Claremont Designs

Chalking Up Another Walnut Edison Lamp

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As soon as I finished the last walnut lamp it was time to turn around and build another one. The challenge is that I was out of any suitable walnut to build it out of. So a quick trip to the closest woodworking store was required. Unfortunately the only walnut they had in stock they referred to as “wide stock” or something to that effect. More importantly that meant that they were going to charge $9 a board foot for that lumber. For those that don’t know, a board foot is basically a cubic foot of lumber (1″ thick by 12″ wide by 12″ long). Similarly for those that don’t know, $9 is a lot for walnut. My last stack cost me around $3 a board foot. So after $54 for a 4/4 board 9″ wide and about 8 feet long it was off to the shop.

Once in the shop the first day of build followed a typical routine. I first selected the section of the board to use for the lamp and cut it to rough length. From there I needed to rip the board to an appropriate width. My jointer is only 8″ wide, so the 9″ wide board wasn’t going to work. More importantly if dealing with any cupping issues, you can get to a flat surface quicker if you start with a narrower board. Unlike my rough sawn lumber this piece was already surfaced on both sides (although not straight and flat). So before heading to the jointer, I’ve marked the boards with chalk to help check my progress (see photo below). The basic idea is that once all of the chalk is removed, I can be pretty confident that the lumber face is smooth and flat. After that its the same old process… Joint the edge; resaw a 1/4″ piece for the top at the band saw; rejoint the face and edge; run the boards through the planer; cut pieces to final dimension; then breakout the dovetail jig; cut the groove for the top board; sand the interior to 220; then glue the base up.


In this build the walnut was a hair narrower than I usually used so I switched over to the 14 instead of the 11 degree bits. The 14 degree bit is just a tiny bit too short (in my opinion). Consequently there was the smallest lip at the end of the cut. If you look really closely in the photo below, you might be able to see it. Not that big of a deal though – an extra couple of minutes of sanding before being able to glue the piece up. The base is sitting in the clamps now and will be ready for a lot of extra fit and finish next weekend.


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