Introduction: Lamp From Scrap Wood

1. I made a lamp out of scrap wood in my garage. The tools I used included a tape measure, pencil, mitre saw, air compressor, and trim nailer. The only materials were scrap wood, nails, and a $9 lamp kit from Walmart.

2. I got the idea after thinking for a while about productive ways to use all the scrap wood in my garage to fill a need in my house. I worked the entire project by myself from design to completion. At first, I planned on having it be straight up and down, but then I decided that curving it would add some character and appeal to the design.

3. I completed the project at home. It was tied in with the finishing of the addition to our house, because that is where all the scrap wood came from. It also tied into my physics class because we were studying center of mass and how it affects objects.

4. The biggest challenge and surprise was to get it to stand firm, straight up. This is also the accomplishment I am most proud of. It stands straight up at 67" tall and can handle being bumped without falling over. If I would change anything, I would probably use a little wood glue to really make each connection solid.


1.  Begin by taking inventory of your scrap wood. Set aside some of the wider pieces for the base.

2. Cut the pieces for your base. You will need about 10 pieces about 8" to 10" wide. This will provide you lamp with good stability.

3. Cut the pieces for the rest of the tower. The pieces will need to be between 4" and 8" long. The number will depend on the desired height and the thickness of the boards. This can be easily calculated by taking the height in inches and dividing this by the average width of the boards. Then subtract the number used for the base. Keep in mind that the shade will add 8" to 16" depending on the shade.

4.  Stack the boards to see if the height and overall look are what you want. 

5. Now, we get to the actual assembly.

6. Measure the diameter of the cord you will be using. You will need a drill bit 1.5 to 2 times as big as this measurement. This will help the cord pass through easily and not scrape and expose bare wire. You will also need a air nailer and a compressor. The nails will need to be almost twice the width of your boards (i.e. 3/4"  boards means 1-1/4" nails)

7. The bottom board requires special attention, but after that it is the same for the rest of the boards. The bottom board needs to have a hole drilled at an angle for the cord to pass out the side and come up in the center of the bottom board.

8. Once this is achieved, just drill a hole in the center of the next board feed the cord through, and tack it in place with a couple nails down into the preceding board. Repeat until all boards have been used. Vary the angle of each board to get the "stacked" look.

9. A couple of tips:
               1. Make sure to leave enough cord at both ends so that you can connect to the lamp assembly at the top and reach the outlet        at the bottom.
               2. To get a curve drill the hole slightly at an angle and also a little off center. Doing this a few time in a row  will get you a nice curve. Go the opposite way to cut back and center the mass.
                3.  Make sure not to put the nails into the lamp cord.

10. Once all the boards are tacked in place, attach lamp assembly as directed in instructions that come with kit.

11. Always be careful and wear protection when using power tools and air tools.

Lamps & Lighting Contest

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Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

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