After a combination of boiled linseed oil followed up by an oil / urethane blend, I finally finished up the birdseye maple lamp. This is the first version of the lamp that I built with a dimmer switch. I’m sure it’s not evident from the photos, but the switch makes a tremendous difference. The bulbs can put off a lot of heat, and the dimmer allows you to dial in the brightness to just the right level. I’m pretty sure this will be a standard part off all future builds.
A real mixed bag of project work today. Thanks to a tardy FedEx delivery, started the day by running down to the shop to fit a dimmer switch into a new Edison lamp. With that out of the way, it was on to finishing work. Although I prefer to use an oil urethane blend for my finishing work, I switched things up a bit this time. This weekend’s finish work was using exclusively boiled linseed oil. It’s a finish I like, but you just need to be very careful with your rags because of the spontaneous combustion issue. The photo below shows my impromptu finishing area (aka my living / dining room with pieces resting on the edges of cardboard boxes.
The following shots just show some extra perspectives on the current pieces that I’m working on. In the photos are the Birdseye maple piece that has been featured in the past few posts on this site. Also featured is a smaller 3 bulb version built out of cherry. The cherry was particularly light, but it has been warming up with more coats of finish. In the photos below, the small cherry piece has two coats of boiled linseed oil. The maple piece has just received its first coat (keeping in mind, that my iPhone doesn’t take the best photos). You’ll also notice scattered 3.5″ square pieces of wood. Given the amount of wood furniture I have in my house, coasters are an absolute must. Building items like the Edison lamps has generated a lot of thin stock that has no other use for me, so I’ve decided to start making drink coasters. If I make enough and get motivated, they might be the next item to make an appearance on etsy. Next post should have nicer photos of the finished pieces.
There were a lot of moving parts in the shop today. I started by sanding the interior surfaces and the top for the lamp base. The first photo shows all of the pieces before sanding and before the top is cut to the right size. You can tell this is the interior of the box showing by the groove at the top edge of all of the pieces. That groove is what secures the top into place.
The second photo shows my quick test of the fit of the dovetails. It looked like a pretty good fit. But after years of doing this, I’ve decided to reserve judgement on the quality of fit until after it comes out of the clamps. Speaking of (or more accurately… writing of) clamps, the final photo shows the box after being glued and clamped. It may not look like much, but trust me that you have to move quickly to get everything glued and clamped in time. You don’t want the glue to setup too much before it is fully clamped. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get to the shop for a quick trip this week to clean up the glue and check the fit.
I’m in the early stages of creating another long Edison lamp, but this time get to try some birdseye (or bird’s eye – you choose) maple for the work. It costs a bit more, but it is considerably more interesting than stock maple.
In the series of photos below I’ve shown the front of the box after dimensioning the lumber. For the front of the box and the sides I always try (doesn’t always happen) to get those 3 pieces out of one piece of lumber. In most cases that allows the grain of the wood to flow around the piece. In this case it is less about the grain and more about the location of the eyes.
The “easy” part of the project is over. Next up are the dovetails and the groove for the light top. The dovetails aren’t too hard, but I can’t tell you how many times routing that groove on the router table has forced me to mill up an extra side piece. Hopefully a little patience and planning will pay dividends here.