Introduction: Veneer Wood Lamp

About: I make stuff

Another lamp I made. With veneer wood, again.

Tools used:

  • handsaws
  • measuring plate/tape, something with size units on it
  • pencil
  • an cheap old band saw
  • a stanley/exacto knife
  • mitter box (for dirty clamping hax)
  • drill
  • small files
  • cable stripper (you can use your stanley knife as well, I've done this before, but it's a little fumbly)
  • cable cutter
  • various screwdrivers
  • camera (to make those precious pictures)
  • laptop (to draw those pretty plans)
  • hands (couldn't do it without 'em)

Materials used:

  • 1cm multiplex plate
  • ~0.6mm maple veneer wood (other thicknesses might work for other kinds of wood, it just needs to be translucent enough to be pretty).
  • regular wood glue
  • sawdust
  • toggle switch
  • G9 socket
  • Electric wire
  • Brain juice
  • Time (a great big ocean of time)

Step 1: Think

I gave this lamp a little more thought than the previous ones. My other projects were things I just started making spontaneously.

Before I started I had some ideas floating around in my head and I made some quick sketches on this. Once I had these I made a paper "prototype", just to see what size seemed nice for a lamp.

Step 2: Cut

Very important when cutting your boards is that you keep the thickness in mind. My boards were about 1cm thick.

I've added a drawing with the measurements I used for cutting. The dimensions might seem a bit random at first, but there is a balance to it. When everything is assembled the cutout square will be 100mm². This square will be 10mm off from the top and sides and 10mm off the center of the lamp.

Cut the "side plates" 4 times and cut 8 smaller pieces used for support on the inside.

The board with the hole in the middle will later be used to mount the light socket on. You best wait with the hole until you know which socket you want to use and how you want to mount it.

Step 3: Glue

The next thing to do is glueing everything together. When you precisely followed the measurements from the previous step everything should fit very nicely. If you — like me — use simple hand tools this can be a little difficult to do. I had to sand some parts down after glueing.

I used a sort of miter box as a base to put everything in. I put some newspaper in between because I did not want any glue on the miter box.
You could also put a piece of rope around everything and wind it up with a pencil to tighten it.

In the added drawing you can see how everything fits together. The second drawing represents the assembled result.

PRO TIP: you can never use too much clamps, clamps are awesome.

Step 4: (optional) Fix Errors

Because I used simple hand saws things did not fit very well. So I used some of the saw dust, mixed with glue, to fill up some gaps. On another edge I added two strips of veneer wood to make it level.

PRO TIP: make sure things fit before you glue.

Step 5: Add Veneer Wood

Apply glue to a single surface at a time and make sure it is spread evenly. Put the glued side to the veneer wood and put some weight on it to "clamp" it down.

For the top edge cut some strips and glue them on.

When everything is glued and the glue has set you can start sanding it. That is the part I love most, feeling the wooden surface turn smooth is so lovely. Start with "rough" sanding paper (not too rough because you don't want to destroy the veneer wood) and gradually work down to finer grains. I went up to 280 or something and then I switched to some sort of polishing abrasive.

Some holes need to be drilled, so wait a little before adding you final finish.

Step 6: Mounting the Switch and Socket

Before you start with the electrical parts, you need to know where you want to mount them.

First of, I drilled a hole the size of the socket in one of the parts I cut out earlier (that's the 80x100 part). With most sockets (I guess) there comes a ring with threads on the inside. I glued that into the hole I made to provide a steady base for the socket. This plate can rest on the small beams glued on the inside of the lamp.

Then I drilled a hole in the front of the lamp to put the switch through. I used an "on-on" toggle switch of which I used only one "on". The hardware store did not have "on-off" toggle switches in stock, so I had to settle with this one. I made the hole pretty tight to make sure the fit was nice and snug. On the inside I glued some stuff next to the switch so I could tap a key (small tapered piece of wood) inbetween to fix it (later).

PRO TIP: check if the threads on the switch are long enough to fit all the way through your plates/boards/woodstuffs before you start making things like a madman.

On the bottom of the back I made another small hole to put the cable through. The cable I used was a little flat, so I drilled a small hole which I widened with a small file. (Actually an iron file, but it works on wood as well, just tap out the wood dust every once in a while.)

Step 7: Cables and Stuff

Putting the cables together is a pretty straightforward thing (for me). I first attached all cables to the switch, before placing it into the lamp. It helped that I did not fix the socket mount with glue, this way I could maneuver my cables a lot easier.

PRO TIP: put the short end of the cable through the hole in the lamp first. This way you don't have to pull the cable all the way through later.

When all cables were in place I put the socket and switch in their place in the lamp. And fixed the plug with a key (see previous step).

And finally you can mount the plug. This means you're done and when everything went well, your lamp won't catch fire or explode!

BONUS TIP: For more info on mounting sockets, switches and all that stuffs check out the lamps class. I must admit that I don't follow all the instruction there precisely, but I'm used to doing it differently.

Step 8: Officially Done

Unless you have not yet oiled - or put some other type of finish to - your wood you're done. When all wood is done I can hardly ever wait to finish the wood so this was already done when I got to this point :)

You can now admire the beautiful pattern of the wood as the light shines through.

Another great part of the "Officially Done" step is the gifting! This lamp was made to order (so I had to ask money, which makes it feel a little less like a gift from the heart, but I put a lot of love into it anyway).

Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017