Introduction: How to Make a Wooden Desk Lamp

About: My name is Mitch. I make videos about the things I make and what I learn along the way. I have a Youtube Channel called Made by Mitch. I also love the coffee and the outdoors.

I needed a lamp for my desk and I decided to try and make one myself instead of purchasing one. I saw a design similar to this online, but I wanted to change a few things about it including the cord out the back and adding a toggle switch. This was a fairly simple project with basic wiring. Enjoy!


  • Miter Saw
  • Random Orbit Sander
  • Angle Ruler
  • Drill
  • 1-¼" forstner bit
  • ½" forstner bit
  • Trim router
  • Torch -
  • Hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut the Boards to Size

The first thing I had to do for the lamp was cut all of the boards to size. It took a little bit of time to figure out the angles I would use for the lamp, but once I figured it out, I could cut all of the boards to the appropriate size. I found that it was easiest to start with one board and then keep adding boards until it is built out properly. If you cut all of the boards to size first, the boards may now line up perfectly.

Step 2:

Once the boards are cut to the correct size, I could prepare the boards for all of the lamp parts. The first thing I did was glue the top boards together and the bottom boards together. Then I set these aside to dry.

Next I used a trim router and made a channel in each the middle boards that would house the wiring. I made the channels ¼" deep on each board. Make sure you are paying attention to the path of the cable and don't route too much of the boards. If you do, it could expose some of the channels you create on the board ends. I accidentally did this in mine, so I wanted to warn you. After the glue is dried on the top and bottom parts, you can prep these for lamp parts.


For the top piece you will need to drill a hole in the bottom for the lamp socket to fit into. The size of the hole depends on your specific lamp socket. You will also drill a hole in the back for the wire to pass through. Make sure you line the hole up with the channel you just created with the router.


Now to the bottom section. First you will determine where the toggle switch will go and mark the bottom of the boards. After you have the placement marked, use a 1-¼" forstner bit and drill into the bottom of the boards roughly 1" deep. Do not go all the way through. Next use a ½" forstner bit starting in the middle of the hole created with the 1-¼" forstner bit and drill through the remainder of the board. After drilling the hole, test fit the toggle switch to see if it fits. You should be able to fit the nut on the top side of the switch. If you cannot, you may need to drill deeper the 1-¼" bit. When doing this, make sure you don't go all the way through. Do this until the toggle switch goes properly through the other side and you can fit the nut on. You can also use a router to get rid of extra material on the bottom so the toggle switch fits better. Once the hole is finished for the switch, you will need to drill a hole connecting the back of the lamp to the toggle switch hole for the wiring to pass through using a ½" forstner bit.

Step 3: Test Fit the Wiring

Once the wood parts are ready to go, you will need to test fit all of the electronics to make sure you have enough room. First install the toggle switch passing the wire through the hole you created and trimming to size. From the switch the wire will pass back through the hole and along the channel in the middle boards. It will then pass through the top board and into the lamp socket. Trim the wire to fit. I will attach a single switch wiring diagram to show how the circuit works. The big thing to keep in mind is not making your wires too short for final assembly. After everything is wired properly, test the lamp to make sure the circuit works properly.

Step 4: Shou Sugi Ban

Next I disassembled the lamp and sanded all of the wood parts using up to 220 grit sandpaper.

Next I tried something that I have never done before. I used the "shou sugi ban" finishing method. To do this, I used a propane torch and ran it along the boards slowly back and forth until the wood started to burn and blacken. For the wood to be officially shou sugi ban, it will need to be much more blackened than I did, I just wanted a slight burn on mine. This was very easy to do and I think it really lifted the overall look of the lamp.

Step 5: Final Assembly and Bottom

It was now time to assemble the lamp. To do this I first ran the wire along the holes, installed the toggle switch, and made sure the fit was still good. I had to splice the wires in one place for it to fit and I used a hot glue gun to hold the wires in place. I made sure everything still functioned properly, then I could attach all three parts together. I initially wanted to use wood glue to attach the parts together, but I quickly found out that because of the angles of the lamp, gluing would not hold and if it did, it was difficult to clamp. So I used 1-½" wood screws to attach the side piece to the bottom. Then I attached the back piece on using 1" wood screws. Next I could attach the top piece also using 1-½" screws. If I were to do this again, I would have counter sank the holes and used a dowel to plug them, however I didn't want to mess up the Shou Sugi Ban finish so I just left the exposed screws.

After the lamp was assembled, I made a bottom for the lamp so the wiring would not be exposed. To do this I just laid out a piece of ¼" plywood, set the lamp on it and traced around the outside of the lamp. I then cut the piece out using a jigsaw. I used the propane torch for the Shou Sugi Ban on the bottom and then I attached this to the bottom of the lamp using 1" wood screws.

After everything was assembled, I finished the lamp with a couple coats of polycrylic.

Step 6: Complete

After this, the project was complete! I hope this is helpful to you. This was a great piece to add to my desk and I love the way it turned out. Feel free to reach out to me if you need help or have any questions. You can send me a message or find me around the web. Thanks for reading!

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