Claremont Designs


Four New Edison Lamps

Finally finished up a couple orders of Edison lamps. Except for one of the single bulb lamps, all of these are in the care of the USPS. The 5 bulb lamp is a pretty traditional rendition but the length has been shortened ever so slightly. The maple version is a significantly larger version of the single bulb lamp I’ve been making. I wasn’t too sure about it’s size at first. But with the right bulb it looks great. One of the small Edisons just left DC. The other will become my second lamp on etsy that is ready to ship when ordered.

Only one lamp on the books for the weekend, so hopefully I can get back to some of the other neglected projects in the shop.







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Edison Lamps in the Raw

Just a quick update post tonight. In the photos below are 4 lamps ready for a first coat of finish. The long walnut piece is a few inches shorter than my standard build, whereas the maple box is a few inches larger than the standard. I love the way that walnut looks before any finish is applied. One day I might build one of these pieces and never apply a finish… These lamps should be ready to ship soon.




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Aligning the Various Holes to Make an Edison Lamp

Over the course of 36 hours, I had 8 visits to 6 different Lowe’s and Home Depot locations. Either these two stores have stopped stocking and selling the light sockets I need for my lamps… Or they just have horrible back end systems. Really they should have seen that these sockets have been flying off the shelf and it’s time to buy more. Of course maybe they have ordered, but they haven’t been stocked to the shelves. Regardless of their reason, it looks like the internet will have to be my supplier of the future. Maybe this rant is a function of how I think for my big boy job rather than what I do at Claremont Designs on the weekends; let me get back to the woodworking…

The last tricky part of building a lamp is aligning the hole for the brass nipple and the opening where the bulb screws into the socket. I’ve shown in the past where I fit a board into the top of the lamp base and then drill through both boards at the same time. I usually focus those posts on drawing a series of evenly spaced lines on the support board. This time I figured I would show the next step in the process. The photo below shows the moment before I drill through both boards. Basically, I drill all of the way through both boards, then increase the bit size and only drill through the support board. I then remove the support board and swap out bits so that i can cut the large hole that the bulb fits through. I need to buy a proper drill press to do this more effectively and efficiently. Until then I’ve been using my dedicated mortising machine. It works just as well, but it’s definitely time for a new toy in the shop.


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Chalking Up Another Walnut Edison Lamp

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.