So my story started months ago when I saw this lamp at World Market. I absolutely loved how "architectural" it looked and figured it couldn't be too hard to build myself. Since I was at it, I might as well make it a little larger to fit my space better.
Well, yeah... I was totally wrong. This lamp was a bit of a challenge. I am absolutely thrilled with the results, and ended up spending way less than I would have to buy one, but there was a lot of trial and error with this build.
I think I've come up with the easiest way to build this tapered X lamp yourself. In full disclosure, it's probably not the most "woodworker-y" way to do it, but the process worked well for me.
- *miter saw
- *table saw
- *oscillating multi-tool or small hand saw
- *pneumatic brad nailer
- *1" finish nails
- *speed square
- *wood glue
- *lamp kit
- (1) 4' - 1 x 8 your choice of hardwood (I used poplar)
- (1) 15" scrap 1 x 2 or 2 x 2
- 3" piece of 3/4" PVC pipe
*I recommend using a hardwood for this project. The pieces have relatively small contact surface, so you really need the extra strength that you don't get with pine.
- (1) 7 1/4" x 7 1/4" square - cut at a 5 degree angle, sloping in
- (1) 5" x 5" square - cut at a 5 degree angle, sloping in
- (8) 3/4" x 1/2" strips, ripped from remaining board
The first step is to cut the top and bottom plates. I started by first cutting the 5" and 7 1/4" squares down to size. Then, I adjusted the blade on my miter saw to a 5 degree bevel.
I lined up the blade on each edge, and cut a taper.
I found the center of each square and pre-drilled a small hole. Using a couple 2" screws, I attached the scrap 15" 2 x 2 between both squares, tapered faces pointed up.
Next, I took one of the 1/2" thick strips. Starting from the top left corner, to the bottom right, line up the center-most corners with the outside of the strip. The strip should hang over the squares by a few inches.
I attached strips on two opposite sides using wood glue and 1" finish nails. Once the glue was fully dried, I removed the scrap 2 x 2.
Next, I needed to cut the strips flush to the top and bottom. I found the fastest and easiest way was to use a flush trim attachment on my oscillating, multi-tool. They are handy little gadgets. Dremel and Rockwell Tools both make a good one. If you don't have a multi-tool, you could use a small hand saw instead.
Once the first two strips were cut flush, I add the other pair, and trimmed the flush as well. I drew a diagonal line from opposite points on the top block, extending past the corners, onto the strips. Then, using my multi-tool, I cut straight down, notching the corner.
Each corner looked like this.
I flipped the lamp structure over and trimmed the bottom ends of the strips the same way.
Time for the really tricky part. The cross pieces. I spent hours and wasted A LOT of material, trying to figure a way to cut the intersecting corners on my miter saw. I tried jigs and different compound miter cuts, but could never get close. If any of you reading this are woodworking geniuses and can tell me how to get this cut, please share!
I decided to draw the cut I needed on an actual strip of wood so I could visualize it. Looking at it closely, I figured the easiest way to get a precise cut would be to cut it by hand.
So that's exactly what I did and it worked out very well! This would also be a great job for a multi-tool.
The cross pieces create an "X", meeting at a 52 degree angle. To create the two, opposite sides of the "X", I first hand notched the needed corner, as seen above. Then, turning the notched corner face down, measured 7 1/4" for the shorter pieces, and 11" for the longer. This gave me the long point of my mitered cut. I simply adjusted the fence on my miter saw, and cut in.
Starting the shorter, top cross piece, I allowed it to overhang about 1/2", then attached it with glue and nails. The top corner first.
Then the middle.
I flipped the lamp upside down and repeated the same steps to attach the longer cross piece. Once the glue was fully dried, I trimmed the excess flush as well.
After some wood filler and a good sanding, the structure was complete. Time to turn it into a lamp. I found this *lamp kit on Amazon for $9.64. It includes almost everything I needed, including the harp to attach the shade.
The other pieces I needed, I was able to find at my local True Value for a couple bucks. I believe Ace Hardware also sells individual lamp parts.
I was making two lamps at the same time, but for a single lamp, you need one nipple reducer (yes, I realize how bad that sounds), and one, 4" nipple.
Using the same, center hole as before, I re-drilled the hole in the top plate large enough to insert a reducer. I coated the outside threads in *epoxy and twisted it into place.
While the epoxy cured, I cut a 3" long piece of PVC pipe and spray painted it black.
To assemble the lamp, I first pushed the cord though the hole, from the bottom side of the top plate. Then, I threaded the cord through the nipple and screwed the nipple into the reducer. Next, I slid the PVC sleeve over the nipple.
Jeez, it's hard to talk about lamp building without blushing.
From there on, you can just follow the instructions on the back of the lamp kit package as normal. I found a large white shade at Target, and voila! I had me a custom, hardwood lamp.
I love how it changes from different angles.
This one was tricky to build. Don't beat yourself up if your joints aren't perfect. I promise you, mine were not. That's were the wonderful thing called wood filler comes in. Once my joints are filled and sanded, you'd never know how choppy and uneven they were.
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