Introduction: Walnut Edison Bulb Lamp DIY

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

In this post (don't miss the video above for more details), I show you how to build an Edison Bulb Lamp. My Edison Bulb Lamp is built from Walnut, but you could use any type of wood. This is a relatively simple build and the result is a super cool, vintage looking lamp. Enjoy!

P.S. If you don't have a table saw, you could build this box without the mitered corners and get a similar effect.

Step 1: Disassemble Crappy IKEA Lamp

I've had this lamp hanging around my garage for a year. I don't like it, and I finally decided I should upcycle it. If you don't have a lamp to tear apart, here are a few items you'll need:

Step 2: Assemble Circuit

This is a super simple electronics project, no soldering necessary. Basically, there are two wires coming from the wall, a hot and neutral. The toggle switch controls the hot wire. Simple!

Step 3: Cut the Pieces of the Box to Size

I made my box from some leftover walnut scraps, so the dimensions don't precisely match what would be available at your home center. If you want to build this with stock lumber, use a 1x6. The size of the box is 7" long by 4" wide by 4" tall.

Step 4: Cut the Miters on the Sides of the Box

The box is made up of 5 pieces of solid walnut with a ¼" plywood bottom. I cut miters on all edges of the top and three of the four edges on each side piece. The bottom edge of the side pieces will have a rabbet cut into them in the next step.

Again, if you do not have a table saw, you could assemble a similar box using butt joints rather than miter joints and get a very similar result.

Step 5: Cut the Rabbet Into the Bottom Edge of the Sides

As stated above, the bottom is made of ¼" plywood. To house the bottom, I cut a matching rabbet on the bottom edge of the sides. To do this, I made two passes on the table saw, taking ⅛" off per pass. If you don't have a table saw, you could do this with a chisel. It doesn't need to be super pretty, it will never be seen.

Step 6: Drill Holes in the Top for the Bulb and Switch

Measure your socket and switch and drill some corresponding holes. My bulb socket needed an 1 ⅝" hole and my switch needed a ½" hole. I used a pair of Forstner bits on the drill press to drill these holes, but you could just as easily use a cordless drill.

Step 7: Assemble the Box

I used glue and blue tape to assemble the box. I also made the mistake of going overboard and using clamps, which ended up throwing a few of the corners out of whack. Don't do this. Blue tape provides plenty of clamping pressure.

Step 8: Clean Up the Box and Prepare for Finishing

I sanded, rounded over the edges with a router, and filled the gaps with wood filler. Thank the gods for wood filler.

Step 9: Finish the Box

I used amber shellac, which was honestly kind of a pain to work with. I probably would have used Danish oil if I did it all over.

Step 10: Make the Bottom

I measured the size of the opening in the bottom and cut a piece of ¼" plywood to size. I found these little oak buttons at my local home center and glued them into place to make some feet.

Step 11: Assemble Your Lamp

Glue in the socket using your choice of adhesive, I'd recommend epoxy. Attach your toggle switch. Cut a small slot to allow the cord to feed through the bottom, I used a coping saw for this. Attach the bottom using a few small screws and you're done!

The amber shellac gave the Walnut a really cool aged look. I wish the bulb didn't have the giant logo on it, but that's not noticeable from a few feet away.

Hope you enjoyed this build! If you did, I have a bunch more on my website:


- Johnny

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