Claremont Designs

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Edison Lamp Finish Coats and Fancy Coasters

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.





Completed 5 Bulb Cherry Edison Lamp

Put the finishing touches on the 5 bulb / 36″ version of the latest Edison lamp this weekend. The final piece has three coats of finish applied. It already has great color, but the cherry will continue to darken with exposure to natural light. I mentioned a few posts ago about resawing the lumber so that I could get the top cut from the same piece of lumber. In addition to the benefit of matching tone and color, it also has the benefit of matching the grain and streaking of the board used for the front of the lamp. It will be sad to pack it up, but it will have a new home in its future…








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36″ Edison Lamp Approaching the Finish Line

Getting close to finishing up the next Edison lamp. As with the last few small pieces, I’ve started finishing items at home. It’s more efficient for applying multiple coats of finish (compared to driving 45 miles each way to the shop). Plus the temperature and humidity are much better for finishing in my condo. The picture below was taken right after the first coat was applied. It will probably take at least 2 more coats of finish with 4 aught steel wool in between. The next post on the blog should have the finished lamp photos…


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Prepping the Long Edison Base

In the last workshop session it was all about getting the base ready for light fixtures. You would think building the dovetailed box would be the hard part, but I’ve always found it more difficult to space and line up the light fixtures. I decided to try a new approach this time. In the first picture you’ll see that I’ve inserted the board that holds the sockets into the top of the base. I’ve then laid out for the 5 sockets. At this point I’ve drilled a small pilot hole through both boards at the same time. I then went back and used this pilot hole to drill the larger holes needed for the socket openings and the brass nipple that the sockets attach to. In the second photo I’ve begun the wiring for the lamp. A little more fit and sanding work to be done. Then it’s off to finishing.



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Lengthy Edison Lamp

I started working on another variation of the Edison lamps I’ve been building. Per a customer request this one will be about 36″ wide (I had been building them around 18″ wide so far). I wasn’t sure how it would look at first, but after the original dry fit I’m liking the proportions.

It is big enough though that I needed to use some of my standard stock (I like to build these out of leftover lumber or from some repurposed lumber). So no interesting lumber story to go along with this piece. I was however able to get all of the pieces out of one piece of lumber. It may not sound like a big deal, but by getting all of the lumber from one board I don’t really have to worry about the cherry matching in tone. Prior to planing the box pieces to thickness, I was able to resaw the stock for the 1/4″ thick top. This resulted in the box pieces being a fraction of an inch thinner than I usually build, but it definitely doesn’t ruin the look (it actually gives me some more options when it comes to the dovetails).

In the 2 photos below you can see my initial dry fit and all of the pieces awaiting the initial glue-up. I should be sanding up and working on the wiring on the next shop trip.



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Completed Cherry Edison Lamp

Finished up the cherry Edison lamp. As mentioned before, I made this one out of reclaimed lumber from a cherry table top. This isn’t reclaimed in the sense that it was a table that was hundreds of years old. But it does have history relative to my shop. It was the first table that I made. The lumber was purchased from the hobby shop through the navy exchange system. It was probably built around 1998. 14 years later and it has a new life.





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Cherry Edison Lamp Finishing

Getting close to finishing the cherry Edison lamp base. I was able to get all of the sanding and cleanup of the base completed at the shop this weekend. The first picture below shows the base without any finish on it. The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but there is a nice natural redness to the piece. The second photo shows it with one coat of finish applied. I’ll add at least two more coats before calling this one finished. Over time cherry will continue to darken (especially with exposure to natural light).



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Edison Dry Fit (part 2)

Started building another Edison lamp in the shop this weekend. The first one I made was made from walnut. This time I’m recycling some cherry that I have in the shop. The lumber was used in the first table I ever built. Unfortunately back then I didn’t have all of the tools I do now. As a result, not all of the boards were as flat as I like them. Eventually the wood kept moving to the point that it needed to be rebuilt. Fortunately I’ve been able to reuse almost all of that lumber. In the picture below I did a quick dry fit of the box to come up with a good assembly strategy. It’s now sitting in clamps and hopefully it can get to the finishing room soon.


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Mother’s Day Work

Spent Mother’s Day in the shop. None of these pieces are for her though (sorry Mom). Most of the day was spent between assembly, sanding and fit work. The tall cherry piece in the photo below was the dry fit of the back part of the new cabinet I’m working on. The four corners of the piece feature through dovetails. The back is a panel about 1/16th of an inch thick. The wood for the panel is from the same pieces used to make the sides of the cabinet. My cherry stock was pretty thick, so I resawed it to get the backs and the sides out of the same piece of lumber. The walnut piece below is in the middle of being fit for the 4 drawers in the center section of the piece. Little more fit work on the drawers and doors next week and then this one will be ready for finishing…



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Cabinet Dry Fit

Part of the way through a dry fit on a cabinet. The primary woods in this piece will be cherry with some nice looking dark streaks running through the wood. There will be some walnut used as a secondary accent wood in the piece. Between the through dovetails, dados for shelves, resawn lumber glued on edge for doors and the back, and then an intentional gap running around the perimeter of the piece; the dry fit will be crucial to get all of the measurements right.