Segmented Sidetable Lamp




Introduction: Segmented Sidetable Lamp

I have had an idea for a while now of adding corners to side tables and cupboards using loads of smaller pieces rather than using a bending technique. I decided that starting off fairly small was probably a good option for seeing how it could work or if it was a good idea.

I had recently replaced an old falling apart outdoor stair case with a new one and it just so happened that some of the handrail pieces were in fact hardwood (the rest was all softwood), so I salvaged those pieces ready for another project. It looks very much like Sapele which would make sense as it seems to be widely available in UK timber yards, so I thought I'd use this for my experimental side table.

I was thinking of having the pieces butting up to each other but after sketching it out I though it might be nice to have a gap between the pieces and have a light-source inside for a bit of ambient lighting.



Table saw and crosscut sled

Thicknesser (planer)


Staple gun

Lathe and woodturning tools

Sanders - belt and random orbital





Wood - I used Sapele and Ash

Clearcast resin

USB powered LED strip lighting


Step 1: The Design

I started by sketching my idea in to CAD. I have attached a PDF and dxf below for anyone who wants to have a look. Basically I wanted the diameters of each layer to vary to make a curve shape when looking at the edge of the table. This meant that I needed to vary the length of the pieces in each layer so I ended up with the same number of pieces in each layer. In order to calculate the length of each piece I first divided 360 by the number of pieces in the layer to get the angle of the arc a single piece would produce. Then knowing half of this angle and the radius I could use Pythagoras to work out the length of each piece.

Step 2: Top and Bottom of Table

I started cutting the Sapele to a constant width and then brought all the wood up to a constant thickness using my thicknesser (planer). This included the wood for the top, bottom and sides.

I then clamped a small pieces of Ash in between the two part of Sapele to make a wide stripy board.

Once dry I drew a circle on the top and bottom and cut them roughly to size using a band saw. I then found the centre, drilled a hole in the top and my router table so I could use a straight router bit top trim the edges to size, by rotating the wood against the running router bit. Once I had trimmed both parts I then moved the centre closer to the router bit to create a recess using the same technique as before. I then changed the router bit to a 45 degree bit to add a chamfer along the outer edge table top, using the router bearing to guide the cut.

Step 3: Making the Segmented Pieces

I wanted to make cutting these part as quick and easy as possible but also wanted to keep the end grain on the sides as these parts would be seen the least. I therefore cross cut the wide board in to small slices the same dimension as the length of the current piece, routered a chamfer on each side and then used a crosscut sled to cut that slice in to pieces. This meant that I could keep the cross cut sled on the same setting for all pieces as this set the height which is the same for all layers. Once I had enough pieces cut for each layer, I labelled these up, adjusted the cutting width on the mitre saw and carried on as before until I had hundreds of pieces cut!

Once they were all cut I rounded the edges over and sanded each side of each piece on the belt sander.

Step 4: First Layer

I got my nail gun, glue and all my pieces I needed for the first layer and made a very simple jig so I knew that I was positioning each piece at right angles to the edge of the circle. I started by applying a small amount of glue to the underside of the first piece and stapled it in to place. I then created a gap with a small bit of wood I had cut to width and fixed the second piece in the same way. After I had fixed a few I checked that the gap was correct by dry fitting the rest of the pieces but all was good and very little fettling was needed at the end of the layer. Once that layer was fixed I added a board to the top and clamped it all down and left for half an hour or so.

Step 5: Building Up the Sides

As I had calculated the length required for each layer I knew that the gap would be the same for all layers. So I fixed the first part offset the width of two gaps and carried on as I had for the first layer building up the layers very slowly.

Step 6: Final Layer

As I got to the final layer I needed a way of making sure that the top would fit to to the top layer. I decided to build up a platform inside the table with the top circular part being the same diameter as required for the table top. Once it was secured in to place I glued and stapled the final layer in to place. Once that layer was finished I tested that the top would fit (which it did thankfully).

Step 7: Adding the LED Strip

The USB powered strip lights were bought from eBay for £5 (around $7) and can be controlled by a smart phone via bluetooth. So you can turn the on/off and different colours according to your mood! What a bargain!

In order to accommodate the LED strip I routered a groove to the inside bottom of the table with a handheld router with a circle cutting jig attached. As the strip was self adhesive I used this to attach it to the groove with the LED's pointing inwards. The rest of the strip was taped in to place and the power bank will have a self adhesive Velcro pad attached to it to stop it from moving about when the table is moved.

Step 8: Tapered Turned Legs

I could only really imagine tapered turned legs on this table so got a bit more wood out, cleaned it up and glued a few bits together to make a piece around 25mmx25mm (1inx1in). I then cut the legs to length, found the centre and trued up a cylinder. Once I knew the maximum diameter of the legs I calculated the diameter at regular intervals along the leg and cut a groove at each of these positions to the correct diameter. All I had to do then is cut in between the grooves to get a (fairly) constant taper all the way down the legs, which could then be repeated for the other two. I finished the legs off with beeswax and oil.

I had also bought some fixings for turned legs which comprised a tapered plate, a length of 8mm threaded rod and an 8mm insert nut for each leg. All I needed to do was to screw the insert nut in to the end of each leg, screw the plates on to the base of the table and thread the legs on to the table.

Step 9: Clear Cast Resin Top

The final step was to make some concentric holes in to the top of the table. I thought it would be nice for some of the light to shine through the top as well as the sides. But needed to fill the holes so drinks/food/fluff etc. would get inside the table!

I marked a few circles as random diameters on the top and the added some lines, dividing the circle in to 12. I then used various sized drill bits to drill a nice pattern in to the top. I followed this with some sanding to tidy up the holes.

I then added masking tape to the underside of the table. I then mixed up my clear cast resin (bought from Amazon for £13) in a 50/50 ratio, mixed for a couple of minutes and filled up each of the holes. The next day I came to see how it all cured but most of it had leaked though the masking tape!!! Fortunately it hadn't all escaped and was generally blocking the bottom of the holes so I filled the holes back up and left over night again.

It did work the second time but did mean I had a lot of sanding to do to the underside as there was a fairly thick layer of resin there I didn't want. Anyway after a bit of sanding I went through the grits up to 400.

Step 10: Finishing Up

Now it was all complete I just needed to spend hours oiling the individual pieces with a small paint brush as there didn't seem to be any quick way of oiling it all!!! But I got there in the end and I think it turned out alright. The patterns that are cast on to walls etc. has a really nice effect and I like the way that the colour of the light can be changed too.

If I were to do this again I would maybe use a template circle when attaching each layer as the layers on this are a bit wonky, so that might help. I'd also think about how I could still have the removable top but then not see staples on the top layer - but not quite sure how yet!

Finally if you got this far and enjoyed my Instructable please vote for me in the lighting contest. Thanks!

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    14 hours ago

    It's really cool. I think you're understating the maths required to make sure all the gaps and blocks are consistent as the circumference increases though!! In addition to being nice, it's pelasing to look at from a geometrical perspective too.


    Reply 14 hours ago

    Thanks for the comment, I do like it!
    You would hope my maths is quite good as I am a engineer 😂

    MultiTale Alt
    MultiTale Alt

    Question 3 days ago

    I would love to learn how to make this in the future! It seems like an absolutely amazing idea that would strike awe to anyone who visits and sees it. How much did it cost to make as a whole? Also, is there any way to make this from pre-cut and/or already-made materials?


    Answer 3 days ago

    Thanks for the lovely comment!
    Cost wise it's quite difficult to say as the main part of the table (the sapele wood) was made from an old outdoor staircase I had just demolished. If you were to buy the wood I'd imagine that the wood would cost around £30-40 GBP ($40-55 USD). The clearcast resin was around £15 but I used about a third and the LED light was £5.....I already had a power bank.
    It might be quite difficult to find pieces of wood that were pre-cut to such a small length. Any other materials could be could almost make the sides from Lego for example but the top, bottom and legs might be tricky!

    MultiTale Alt
    MultiTale Alt

    Reply 3 days ago

    Ah, okay! This helps quite a bit, and I may eventually try to create a version of this with different materials, mostly to make it work to my will. Thanks for your helpful answer!


    5 days ago

    Amazing idea. Altough not my style, I'll keep that in my favs.


    Reply 4 days ago

    Thanks for the comment I'm glad you like the idea :)


    Tip 10 days ago

    When lighting "holey" structures from the inside, you will get brighter results by painting all the inside surfaces of the wood white. The light that misses the holes will bounce around inside until it finds another hole. (You could also laminate a thin layer of white veneer on one side of your stock for the sides before you cut it up, & under the top & on the inside of the bottom.)
    For alignment templates, cut them from corrugated cardboard. Put a (temporary) post coming up from the bottom in the center. This post can be glued to the lowest cardboard circle. Each subsequent circle of cardboard can have a hole to fit over the post. That way, every layer is aligned. On the last layer, apply glue & forget the staples! After all is positioned, put board & weight on top. If the glue swells up & pieces move out of place before you can place them all, place & glue only some (put dummies on the other side), then apply the weight & dry. Then glue the rest in another pass.
    For strength, I would glue a thin ring of wood on top of the perforated part (that is a permanent part of the sides). If you do that, you can staple everything except that last ring.


    Reply 4 days ago

    Some good tips there thanks!!
    I would definalty use some kind of template, it would definatley help - cardboard would work fine. MDF might be better if I had a load going spare and wanted to make a few.