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post #1 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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floor lamp project

So I recently got some work from one of the tree jobs we were working on. My boss has done an awesome job connecting me with some of his clients. The guy wants a 5-6 foot tall floor lamp made from the 7 foot dbh silver maple we harvested. HUGE TREE. I selected some straight logs that we held onto and now begin the process of trying to make this thing come to fruition for him. Ive got some broad strokes ideas on how I think I can get this done but was hoping for some input from those who know more. Here is my thinking thusfar.
1. first issue will be getting billets. Ill need to chainsaw down a long section to as near to square as possible avoiding the pith. I will probably make 4-5 just incase extreme cracking occurs on one or a few of them.
2. Will be getting the billets to perfectly square which I can most likely do with my table saw
3. Ill need to saw up the billets into shorter sections. I own a Nova 16-24 with no bed extension so Ill need to build it up in much smaller sections
4. after anchor sealing end grains those billets need to be dried and I need to locate some kiln plans for smaller stock.
5.turn stock
6. need to figure out how Im going to drill holes through all of this. Jacobs chuck with drill bit is my thought but seeing as there is a limited space between centers my though was that after I put it in the chuck Ill use drill bits of ever increasing length to drill all the way through. May need one of those rollerskate wheel steadying devices for stock held that far away from the headstock?
7.Glue sections back together matching up the grain.
8. Turn a translucent lamp shade.
9. Use spare metal parts from a previous lamp to hold the bulb and support the wood shade. HALOGEN LIGHTS ONLY! lol

So thats where I'm at. Don't know if my thinking is even close to on point but thats where you fine folks come in! Please feel free to correct refine and rebuild the process i have so far. I'd love to see this thing come to fruition. Thanks in advance, will post pictures along the way! happy turnin,
Bond
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 06:55 PM
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Tough questions. First of all is saving the wood. You didn't say how big the blanks will be. If they are larger than about 4 inches in diameter you will really have to take your time drying them. I save wood 3" to 4" square pretty regularly. I rough them with the bandsaw to roughly square, doesn't matter since your going to turn them round later, it just makes them easier to stack.
I save them about 16 to 24" long most of the time which should work on your lathe. I seal the ends with parrafin wax. I use an old electric skillet with the temp set just barely above melting. This is a safe temperature but never leave it alone and keep a metal lid handy along with the fire extinguisher.
I stack them on the concrete floor in my shop. I don't even think about turning them until about 6 months have gone buy. It's not worth turning a project and then having it crack after you give it to a customer.

Drilling. It's very very difficult to drill perfectly straight through a piece. For that reason I drill the holes first and then rig up a way to mount the lamp section using the holes as the centers. You can do this by making a wooden mandrel for a faceplate that fits in the drive end. If the pressure alone won't drive it put some short nails in and then cut off the heads. These will drive it. On the tailstock end a 60 degree point will probably work but I turn special pin type wooden adaptors to fit over my live center.
Now how to drill. I use a lamp auger most of the time but it's still very hard to get a perfectly straight hole so I drill from both sides. It takes a special tailcenter and it's kind of expensive.
The other way I used to do it works pretty well if you have a drill press. I drill into both ends as far as my small drill bits go, about 4" or so. Then I put this blank in my vice and drill to the center with a longer bit in my hand drill.
One time I had to make a lamp from a 5 foot piece of fence rail. Fortunately the wood was riven to make the rail so I use my Fro and Rived (split) it down the middle. This follows the grain so it was somewhat crooked. Doesn't matter as long as the 2 halves go exactly back together. Then I used a router and some carving tools to cut a groove for the cord. Waxed the groove to keep the glue from sticking and glued it back together. The glue joint was invisible.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 07:08 PM
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Saw a tommy Mac episode where he turned a lamp. Did it in sections that fit his lathe, turning a tenon on one end to fit a mortise on the other. Also think he laminated the blank and dadoed or routed the channel.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 08:18 PM
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If your starting with dry wood you can do that. I didn't mention that method because he was talking about green wood.
I have also made lamps from green wood by completely hollowing it all the way through to 1/4" thickness. It's challenging hollowing something 16" deep to thatn thinness.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 08:45 PM
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Threw that out there cause bond mentioned kiln plans, so I thought he might be drying the wood.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-21-2012, 09:16 PM
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Hey bond, theres a guy over at wood barter that made a kiln that will be perfect for what you want to do. Its a small insulated box that uses a light bulb for the heat source and a thermostat to control the temp. He uses a small computer fan to move the air. He uses his for peppermill blanks but it would work for lamp size blanks as well.

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