Shakerstyle Table Lamp

If you'd like to have a table lamp with a lot of Early American charm and you take pleasure in doing careful, close work, then this is the project for you. The lamp base is adapted from an early Shaker lantern design made of cherry. The old lantern often had a removable tray for the can-dleholder so that wax drippings could be more easily discarded. Sometimes, as in the Shaker original, the base contained a dovetailed slide that could be pulled out from the front.

You can build the lantern as a lamp base, or. with the addition of a candleholder and carrying handle, use it for its original purpose. It can also be easily adapted for an electric candle and used as a bracket-hung wall lamp. Clear white pine can be used, but cherry or walnut are better choices. Actually, very little material is needed for the lamp and you may have enough in your scrap bin to complete it.

If glass panes are used, the lamp should be constructed as shown in Figure 3. with pine retaining strips to hold the glass and permit replacement of broken panes. If Plexiglas or other plastic panels are used, the posts and rails can simply be grooved to hold the panels. In either case, make sure that all cuts are square, for the lantern frame is butted and glued, and all joints must fit perfectly \ thin-kerf planer blade for the table or radial saw is very helpful for such line work.

Forming the cornerposts and rails to hold the glass panes is perhaps the fussiest part of the job. To begin cut two 41 lengths of % "-square strips. One length is for the posts; the other is for eight 5" rails. For glass installation, lake a square strip and cut off two 5" lengths. These arc for the upper and lower front rails, which do not hold glass. On the remaining strip cut a < x rabbet. Cut this into six 5" lengths. The other long strip is cut into two equal lengths, one of which is rabbeted the same as the rails. Cut this rabbeted piece into two 10" lengths for front posts. The remaining piece should be cut as shown in Detail A. The first two kerfs are made to hold the glass. The third and fourth cuts clean out the waste, providing the recess for the retaining strip.

A simple jig consisting of two %" boards clamped to the saw table, with the upper board overhanging the lower by and resting against the fence, will provide a safe tunnel for the strip to be pushed through and give support when the last cuts arc made. Plastic windows require 14"-dcep grooves in four posts and six rails one groove in each front post and the six rails, and two grooves in the rear posts. The kerfs should Ik* wide enough to permit an easy lit of Ihc glass or plastic.

Assemble the lantern by laying two rear corner posts and the upper and lower r;tils on a flat surface such as a sheet of glass. Insert the lantern glass to ascertain that the slots are deep enough to hold the glass. Size the end grain of the rails with a layer of glue, allow to dry. and recoat. Spread glue on corresponding points of contact on the posts. If plastic panels are used, they must be added at this point. Bring the four parts together and clamp, making sure that the assembly remains absolutely flat. Repeat the process, omitting the panels, with the front posts and rails.

Cut the 7%"-square base from '%" stock, shape


FiG: 1 Front view

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ffetjt post the edges, and counterbore and drill the bottom for a threaded pipe, washer, and nut. Also bore a hole or rout a channel for the lamp cord. Cut the 7"-square lid from Yi" stock and bore a Yi" center hole for the pipe within a %* brass tube. If the lantern is to be used for a candle or candle bulb, a 3"-diameter hole should be cut in the center of the lid. Plane and scrape upper and lower surfaces of the b;ise and lid bottom as flat as you can get them.

Join the glued-up front and rear frames by adding the plastic panels and gluing and clamping the upper and lower side rails in place. The assembled frame is then glued to the base and lid. Run the threaded pipe through the assembly and clamp together with nuts at each end.

The door frame, which should fit with clearance all around, is made of %"-thick stock ripped to %" width. All four parts are rabbeted V, x Yt", as shown in Detail B. then butted and





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glued together. Again, use a flat surface for clamping. Fasten the door with two 1" brass butt hinges mortised into the door.

The inner and outer hoods are cut from sheet metal. Copper or brass is preferred, but tin cans can be used and look good when painted flat black. The inner hood perforations are purely decorative on the table lamp, but necessary for ventilation if a candle is used. Form a Vt" mounting flange on each side of the hood and drill three holes in each flange for fastening to the lid with small screws or escutcheon pins. Also bore a %" hole for the threaded pipe. The outer hoods should have raw edges rolled into a small rim as shown in the front and side views.

Cut pine retaining strips to fit the rabbets and predrill the strips, posts, and rails for small brads, angling the holes at the rear strips to pass between the edges of the glass. Add glass panes and push the bradded strips into place with long-nose pliers.

The lamp should be stained if made of pine, while cherry and walnut look best if left unstained and given a penetrating oil finish. Brass or copper hoods should be polished and lacquered. Glue a thin strip of pine to the door jamb to serve as a stop. Cut the door glass for an easy fit. Fasten small triangular retaining strips by spot-gluing in place. Add a brass or wooden knob and small turnbutton.

Place a threaded pipe through the lamp and cover with brass tubing locked at the bottom with a lock washer and nut, and at the top with a flat brass nut. Thread lamp cord through the base hole and up through the center pipe. After the upper brass tube is added, a sufficient length of threaded pipe should protrude so that a knurled nut. lamp harp, and socket can be added. Wire up the socket and add a plug to the other end of the cord. When choosing and fitting a shade, the lower rim of the shade should come just below the bottom of the harp.

If the lantern is made for a candle, a brass candlestick socket can be purchased or lathe turned with a %" opening from hardwood. Fasten a heavy wire carrying handle through holes punched in the top of the outer hood.

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