Introduction: Jack Daniel's Edison Touch Lamp With Barrel

Here’s a project that I had been wanting to work on for nearly two years! I see tons of these awesome upcycled bottle lamps, and I thought to myself, “Someday when I finish this bottle, I’m going to have to make a lamp with it!” I knew I wanted to make it different than the ones I had seen, so I thought, “Why not make it touch activated and be on a really cool stand?!” Well, I did and here it is! :-)

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Empty glass Jack Daniels bottle (but you can use any bottle you’d like)
Edison Bulb:

Touch lamp control:

Bulb socket:

Lamp Cord:


1 1/2" x 1/16" -4ft Aluminum Flat:

Polyurethane Pallet wood (or any other wood)

Portable Table saw:

Spade Bits:

Palm sander:




Step 2: Cutting the Staves

First, I took apart some pallets I had been saving for a while and took out the nails. Then, before I ripped the boards (cutting longways), I set the blade to 18 degrees* on the table saw and set the fence about two inches away from the top of the blade. Once I cut the first side, I didn't have to move the fence again. I simple rotated the board over to cut the other side. After you cut both sides, the board will have a V-shape.
The length of each stave will determine the height of the barrel. I decided to cut my pieces to 9” because that seemed proportional to the bottle I used.

* If you take 360 degrees and divide it by 10 (for each stave), then divide that by 2 (two cuts per stave), then that gives you 18.

Step 3: Making and Cutting Groove for Lid

After cutting the staves, I cut a few pieces and glued them together to make a mini board that was bigger than the circumference of the barrel. It helps if all the l pieces are the same thickness because I’ll be cutting a groove about ¼” from the top of each stave. I used a scrap piece of the same thickness as the board for the lid so I could determine the width of the groove.
I set the blade height to be around half the height of the stave. I didn’t use a stop block, but you can certainly use one if you have one. I just marked with a pencil on the sled my starting and end points and made those two cuts first, then I nibbled little by little until the groove was complete.

To determine the approximate circumference of the lid, I used some tape to roll the staves together and placed the barrel on top of the board that will be used for the lid. I traced the outer and inner circumference of the barrel, then I traced a concentric circle between the traced circumferences. This will be my approximate cut line.

Step 4: Glueing the Staves and Shaping the Barrel

After dry fitting the lid on the barrel, I laid out the staves on top of blue painters tape and I added glue to the edges of each stave. This was like the third or fourth time I tried to put the barrel together with the lid, but if you saw the video, it was pretty windy and I didn't align the staves perfectly straight. One of the staves hit the lid and it was knocked out, but I was determined to get it on this try so I added small pieces of tape to the seams just to hold it in place temporarily while I added more tape around the barrel.
I let it dry overnight, and the following day I use an electric planer to shave down the seams to make it more round. I rolled the barrel back and forth a few times just to see how smooth it rolled. I was pretty much satisfied when it rolled pretty smoothly. After this, I wanted to taper the top and bottom of the barrel to give it a more curved look. [I also used the electric planer for this part.] Once it was tapered, I proceeded to sand the barrel to get the majority of the dirt off the old pallet boards, but I didn't want to sand it completely off because I still wanted it to have that aged look.

Step 5: Adding the Metal Brace

Now it was time to make the metal braces that traditionally hold the staves together. I used aluminum flat that is 1/16” thick by 1 ½” wide that I got from one of the Home Improvement stores. So I did this part two ways I. First I place the aluminum on the barrel more or less where I was going to position it and then I bent the aluminum around the barrel all the way around until I had enough aluminum that went around the circumference of the barrel. Then, I drilled 2 holes at the end of the aluminum piece and I use these holes to mark where I was going to pre drill holes on the barrel. Adding the screws helped hold the aluminum into place. After that, I rolled the aluminum back around the barrel and marked where I wanted to make my holes for the other end.
I tried it that method first, but then I realized I was fighting with the aluminum because it wanted a spring back out, so what I decided to do next, was after I cut the aluminum I went back to the garage and I use the vise to bend at the aluminum into a tighter circle. This actually helped out great because the aluminum brace actually held itself onto the barrel without my help. Please keep in mind that the first set of screws were only being used to hold the aluminum in place. I ended up buying some machine screws so that all the screws are uniform. The screws I bought came with nuts and that worked great because they help keep all the screws into place and later they were used to secure the touchpad wire to one of the screws.

Step 6: Adding the Light Socket and Touch Control

For the light bulb socket, I simply placed it in the center of the lid, traced around it with a pencil, and then used a 1 ¼” spade bit to drill all the way through. I separated and stripped the two ends from an extra cord I had. If you twist the wires, it makes it easier to bend the ends into the half loop that will wrap around the screws on the socket. Before attaching the wires to the socket, I fed the cord through a small hole into the barrel. (This was pure luck that this one piece had a hole. If your piece doesn't have a hole, simply drill one that will accommodate the cord and the touchpad cable.) After inserting the cord, I followed the instructions on how to tie an underwriters knot and then put the socket back together. I learned that this type of knot is used in electrical wiring as strain relief to prevent a cable from being pulled from electrical terminals when it gets yanked (Wikipedia).
I cut the touchpad off of the touch lamp control and stripped the end of the cable, took an extra screw and roll the cable around it to make a loop. I put this loop around one of the screws that I used to attach the aluminum brace and used an extra nut to secure it in place.

Step 7: Cutting the Bottle

NOTE: Please do this step at your own risk, and use proper protection.
I’d like to admit that this is the first time I ever tried to cut a glass bottle. :-) To cut the glass bottle, I simply put the glass cutter at the height that I wanted to removed from the bottle. Note that I scored the glass bottle near the bottom, but I hadn’t realized it was thicker than the glass in the middle of the bottle. As you can see in the other picture, I ended up scoring above the original spot because the bottle wouldn't cut. I used a candle as a heat source for about 2 ½ minutes while rotating the bottle, then I immersed it in an ice bath. I helped it a little bit by tapping it with the back of a knife. My only regret was that I sort of free-handed the second score, so the cut wasn’t clean. I did placed the bottle over the candle a few more times and that helped.

Step 8: Fixing the Bottle (Only If You Messed Up Like Me)

I went over it with the Dremel to flatten the edges down a little more. (I don’t know if the was the friction or the vibration, but some pieces chipped off at the score line. Sweet!) I then added blue painters tape on the inside and then the outside. Last, I added dimensional magic by Mod Podge and let it dry over night, standing up of course.
The following day I took off the tape and the dimensional magic worked out pretty well. Next, I placed a piece of sandpaper on the table, flipped the bottle over and sanded it so everything was level. I was pretty happy with the results because the dimensional magic is liquid and it pretty much leveled it self, so not a lot of sanding was necessary.

Step 9: Final Results

To finish off the barrel, took it apart and put on some clear satin poly to bring out the color and give it some protection. I let this dry and added a second coat, sanding in between.
Thanks for sticking around. I’m so glad I finally got the chance to work this project! After making this lamp, I did some reflection and here are some things that I would change because I do plan on making more of these. When adding the braces, I would overlap them and use two screws instead of four so it looks more like a traditional barrel. I would definitely take my time when cutting the bottle and make sure that I score the bottle better next time. I will be experimenting with cutting a hole at the bottom of the bottle as well.

I hope you liked this project because I loved it. I will be giving this lamp away in the next week to one of my YouTube subscribers, so please don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube and watch the video to find out how I’m going to select the winner. Thanks!

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Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017