Introduction: Custom Pendant Light and Wall Hook
We live in a barn. Well a barn apartment. Our apartment, on the top floors, has a lofted area built under the gable of the roof. We tuck our couch under the gable which is a dark area in the house. In order to brighten up the couch we could have put lamps on the side tables, but wheres the challenge in that?
When ever I tackle a new project, I go through a series of design iterations in order to land on a final design. Rarely am I satisfied with a design before moving to fabrication, so I treat fabrication as a step of the design process.
It is also important to understand your ability and limitation. What type of tools do you have access to? How much experience do you have with a method? I find it difficult sometimes to look past flaws or defects in projects. However, many people will not notice them like you will, and they add character and charm to a piece. Never let them discourage you, use them as a learning experience and a flaw you must overcome!
In this Instructable, I will guide you through my design and fabrication process. This lamp is solving a unique problem in a unique way, and thus you can learn from more than just a step by step fabrication!
The final piece was made from
- Black speckled Corian
- Oak Veneer
- Pendant string light from Amazon
- Bronze finish screws
Tools I used:
- X-carve CNC
- Router w/round over bit
- Palm Sander
- Table saw
- Angle grinder
Step 1: Design
Like all projects, I started on Pinterest. Many of my projects start with a deep board of ideas and techniques to explore. I had a design in mind for the final product, and used this Pinterest board with design iterations within Rhino to refine the shape and layout.
I wanted a Mid-century Modern style hook, that conformed to the 55 degree pitch of the wall. For the pendant light, I wanted to use the oak veneer that I had gifted to me in order to form a free form bent wood shade. Look to image 1 for some of my most influencing ideas from my board.
Next, I ruffed out the shape of hook I was looking for our of cardboard. This will give me a sense of scale within the space, and help properly lay out the angle with the unique wall slope. See image 2 for a few snaps from this late night pajama process.
I then took the design process into Rhino, my preferred modeling program. I start with adding the line work that illustrates the pitch of the wall behind the couch. Then, uploading an image of the cardboard template, I sketched out the shape and refined it. See image 3.
I rounded the inside angle to add a smooth transition to the lower portion that will have a hook to hold cord slack. I also rounded the upper corner that the cord will rest on. The 1" hold in the center will allow the cord to transition from sitting on top of the hook to hanging down to plug in. I will illustrate this later on.
I quickly sketched out a lamp in order to get a template to cut the veneer. The template was simple, I extruded a 4" circle at 15 degrees to be 6 inches long. In Rhino there is a command called Extrudecrvtapered to easily perform this operation. I then used the command unrollsrf, which will unroll a surface to be flat. See picture 4 for this process.
Step 2: Cut the Hook
There are multiple methods to shape the hook. One common method that I would employ is to print and trace the shape onto a piece of MDF. Then using a jigsaw and belt sander, shape the MDF to match the printed shape and a flush router bit to shape the finish wood. However with the help of the CNC I can precisely replicate the design without any hassle of making templates.
- Export the hook line-work in the file format for your CNC program. To use on the X-carve, I am exporting as an SVG. Assure that the line-work is closed.
- Import the SVG file into Easel. The lines will import to cut out area. Quickly switch the cut method to inside for the hole, and outside for the hook.
- I am using a 7/8" oak board material, set this thickness within Easel. I mounted this board on the spoil board, being sure to avoid placing the clamps inside the travel of the router.
- Mount the bit within the router and home the machine and bit height. I am using a 1/4" spiral upcut bit. This will lift the chips up and out of the cut.
- I started by cutting the hole first, then cutting out the hook in a separate process. This proved to be a good idea, as the leftover stock of the hole was knocked out of the hole by the bit.
- Remove the hook from the stock, mine just fell out but using a small handsaw or knife can make quick work of the tabs.
- To finish down the hook, I sanded down the tabs and the faces with 60 grit sand paper by hand. I then used a round over router bit to round over the 1" hole.
Step 3: Cut Slot on Hook
I decided to cut a V shaped channel on the top of the hook in order to hold the cord in place between the hole and front.
- set the table saw blade to 15 degrees. Use a speed square to denote a 15 degree angle on a bevel gauge.
- Use the bevel to help set the saw blades angle. Raise the blade up high and rotate the blade towards the gauge. Note in the video that I am looking at the gap between the blade and gauge, you can see light passing through.
- I set the height of the blade at 1/8" using a height gauge.
- Set the fence to be exactly half the width of the hook away from the highest tip of the blade.
- Run the hook through twice in order to cut a V shape channel.
Step 4: Cut Tapered Pendant Top
Moving on to the pendant light, I need just 2 parts to assemble the light: The veneer shade and 4" lid cut at 15 degrees.
- I cut the 'lid' of the light out of some extra maple laying around. I started by marking out a 4-1/2" square on the board and cutting it out on the table saw.
- I quickly snuck off to use a drill press to set a 1/8" hole into the center of the marked square.
- Set the table saw blade at 15 degrees.
- Grabbing a scrappy table saw sled, I attached the board to the sled using a nail. To align the block correctly, I made a mark on the side to denote a 4" block, or 2 inches from the center.
- The plan is to cut away scrap from the board around in a circle, till there is very little material left. At that point, I can spin the board around the nail against the blade in order to clean it into a circle at 15 degrees.
- I finished it off with 60 grit sand paper to smooth it off.
I needed to add a hole through the center of the piece to attach the shade to the lamp cord. If I had a set of large forstner bits I could complete this with a drill press. Since I did not, I used the CNC machine.
- Fasten the top onto the spoil board. Home the machine and set the material height.
- In order to drill the hole exactly in the center, I set the machines zero point to the center of the circle.
- Within Easel, draw 2 circles at 0,0. Once circle slightly larger than the width of the sockets thread, a second hole at the width of the flange below the socket. Set the inner hole to cut all the way through. Set the outside hole to cut half the depth of material.
- Run the machine with a 1/4" bit, then clean up with sand paper.
Step 5: Cut and Wrap Veneer
I had some oak veneer that was donated to me. It seems to be a cut off quarter sawn oak, which means it splintered and cracked a bit when I was working with it. You can purchase veneer from many fine woodworking stores like Rockler.
- I adjusted the template by making one side longer by an inch to allow for more overlap. After rotating the template so it would fit on the veneer, I projected a straight line from the quad point to square one side of the template.
- Print the template. Having only 8.5x11 paper I needed to print 2 sheets and attach them together. Then cut along the dotted line.
- Layout the template onto the veneer then trace along the edge. Use a sharp knife with a new blade to cut the veneer. Do not apply too much pressure, allow the blade to cut or it will split the veneer.
- Wrapping the veneer was the most difficult part. I worked it around the tapered top slowly using painters tape to assist.
- Once I am satisfied I am on the right track, I start to apply glue as I work around the piece and attach tape to hold the veneer to the top.
- To finish off, I applied glue to the overlapping pieces, being sure to apply glue all the way to the edge so there are no gaps.
- Grabbing a scrap piece of wood, I clamped the overlap down to the table to set. I over applied glue to the top and there was a fair bit of squeeze out to clean up.
- Next day, I returned and sanded down the surface GENTLY. I emphasize gently because when sanding, I did rip the veneer in a few places.....
Step 6: Cut and Polish the Corian
In order to attach the hook into the wall, I decided to use a backer board to make for easy instillation. This material could have easily been made of oak, but I had plenty of scrap Corian at my disposal.
- I cut a scrap piece down to 4" by 5" on the table saw.
- Using a router with a 45 degree taper bit to chamfer the edges. Set the bit to 1/8" and run the top of the Corain around the bit.
- I drilled 4 holes on the front face to attach screws into the wall. I then flipped it and drilled 2 holes into the back for screws to be attached to the hook. Sand the face around these holes with 60 grit paper for a nice contact surface.
- Sand.... sand some more.... and sand again.... Finishing Corian is exactly like the millions of Resin projects. Sand from 100 grit up to 600 grit working in a circular motion to remove any visual marks.
- Use a plastic polish to finish up. Work in a circular motion with a rag to polish and clean off with an all purpose cleaner.
Step 7: Cut and Shape the Hook
I made a quick and dirty hook with the few tools I had. This will require an angle grinder, plenty of clamps, and some strength. You can always buy a hook, which I will likely do later.
- I cut some scrap steel to 7/8" by 4" long using an angle grinder.
- Clean up the cut with a Dremel tool or a hand file.
- Sand down the steel using 100 grit sand paper to smooth it out.
- I wanted to bend a hook shape and keep a 2" flat area to attach to the lamp. Clamp the 2 inch area to the table or scrap board, so that it will not bend.
- Using a clamp, scrap wood, and a hammer bend the steel around to shape into a hook. This is 50% fineness and 50% hammer...
- Drill 2 holes on the flat portion to attach to the lamp.
- Once I like the shape, I sanded down again with 150 grit sandpaper before applying a coat of black spray paint.
Step 8: Finish the Parts
- I sanded the hook and shade with 220 grit sandpaper. Wipe off the dust with a rag.
I used some black tack nails along the lid and one in the flap to fasten the veneer to the top better.
- I wanted to leave a natural look for the shade, however I couldn't just use oil as the veneer was cracked in places. I used Polycrylic along the shade, applying a slightly thicker amount where cracks where, and aligning them together gently. Polycrylic has a nice glue like quality that will help prevent further cracks and hold those that have formed together.
- I finished the hook with Provencal Minwax stain. Apply a coat with a rag and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping off the excess.
- I notice I forgot to add the hole between the V channel into the 1" hole.... Using a 5/16" bit in a hand drill made quick work of this. Then I sanded quick and stained this area.
- Once dry, sand the shade with 220 grit to smooth it out.
- Once the hook is dry, I applied a coat of poly.
Step 9: Assembly and Installation
- Attach the hook to the Corian. I used a liberal amount of super glue and aligned the back of the hook to the face of the Corian. I propped it up on a box to set.
- Once set, drill a pilot hole through the back holes on the Corian into the wood. Drive 2-1/4" screws through the pilot holes in the Corian. Make sure the holes in the Corian are larger than the screws, as it is hard to screw through otherwise.
- Feed the lamp cord through the top hole into the 1" hole. This lamp cord has a socket that can be disassembled. Each is different, but for this I had to push a pin inside the top to unscrew the threaded top. Then unscrew the plastic on the cord to expose the wires that can be detached with 2 small screws.
- thread the cord threw the hole from the 1" hole side. Make sure all the plastic bits are off the cord first.
- Once through, reattach the socket.
- To attach to the wall, use a stud finder to locate a good attachment point. I noticed that, this being a barn, there was a large roof joist that passed in a relatively good position to set the lamp. I tested it by just holding the lamp against the wall to see how it looked.
- Screw the lamp into the wall. Use a square and your eyeballs to make sure the lamp is square.
- Screw on the lamp shade and insert a bulb. Plug in the cord and wrap any slack around the hook.
- Sit back with a good book and enjoy!
Step 10: Wrapping Up
This was a fantastic project! I will be making at least 2 more hooks for the apartment, and will mess around with other designs for lamp shades.
Thank you everyone for making it this far! If you enjoy my work, follow me on Instagram @Designer_Of_
Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, an give me advice below! I love to learn from the community here on Instructables!
Second Prize in the