Introduction: Plywood Inspired Floor Lamp

I love the look of Plywood. The striped pattern is creates is amazing and even though the "look" got left behind in the 70s, I still think it's timeless.

Watch the video project here:

For this project you'll need lengths of timber, in my case I used Tasmanian Oak. It doesn't need to be an expensive wood, the detail is in the pattern not the grain.

You'll also need some wide lengths to make up the base. I went for a base that was 270mm square, so I made that up with 3 boards at 90mm wide, a common size.

Next, get a length of copper pipe. I used 1/2" tube, the cheap water pipe you find in homes everywhere. The total length was around 1.3 metres.

Then some epoxy, wood glue, lamp cord, light socket, a switch and a plug and you're ready to go.

Step 1: Cut the Squares

Setup a stop block on the mitre saw and cut squares out of the lengths of timber. The timber I used was 42mm wide. and 19mm thick.

You'll need to do some math to work out how many lengths you'll need to make up the height, but it's also a balance; thinner material will enhance the look, but too thin and you'll spend days cutting and drilling them. In hindsight I could've done 12mm lengths, but at that size it became a lot more expensive.

I cut around 85 squares but some of those were extras.

Step 2: Drill the Holes

Using a drill press (or a hand held drill if you're feeling brave) setup a fence and stop block so that you can drill holes in the centre of each block. To do this, find the centre of a block manually. Then lock your drill press with the bit in the hold and clamp the fence and stop block against it.

Using a 13mm spade bit allows just enough space for the 1/2" copper pipe to pass through. It's not a snug fit, but it's practical.

Now start drilling all the holes.

Step 3: Slide Wood Squares Onto Copper Pipe to Make the Shaft

Attach one of the squares to the copper pipe using epoxy. A handful of the wood blocks should be attached using epoxy to ensure that the wood locks onto the pipe, wood glue won't stick to copper.

Ensure that there is enough space between the bottom square and the end of the copper pipe to accomodate for the base you'll create later. I had to leave 38mm of pipe exposed.

Try to line up each wood block as you go.

Once the first piece of wood has dried (5 minute epoxy helps speed up the process) you can start adding more squares with ordinary wood glue.

I did the glue up 12 squares at a time, every 24th square was epoxyed in place.

Using a 5kg weight I could clamp the wood. You might need to get creative with what you have, but remember that this sin't going to take any load, so don't worry to much by the amount of clamping pressure.

On the final piece at the top use a wood square that accommodates a batten fixture. These are cheap and can be screwed into place. Make sure the fixture you use accepts the lamp share you plan on using. For now leave the light socket off, that'll get added later.

Step 4: Make the Base

I made the base using 3 pieces of wood running in one direction, then another 3 pieces running in the other direction. This continued the plywood look into the base.

Start by cutting 3, 90mm boards to a length of just over 270mm. On one of the boards drill a 13mm hole in the centre.

Glue the boards along their edges. Make 2 of these.

Using a small piece of copper pipe as a centre reference, glue the 2 panels together and clamp in place.

Once the glue has dried trim the excess wood off the base using a saw. By adding extra and then cutting it back you end up with a smooth, flush finish on the edge. I also routed the edge using a small round-over bit. This could be done with sandpaper.

Step 5: Sand, Assemble and Finish

Depending on how accurate you were with you centre holes will determine how much sanding you need to do. Once all the glue has dried use a belt sander (80 or 120 grit belt), running it back and forth along the shaft, to flatten any squares that didn't end up flush. A thickness would make light work of this step.

Once you've got it down to a flush surface switch to the random orbit sander and go over all the pieces.

For the final assembly you take the shaft and slide the copper pipe into the hole in the base. Use epoxy so that the copper adheres to the wood inside the shaft. Push the copper pipe in and hold it down with some kind of weight.

After that's dried go over the entire piece with some finish.

Now you can run your lamp cord through the copper pipe and attach the socket at the top using a couple screws. On the base you'll need some feet to elevate the base and allow the cord to run through. Add a plug and, if necessary, a switch.

Step 6: You're Done!


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