Lastly on design, I wanted the lamp to also function as a pseudo night light so I gave it some high intesity LEDs for an underglow. Let's get started:
Costs: Hickory $26 for 1" x8' long x6" w
Bulbs: $10 from eBay shipped.
Radiometer: $12 from Edmunds Scientific
Meters: about $8 each from a lump sum purchase from eBay.
Leds: $2.69 each x 7 = ~$20
Dimmer & Pushbutton sitches: $12 total.
Wood choice is Hickory. I never worked with it before, so I thought I would try it. It will probably be my first and last project in hickory too. It worked like a cross between walnut and very hard oak. Very oily and a very nice grain structure as in walnut but it is VERY chippy. I knew this going into the project so I kept all cuts at 90 degrees - no routing edges. You really need special hook angles to route/shape this kind of wood to prevent chipping which I did not have. Even then, straight cuts had some small grain chips I had to sand and sand to make it look good. Also I knew hickory can be a tough wood to stain (blotchiness as in maple is an good comparison). But that doesn't bother me as much because I think it just shows the character of the wood better. On a small piece you can get by with this (see the end piece is soooo much lighter than the front). On a floor it would look terrible.
I finished the hickory first with and oil based Ebony Stain from Minwax. This stain was jet black and I had it in my stock but I knew the hickory would only really abosrb it very sparingly. It colored the wood perfectly to what I wanted as a BASE, which I then followed up with a walnut tung oil from Watco. My feelings on Minwax after using several of their products is that the best place for their finishes is in the can. I have had several issues on several types of wood with their product and they simply are not a quality stain. In this case it took FOREVER to dry - even at 72 degrees F and rather dry air. Here I have my pieces by my air vent to help force the stain to dry. I have had good luck with the tung oils, only know that they do not do as a good of a job getting the piece dark. Hence the two step process I used. In a nutshell, I got the depth of color I wanted but after waiting about three days for the stain to be dry enough to move forward with the tung oil.
Then I started to prep for the main devices (Meters and the radiometer). I used a cut-off wheel on my dremel to carefully cut the pastic base off the glass body pf the radiometer. It was a very careful process as the base was rather thin nearest the glass neck. Since the glass is also very thin and to help prevent a possible wheel skip from hitting the glass directly, I wrapped the glass body in duct tape first. Maybe it wouldn't have helped, but it gave me the confidence to start! Note I took several passes cutting off small chunks to keep the pressure off the glass as much as possible. A mistake here is $12 from Edmund's Scientific co. Whew! That's done.
Sometimes pulling the meters apart is impossible due to the original manufacturer gluing the outer shell and inside shells together. This was the case on the 120 VAC meter, so I CAREFULLY used my dremel cut off wheel and cut into the meter wall from the bottom and mounted the LED to shine up through that hole. Sorry no picture... I forgot to take one. I then "sealed" up the hole with electrical tape wrapped around the body. That and the thickness of the face plate holds it perfectly where it will easily stay. On the DC Ammeter I just siliconed the led right in the direct center of the magnet inside the unit. After assembly, test the meter function and the LED again or you may find something binding of the needle or not working at all after you placed it in the case and have to start over. Always check your "tough" work before moving on - it'll save you troubleshooting and disassembly time. I continue to re-learn this point on every projecct it seems. UGH!
The underglow LEDS were fitted to a small square of plexiglass (white opaque) that serves as a small bracket to hold and to fasten them to the underside of the case. They are soldered on the backside then screwed to a relief area cut into the underside piece. I tested these as well before moving on.
I also had to cut the dimmer's mounting ears off for a closer fit in the width of the case dimension. It still had two rivet holes I mounted a small wood screw in to the rear of the face plate.
Also prewire as much as you can with long leads then cut to length on final assembly. Wire is fairly cheap and it will help you get a good fit / space saving when it goes together instead of having to resolder connecctions or have a rat's nest of too much wire in the case.