Introduction: Copper & Walnut LED Desk Light

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

I had this idea of making a desk lamp using copper, walnut and leather. I love the combination of these materials and I thought it would be really cool to create a beautiful light that I could have on my desk and use everyday.

In the video I go over the process of coming up with the design for this lamp and ultimately creating it. Definitely watch the video for a much better perspective on the process and the different steps involved. For this instructable however, I decided to show simply the process of creating the ultimate design.

Step 1: Copper Arm

I used half inch copper pipes and elbow connectors for the arm, so first it was all about decided how large I wanted the fixture - and then cutting the pipes with a pipe cutter.

I really love using the copper pipes - these are half inch, they so cool since you can really be creative and flexible with how large you want something. Once I had the basic style of the arm, I first cut the lamp cord, and then I tried to feed it through all the way, and it was kind of hard to feed it in one shot, so I think I might have to break it up in sections.

Step 2: Leather Shade

Once the arm was more thought out, I worked on the shade.

I used 4 ounce veg tanned leather for the shade and I cut out a rectangular piece that makes a log when rolled.

I decided to use leather itself for structure, so first I made the shade - glued the ends together with contact cement, punched a series of holes to connect them and sewed a seam. I think this really think added a nice design touch. Then once the circumference of the shade was decided, it was easy to make a ring that fit perfectly inside.

Step 3: Copper Pipe

I ripped apart some electrical wiring to get some 12 gauge copper. I used a round object to create a round shape that fit inside the shade, and then the idea is to solder on the spokes to that which connects to the copper elbow pipe. I drilled four holes on that elbow pipe to get it ready for soldering.

Step 4: Soldering

One of the things that appealed to me the most about this project, was the idea to connect the copper pipes for real - using solder, so I'm adding the flux, heating the pipes and adding the solder. And then also connecting the spokes to the end part of the arm.

I'm doing some sanding and I don't mind the solder showing at all, I think it's kind of cool that you can see how it's made - and it feels more authentic. Once I had the two sections made here, I brought the lamp cord through, added some electrical tape on that section to protect it from the heat and then carefully and very quickly soldered the connecting point together, to not heat it up too much. So that joint wasn't done as well, because I was trying to make sure the wires didn't melt inside.

I used the dremel to clean it up a little bit and sand the pipe and that worked out great.

Step 5: Walnut Base

OK - next the base. I've got a really nice piece of thick walnut that I'm cutting down to size. Then I chamfering the edges using a plane, and it has a little bit of a live edge, so just carefully cleaning area up with a chisel.

First I'm just checking which line is hot and which is neutral and marking that out on the lamp cord.

Step 6: Walnut Underside

Then drilling a hole for the copper pipe to sit in the wood, and a slightly smaller hole for the cord to go all the way through. Now I need to make room underneath for the switch as well as for the cord to go in from the side. I also need to create some channels in between these holes on the underside where the wires can run, and I'm using a chisel for that.

Step 7: Wiring

Pulling in the power cord from the side or the back and now it's time to solder and connect everything together.

So it's a pretty simple connection.

I have hot and neutral coming in from the power cord - it splits off where the hot goes to the swith and then neutral goes to the lamp cord coming down from the copper pipe. Then the hot from the lamp connects to the switch.

Pulling the switch through and screwing it in place. And to secure everything, I used hot glue. And good idea to try it out - and it works.

Step 8: Finishing & Attaching the Shade

A little final sanding - then I did a wash coat of sanding sealer shellac. Let that dry while I attached the shade - and I just marked out where the spokes were, made holes and then sewed that in place - really simple.

And finally I put on some of my tung oil wax polish.

Step 9: Watch the Video

For a much better perspective on the lamp, make sure to check out the video.