If I were to ever go back to my old naming convention this piece would be known as 5 bulb Edison lamp 3. This is the third version of a 5 bulb lamp that I’ve built. While I still think the 3 bulb version of the lamp looks great, the 5 bulb version is superior in my opinion. Not all spaces can accommodate this size however. In that case the 3 bulb looks great, or even a collection of the 1 bulb version I’ve made would look terrific. Regardless of the choice, below are a few photos of the latest 5 bulb Edison lamp…
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Second To Last Step In Building 3 Edison Lamps
Well it isn’t really the second to last step in building an Edison lamp, but photos of the final wiring steps are (possibly) less interesting than these photos of finalizing the fit of the lamps. The photos below show the inner components of the lamps. The close-up shows the bottom side of the single bulb koa Edison lamp. I used a different style socket in this lamp and as a result I had to reroute the wiring. Normally I can keep all of the wiring above the wooden support, but in this case the wiring needed to be routed through the nipple. To prevent the wiring from extending past the base of the lamp I glued a thin piece of walnut scrap where the wires come through the bottom. Although the base is screwed into the box in this photo, I will need to remove it before applying the final finish. The second photo shows the five sockets for the 5 bulb cherry lamp. Much like the koa version, I established the final fit by screwing it into place before moving to the finishing steps. The next post will include final photos of the finished products.
Continuing the Build of a New 5 Bulb Edison Lamp
Continuing along with one of my earlier posts, I figured that I would focus in on the building of an Edison lamp. In this case I wanted to show two of the aspects of the build that I don’t usually give a lot of attention. For the lamps, I’ve started using a full range dimmer switch. The switches are a little larger than the ones I used to use, but the ability to dim the Edison bulbs is worth it. The lights are capable of being used as a room light source, but for the most part they are a decorative piece of furniture. And when the light is dimmed down low, it’s really easy to see the patterns of the filaments in the bulbs. The challenge is to make room for the switch. First I locate the position of the switch and then move over to the dedicated mortising machine. The goal here is to make the back of the lamp thinner where the switch is located. Next I need to take a forstner bit to make room for the knob. It’s important that the knob is recessed into the lamp to improve the overall appearance of the piece. The photo below shows a quick test fitting of the switch.
The next aspect I wanted to highlight was the location of the holes for the sockets. In all of my lamps, I use a wooden board to attach the sockets to… The challenge is to get the hole for the light socket nipples dead center in the larger diameter hole that exposes the sockets. I start by sizing the support board so that it fits perfectly inside the top lip of the lamp. Then with simple layout lines, I locate the center point of each bulb (shown in the first photo below with pencil lines). From here I’m able to use a drill press to drill a series of holes at each location to generate the final cutouts shown in the second photo. The process starts by drilling one hole through the support board and the top at the same time. This is followed by making the hole in the support board just a little wider to fit the nipple. Finally after removing the support board, I cut out the larger diameter hole to fit the socket.
In the next post, I’ll highlight more of the interior working of the Edison lamp. Then it’s off to finishing.
Initial Steps In Building a New 5 Bulb Edison Lamp
I’ve had quite a few posts on building Edison lamps over the past year. I figured in this post I would show a few more of the steps getting the process started. Everything starts by finding one good piece of cherry at least 7 feet long and a little more than 4″ wide. The goal is to get all pieces of the lamp out of the same piece of lumber. Sourcing from one piece helps in matching the color, and you can match the grain wrapping around the piece. It’s not always easy to figure out what a piece of rough sawn lumber is going to look like once surfaced, but you want to avoid knots and splits / checks as much as possible. The picture below shows 2 pieces from the same board. The bottom one has been passed over the jointer whereas the top board hasn’t.
Thankfully the original piece of lumber was a little over an inch think. As a result I was able to get the top of the lamp out of this same piece of lumber. With one face and one edge jointed and square to each other, I proceeded to the bandsaw to resaw the boards to make quarter inch think pieces for the top. This generates much more 1/4″ lumber than needed, so I will just use the excess for additional drink coasters. From here it’s one more quick trip to the jointer followed by the planer to get everything surfaced and the correct thickness (I usually shoot for 1/2″ to 5/8″ thick for Edison lamps). This is followed by cutting boards to width and length. At this point it is time to move to the dovetail jig (and praying that there isn’t
any much tear out). Finally, a little work at the router table to create the groove for the 1/4″ think top board. The end result is what’s shown in the photo below.
Now it’s time to move to the random orbit sander. Once it’s glued up, I’ll never be able to get to the inside of the box. In general the inside is not seen in the finished piece, so the sanding job doesn’t need to be perfect. Most of the effort is dedicated to the small lip above the groove for the top. That is the only part of the “inside” that will ever be seen in the final product. Once the sanding was done, it was time for gluing and clamping. It will sit in the clamps overnight, and I’ll start finishing the exterior in the morning.