Introduction: Spalted Beech Table Lamp

I saw this lamp as a challenge in mental arithmetic, we’ve needed a table lamp in the living room for a few months now and my fiancé had shown me a lamp she liked. So after a pub lunch I lay on the sofa being a responsible parent thinking about lamps and how I could make one.

Eventually after an hour of thought I announced I was “Going to the Garage”. To the dismay of my fiancé and the joy of my children. And so it began.

I decided that I would create a tripod lamp with legs at angle still to be defined, central connection still to be defined and lampshade… well lampshade still to be considered altogether.

So off I went into the garage to make some tapered legs.

I like to make things in an ad-hoc fashion; I enjoy the challenge of piecing things together in my head and working within the limitations of the available resources.


Tools used:

  • Bandsaw
  • Chop saw
  • Drill
  • Drill press
  • No. 4 Plane
  • Mitre Gauge
  • HackSaw


  • 4” by 16” spalted beech (about £20)
  • 1m of 10cm square profile walnut
  • Titebond II
  • Pre wired lighting harness
  • 5mm Aluminium rod
  • White Paper

Step 1: Prep the Timber

At this point I knew I needed 4 legs (3 for the lamp and one spare for a mock up) and I had envisaged a lampshade made partly out of wood. So I took my stock spalted beech and completed three cuts on the chop saw, one to square of the end, one at approx. 25 cm and then the final cut at approx. 40cm. (all after ensuring the chop saw was square to the base)

I then took the two pieces of timber to the band saw where I cut the long piece down in into 4 legs and the smaller piece was re-sawed in a vertical position to give me two panels.

Step 2: Cut the Legs

So with the stock cut I could move onto cutting the legs, first I decided on the angle of the legs, using the Swanson square I decided 15 degrees was about right, I also noted at this point that I needed to ensure I did not mix up the orientation of the legs, they have a rectangular cross section rather than square.

After marking I realised it would be more sensible to cut the foot angle on the chop saw so I abandoned marking, put a stop in place for the shop saw, calibrated the chop saw to 15 Degrees and cut the first leg.

I then cut the smaller cut for the notch, this was again at 15 degrees on the chop saw but it was not a through cut, it stopped short at about 12mm from the edge.

So chop saw done I then created a quick jig for the band saw and made the longer cut for the notch.

Finally, changing the jig for the final time I cut the taper of the legs.

Step 3: Cut the Hex

This had me puzzled for about 15 minutes, I tried drawing the hexagon and failed eventually I just made the decision to start chopping wood, specifically at 60 degrees. Once I had man handled the lumbar and got it to a manageable size I set up a stop on the chop saw and then proceeded to cut the remaining 60 degree cuts.

  • Cut at 60 degrees
  • Decide on lengths of hex sides
  • Put stop in place on mitre saw
  • Cut at 60 degrees
  • Repeat

Step 4: The Lamp Shade

Re-saw the stock into two thinner panels

Re-saw those into three 50mm panels, my bandsaw is not 100% setup correctly so I cut wide before cutting to final dimension

  • Setup mitre saw for 60 degree cuts
  • On mitre saw cut 60degree cuts
  • Use stopper for repeated cuts
  • Assemble according to the grain pattern using frog tabe to help assembly Frog tape on table,
  • line up pieces,
  • glue,
  • zip tie instead of clamp
  • Cut walnut to size
  • Tape
  • Drill holes
  • Assemble

Step 5: Lamp Fixings and Connecting the Lamp Shade

So i took a punt and bought a wired lamp holder from amazon but unfortunately couldn't get the rose away from the cable to allow me to thread the cable through the wooden base. I also couldn't see how i could attach the rose to the base. I did a bit more googling and bough another rose from amazon for about £6. I could then drill a hole for the braided cable, thread it through and wire up the new lamp rose/bulb holder.

So to connect the lamp shade i decided to use more of the aluminium bar i'd previously used for the shade.

I set u a jig in the bench vice and bent 6 's' shaped pieces of aluminium. I then drilled 6 holes in the base and 6 in the bottom of the lampshade (on the drill press to ensure they were vertical). then i could use the s shaped aluminium bar to hold the lampshade in place. I didn't measure this or calculate how this should be done, that might have saved me some of the subsequent wrestling!

Step 6: Fin

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