Introduction: Beaded Form, Lasercut-turned Lamp Base

My next project was influenced by a Crate and Barrel lamp I have been lusting over. But I havent been lusting over the price... So nuts to the price. II'll make it myself! I have attached an image of it, for comparison.

Well, not exactly the same. Thats not how I roll. Plus, I have a sexy piece of Laurel Negro wood that is only 12'x3'x3'. Which will do quite nicely.

I wanted to go for a balance between the uniform machine-made pattern of the original design with a hand-made, slightly rough feel. So yes, off I go, back to my computer to whip up a design guide!

I made this at Techshop!

Step 1: Laser Cut the Reference

Step 2: Illustrator Template

I wont go into too much detail concerning the Illustrator file I made, based on the Crate and Barrel image, since I have other Instructables covering that. But a quick overview will give you the general idea.

I started with a series of circles evenly spaced vertically and slightly touching. I added ellipses on the left-side cracks between the circles. These selected ellipses are then copied over to a row on the right side.

Then I did my usual trick of the big-ass square over the whole caboodle, electing everything and using the Shape Builder Tool to to remove the outside area and ellipses. Unite the rest with the Pathfinder Tool. This leaves you with a filled object, which by reversing the fill to stroke, gives you the vector path ready for laser cutting.

To create a balance between the exact repetitiveness of the original design and a carved feel, I started moving very slightly individual points. I attached the final Illustrator file, for reference.

Once it looks fab, its ready to be cut onto cardboard, to take it into the wood shop to use as a turning guide.

Step 3: Turning Time

once setting up my wood on the lathe, and turning it on a low speed, I used the cardboard guide to add various pencil marks indicating where the curves fall and rise. I found it quicker to get the thin small scraper and parting chisels to make the end depth for each dip (i.e., where the pencil marks are). That way, it is easier to carve the slopes down to that end point. Make sure you always carve downwards and never uphill, so to speak.

Stopping the machine, checking the guide, then starting again is the basic workflow. The more you check, the easier it is to keep with the design.

As the wood becomes thinner, don't forget to move the tool rest closer into the wood.I have included some pics to show you how the carve evolves.

Step 4: Sanding and Oiling

Once you are happy with the piece, use sand paper to tidy up the piece. I find reversing the spin is easier to hand-sand the piece (with the Tool rest moved out the way).

Then, to really make the wood pop, I plan to give it a coat of either boiled linseed oil or tung (drying oils are best, since the oil gets totally absorbed by the wood grain). Then, perhaps a varnish. Perhaps.

Thats when I get around to buying these finishers...

happy turning!