I made a lamp from colored pencils last year and someone out there really liked it. So I made this lamp to send to them and thought I'd document my experience to share what I learned the second time around. I sure hope you can take some inspiration and make one for yourself.
Since this was my second attempt at this, I was able to try a different technique for making the mold, which worked out much better than the first time. I was also more patient when it came time to drill a hole through the center of the lamp for the wiring. Come along and see how I made it...
Step 1: Make a Mold
The first lamp I made, I built a wooden mold to fill with pencils and pour the epoxy into. The problem with that was, for one, the epoxy made it all stick together and I had a heck of a time getting it apart. Then, after turning the rectangular mold round, I had wasted a lot of the epoxy, which ain't exactly cheap.
This time around, I picked up a bottle of Sunny D at the dollar store (for just one dollar) and gulped it down. Then I filled it with colored pencils and poured the epoxy. Same as last time, I used Parks Super Glaze that I bought right off the shelf at Home Depot. The great thing about the plastic bottle was that it was already round and after giving it a few days to cure, it just came right out of the bottle. I used a box cutter to cut a line from top to bottom and then it just came right off. Easiest thing in the world.
Step 2: Get to Turning
In my opinion, when it comes to turning something on the lathe, it is purely up to you how you want to make your finished product look. So I can't give too much advice in this section, except to tell you that this type of turning differs from wood in that you will get some cool surprises as you stop the lathe and check your work. There's very little predictability about how it's going to look, so just go with the flow and turn it to look however it looks good to you.
Step 3: Drill Through the Center
On my first lamp, I messed up when drilling through the center and the drill bit came right out the side near the bottom, which was a pretty crushing blow after putting that much time into it. So this time, I decided to really take my time on that part. I started at the drill press, with a tiny little bit. I slowly graduated up through my set of bits until I got all the way up to 3/8 inch. Then I had a super straight pilot hole started and I was ready to go with my really long 3/8 inch bit to go all the way through. As you can see in the picture, I almost hit dead center on the bottom. Not too bad.
Step 4: Finish It Up!
I simply used a hand saw to cut off the ugly top of the lamp. Next, I needed to drill a hole in the side, right near the bottom, for the cord to come out to plug into the wall. So this hole would need to meet up with the center hole. After that I used a step bit to expand that hole so I could fit a rubber grommet in there, to keep the cord from pulling out.
As far as wiring goes, it really couldn't be any easier. You simply strip the wire back a little bit, and with any lamp fixture, there are two screws where you add your exposed wire and tighten the screw down to make contact. It's super easy.
That's all there is to it. Hope you enjoyed it, and have a good day.