Claremont Designs

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From Rough Sawn to Edison Boxes and Coasters

I thought that last weekend might be the first in a few months not dedicated to building lamps, but that plan quickly changed. I tried to get a little ahead of the game and decided to build 2 lamps instead of the one on order. I wish that was a true statement, but I wasn’t happy with an extremely small detail of the first lamp. Consequently a second lamp happened.

Although not intended this did give me a chance to show in one photo the changes that the lumber goes through. The piece on the far left is what my favorite walnut boards look like before any work is done to them. The middle board shows the lumber after one face has been completely flattened. Finally the board on the right shows the inside of the front of the lamp right before it is ready for assembly.


The photo below shows how the top is bookmatched to the front of the lamp. The top and front are cut out of the same piece of lumber. They are then opened up like a book. The two pieces are essentially a mirror image of each other. The line on the two boards is to provide me with a reference mark, so that I can keep the boards aligned when assembling the lamp.


The final photo is the output off a long weekend in the shop. The two boxes are awaiting 5 holes each for light bulbs. The lamp on the front right really highlights matching the top and front grain patterns. The scattered 44 coasters are from excess lumber from the past 5 or 6 lamps.


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Lots of Coasters on the Way

During one of the last Edison lamp builds I ended up with walnut that was just a little thinner than I wanted. Actually it looked fine, but I didn’t know if it would be acceptable for a customer I’ve never met. Rather than risk upsetting a customer, I restarted the build of that lamp. But I ended up with this extra stock and nothing to do with it.

At the same time I have been making lots of drink coasters. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that each time I build a lamp I end up with extra 1/4″ thick stock. I’ve started turning that thin stock into drink coasters. In fact the current lamp I’m working on will produce over a dozen coasters. I probably have 60 coasters in inventory.

So ultimately I decided to turn the unused stock for an Edison lamp into an extra large coaster case. I’m guessing that it can hold over 120 coasters before it’s full. The coasters haven’t been flying out of the etsy store, so I might end up filling this case pretty quickly. The photo below shows the case after a first coat of finish; the odd red hue is courtesy of my space heater in the shop



Lots of Sanding for 2 Edison Lamps and Almost 40 Coasters

Just a quick interim post here to update on the status of current projects. In the photo are two Edison lamps that are ready for final finish. The walnut lamp is being built for a customer. It is a pretty standard build. The only distinction is that this is the first chance I’ve had to build a 5 bulb version out of walnut. I’m sad to say that this lamp used up the last real amount of walnut that I’ve been working from. The other lamp pictured is made from sapele. It’s the first time I’ve worked with sapele and so far I’m happy with the results. There was a distinctive pattern on the board that I featured on the front of the lamp. Taking it one step further, the 1/4 inch top board is book matched to the front to further highlight the pattern. Finally in the front left you can see the stack of coasters ready for finishing. The coasters are great but trust me that it’s a lot of work to sand all 6 sides, break the edges and steel wool between 2 coats of finish. It’s a great use of my scrap lumber, but it sure is a lot of work to get a product that I’m happy with.


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Koa and Birdseye Boxes

For the first full trip to the shop in 2013, I worked on some new dovetailed boxes (also made a new pen / iPad stylus but no photos of that one). One of the boxes is built from a small piece of koa that I picked up earlier in the week. The other is built from some leftover birdseye maple from the 5 bulb Edison lamp I built at the end of 2012. I haven’t decided the ultimate purpose of each individual box, but one will be a coasters holder and the other will be a single bulb Edison lamp. Each box had some chip out issues with the dovetails. We’ll see how well I can patch up or sand out any of the issues. If they come out nicely, I’ll probably put them up in my etsy shop. Otherwise I’ll just selectively photograph them and list them as built to order.

The photo below shows the individual pieces being organized before rapid gluing and clamping.


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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.