limiting burn. Did not always work as well as it sounds. Was good for small pieces, but more challenging with bigger ones.
 

woodtickgreg

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And a other thing to do is to rout the end grain first and then the long grain. This way if the end grain chips out it will usually clean up when you do the long grain.
But the lamps are coming alongvery nicely. :good2:
 

DLJeffs

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Sure, now you tell me! Where were you guys two days ago? Actually, I thought I was making very small passes with my router as Mark suggests. But I still got chip out. I did not cut away most of the waste using my table saw tho. Maybe I needed to make even thinner passes. I did not try to route the end grain first. Although on one pass a chip that spanned the entire width of the spacer block blew out so it would have showed outside the final cove cut no matter what I did. Does dryness effect the propensity to chip out? I used part of this same mahogany board a couple years ago when I made a coat / hat stand for our entryway. So this left over piece has been in my garage for a couple years. I did not route the end grain on that coat rack tho. Any more advice is welcome - I need to make a couple of cribbage boards and I route all the way around, so I worry when I do the end grain on those too.
 

Mr. Peet

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Sure, now you tell me! Where were you guys two days ago? Actually, I thought I was making very small passes with my router as Mark suggests. But I still got chip out. I did not cut away most of the waste using my table saw tho. Maybe I needed to make even thinner passes. I did not try to route the end grain first. Although on one pass a chip that spanned the entire width of the spacer block blew out so it would have showed outside the final cove cut no matter what I did. Does dryness effect the propensity to chip out? I used part of this same mahogany board a couple years ago when I made a coat / hat stand for our entryway. So this left over piece has been in my garage for a couple years. I did not route the end grain on that coat rack tho. Any more advice is welcome - I need to make a couple of cribbage boards and I route all the way around, so I worry when I do the end grain on those too.

Yes, drier wood often has a higher chance of chipping and burning. The higher moisture often increases tare resistance and absorbs heat better up to a point. Each wood is a bit different.
 

DLJeffs

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Finished! Final coats of finish on the spacers, whiz bang wires, glued agate slices into place using 5 minute epoxy, put it all back together and they look pretty nice. There's a 4wt LED night light bulb inside and a 60w coil flouro in the main lamp. Found a couple of my agate slices wouldn't quite fit when I went to glue them in. They all fit fine when I first routed the openings. So the wood must have swelled or something during finishing or something. But a little careful surgery with an exacto knife and they slid right in. I'm pretty happy with the way they came out.

finished lamp lit with fill flash.jpg

finished lamp lit.jpg

finsihed lamp with 60w bulb lit.jpg
 
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woodtickgreg

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There's the money shot! Very nice, well done sir. :good2: :cool:
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks guys. I'll try to get another shot tomorrow in the daylight to show the wood better. The figure in the panels came back nicely.
 

DLJeffs

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Wow, what a project. Ready for the next one?:sofa:

Heh heh, yeah, I'll have to start something. But with the weather turning I'll have to work in the garage most of the time so it'll have to be something that doesn't cover my garage in saw dust. A couple friends want a cribbage board so I'm thinking that's where I'll go. I've been tweaking a photo of a great horned owl so the lazer engraver will do it justice. Maybe an alternate to the quail.
 

DLJeffs

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Here's a shot or two of the lamp in daylight, unlit. I am really happy with the way the figure in the maple thins @Mike1950 sold me came out (thanks Mike). When I first sanded them I thought it was all gone. One other lesson learned for me is that mahogany comes in many colors and grain density. And you don't see it until you do some rough sanding. While I didn't have a lot of choices, I maybe could have better mixed and matched my mahogany to get a little more uniform look. One last lesson: the lamp shades can be the most expensive part of this whole thing.

finished close up of box.jpg

finished lamp daylight.jpg

finished lamp sunlt.jpg
 
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Chris S.

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Very nice sir. That turned out great. As the maple and other woods age it is going to get even better. Can't wait to see next one.
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks Chris (and everyone else who followed along and gave me advice). Both sets of table lamps I built over the summer were fun projects that challenged my skills for sure. I have enough lamps now, have to think of something else.
 
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