Lighthouse (sort of a box)

DLJeffs

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Finally getting around to making a lighthouse. The design is getting clearer in my mind. It'll be for my granddaughter.
planning.jpg

I've been studying up on how to make compound angle boxes. The lighthouse structure will be a foursided box with tapered, inward sloping sides. I have this brass cupola that came from an old lamp that my grandparents had and it will establish the proportions. The lamp got broken during one of the moves but I saved the brass cupola part thinking sometime I could use it.
broken top assembly.jpg

I also have a wind-up music box mechanism, plays Braham's lullaby and I'm going to incorporate it into the living quarters that will be attached to the lighthouse tower. The roof will open to wind the music box and to activate it. Closing the roof will shut it off. I'm going to put a light in the tower, maybe one that rotates around like a real lighthouse. Battery operated if I can find one. Stay tuned.
 
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Nature Man

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Finally getting around to making a lighthouse. The design is getting clearer in my mind. It'll be for my granddaughter.
View attachment 246695

I've been studying up on how to make compound angle boxes. The lighthouse structure will be a foursided box with tapered, inward sloping sides. I have this brass cupola that came from an old lamp that my grandparents had and it will establish the proportions. The lamp got broken during one of the moves but I saved the brass cupola part thinking sometime I could use it.
View attachment 246696

I also have a wind-up music box mechanism, plays Braham's lullaby and I'm going to incorporate it into the living quarters that will be attached to the lighthouse tower. The roof will open to wind the music box and to activate it. Closing the roof will shut it off. I'm going to put a light in the tower, maybe one that rotates around like a real lighthouse. Battery operated if I can find one. Stay tuned.
Awesome creation! Please be sure to give a couple of progress reports, and any lessons learned from all those complex angles. Chuck
 

DLJeffs

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Today I made the leap to cut compound angles for a trapezoidal tower for the lighthouse. Not willing to bet it all on the first attempt, I cut some 5/16" plywood and made a test tower. It came out pretty well, so took the leap with the myrtle thins I planned to use. It came out really good, I think. The joints tape up really well and I think they'll glue up tight with maybe rubber bands for clamps.

I also played with a couple ideas for the platform that will hold the brass cupola. Decided on the square version. The round one seemed to make to abrupt of a transition from the square tower.

tower cut out.jpg

I need to find a 1 3/16" Forstner bit to drill the hole for the threaded brass barrel.

I used my table saw and miter gage to make the compound cuts. Set for a 5 degree inward slope on the sides of the tower. According to the spreadsheet I found online, that meant I needed to tilt my blade to 44.78 degrees, and set my miter gage at an angle of 5 degrees. The tilt mechanism for my saw isn't all that accurate, neither is the miter gage, but as long as all the sides were the same, it would be close enough. Next I figured out where the end of my cut should be and clamped on a stop block to the miter gage so each side would be the same. It worked pretty sell except when the pointy end of the cutoff was hitting the miter gage, it would try to slip under and into the space alongside my blade (I couldn't use my zero clearance insert because of the tilt of the blade). That scared the bejeebers out of me the first time it did it. Then when the wider cutoff end was against the miter blade, the piece wanted to ride up onto the angle cut. But thankfully it went okay and no blood was lost. Next up, figuring out the attached living quarters for the lighthouse keeper.
 
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Nature Man

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I like the square platform, as well. Will you thread the cupola into the wood, or will you secure inside with a big nut? Chuck
 

DLJeffs

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I like the square platform, as well. Will you thread the cupola into the wood, or will you secure inside with a big nut? Chuck
I sanded off the broken piece of the old lamp so it will serve as the nut to lock the cupola into the small platform. One design flaw I didn't anticipate is how to secure that little platform to the tower. The opening at the top is just over 1.5" square, so there's very little free space. Might have to make some sort of long bars that extend down along the tower sides to I can secure it all. I'll figure out something so I don't have to remake the tower.
 

JLTibbetts

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Maybe some kind of corbels or brackets to attach the top? It would look cool with them running from the corners of the tower out toward the corners of the top. Lots more practice with compound angles :)
BTW, a 30 mm will be about .006 smaller than 1-3/16. Pretty close and maybe easier to find.
Nice project!!
 

DLJeffs

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That's a great idea. Make it easy to remove the top to change the light, etc. Back to the drawing board.
 

Mr. Peet

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I've seen users put painter's tape over the slot and then raise the table saw blade through the tape to make a smaller gap. I had made several plywood blanks and do the same. Just more comfortable with wood versus tape along the blade.

If you leave the lighthouse bottom open, you could use a baister or long pipette to deliver an epoxy or other fastener to the inside corners of the top and maybe the cupola threaded locking ring.

Looking great. I like the square top option.
 

DLJeffs

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I should have thought about the tape method to seal off the clearance between the blade and insert. That might have saved me a couple years off my expected life span.

Great minds are thinking alike here. Here's the plan: create a recess in the underside of the platform, large enough to contain the ring I made from the old lamp. Glue the threaded ring I made from the old lamp into the recess. Then glue the top platform in place. That ring from the old lamp is threaded. So by gluing it to the platform, I essentially create a threaded fitting in the platform itself, the cupola will screw into it. To take it apart, I'd simply have to unscrew the cupola. That way, I can just glue the platform to the tower. All will soon become clear, Obi Wan.
 

Arn213

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I appreciate the old school drafting! Such a lost technical art nowadays as we are forced to CAD system to be able be more efficient and be able to really visualize/construct more complex systems. I miss those times as you can see individuals own styles and technique.

I am a little late on this, but I know you mentioned the round cap platform did not meld with the Coppola circular base. How about doing an octagon as that mimics the round formation of a circle- it will give you that dialogue and relationship between square and a circle. You can also do a square and just miter the corners slightly. Going by Architectural fundamental principles as far as shapes and related patterns.
 

DLJeffs

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Good thoughts about the top platform. I might look into taking the corners off. For sure if I went with corbels like James suggested, squaring the corners to match the ends of the corbels would be a good design.

Regarding the drafting... I wish I hadn't lost (gave away) my T square and drafting board. When I built those table lamps and that hall table, I needed to make sure I had wood to meet the proportions of the projects, so scale drawings were vital for me. And having to make two measurements to draw parallel and perpendicular lines (versus one measurement and then using a T square and angles) takes twice as long.
 

2feathers Creative Making

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Good thoughts about the top platform. I might look into taking the corners off. For sure if I went with corbels like James suggested, squaring the corners to match the ends of the corbels would be a good design.

Regarding the drafting... I wish I hadn't lost (gave away) my T square and drafting board. When I built those table lamps and that hall table, I needed to make sure I had wood to meet the proportions of the projects, so scale drawings were vital for me. And having to make two measurements to draw parallel and perpendicular lines (versus one measurement and then using a T square and angles) takes twice as long.
A piece of hardboard, a 12 inch speed square, and a drywall square make decent substitutes
 

DLJeffs

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Forgot I started this thread for this lighthouse / music box. So figured to keep it all in one place I'd post a couple more photos.

broken top assembly.jpg

buildings glued up.jpg

progress on windows doors box for music mechanism.jpg

top assembly exploded view.jpg

tower cut out.jpg
 

DLJeffs

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A little more progress made. As I mentioned in the "Non-wood working" section below, Mr. Peet sent me an envelope of veneers that I used to shingle the roofs and trim the door and windows. I made the doors and stoops from left over holly. I guess next will be to figure out how to install the lights and wire them up. And find a suitable base for this thing. I'll probably finish the whole thing with a few coats of wipe on low gloss or satin poly just for a little protection.

roof doors and trim.jpg

I was talking with my Mom this morning and mentioned this project. She told me the lighthouse was made by some sailors on the first ship my grandpa sailed on. The sailors worked in the engine room and had access to a machine shop. So from stuff lying around down there they made a few lighthouses and gave one to my grandpa. It was pretty special to him, one of the only things he kept after he retired from 33 years in the Navy. I need to find out the name of the ship. I think somewhere we have a certificate from when they crossed the International Date Line. and it would have the name of the vessel I hope.

Update: my brother has the certificate when Grandpa first crossed the equator and he was on the USS Nevada. part of what was called The Great White Fleet.
 
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DLJeffs

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Awesome project. Started my second lighthouse some time ago. I need to get back to it. I get my electrical systems from evandesigns.com
Thanks Bill. I just bought some cheapo battery operated lights off Amazon. They seem pretty cheap so maybe I'll check out what EvanDesigns has.
 

trc65

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That is awesome! Fantastic looking lighthouse. Absolutely love the roof, what a great way to shingle it.

For the LED lights: I wired up hundreds of individual LED lights for the Haunted house years ago. To attach them, I'd take a short length of bare copper wire and use heat shrink tubing to " mount" the light to the wire. Then I'd just bend a loop in the other end of the wire and screw it to anything. Allowed easy positioning of the light by bending the wire. You won't be able to screw inside the house, but what about using some 16 ga wire, then drill holes to insert wire. Could anchor the wire with a drop of CA or hot glue and position the light. This method may not work for what you have in mind, but hopefully will get the wheels turning and prompt some ideas.

BTW, if you are comfortable wiring up lights from scratch, I bought all my components from https://www.superbrightleds.com/ . Lots of options for colors, brightness, light angle, etc.
 
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