Fallingwater Lamps Finished

I finished off the lamps I was building last night.  I don’t a great pictures of them though, they are hard to get a clear picture of, especially when powered on.  But I like them, one positioned on each of the bed.  It’s not enough light to read a printed book by, but since I read exclusively on my iPad it’s perfect.

One of a pair of Fallingwater lamps I finished

One of a pair of Fallingwater lamps I finished

There are a few things I’ll do differently if I make more of these, including fabricating a brass base instead of a painted wood base.  I might try ebonized walnut for the bottom of the lamp shade support too.  And finally, I need to get a better camera and lighting setup, I’d love to get some first class pictures of my projects as I complete them.  My iPhone does OK for in-progress shots 90% of the time, but it falls short for competed pictures.

Another view

Another view

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Falling Water Bedside Lamp Plans

I spent some time searching for a picture of an original lamp — I had to pick through a lot of copies of the lamp from official reproductions to creations by other hobbyists.  I found some decent images on Flicker.  My goal was to confirm that the plans I’ve drawn up were fairly close to the appearance of the original.

Bedroom at Falling Water showing two of the lamps

Bedroom at Falling Water showing two of the lamps

Close up shot of lamp

Close up shot of lamp

I think I’m close enough to capture the same effect as the lamp.  Their is an article on Popular Woodworking on building this lamp, but it doesn’t have the wings on the back, and the shade is attached to the base with biscuits, which I don’t like in this application.  Instead I’m planning on an insert that will be a slip fit into the inside of the shade.

It looks like the original is brass, and the bottom of the shade is black.  I’m not going to try to re-create the brass base, but instead just have a painted wood base.  If you build one of these please send me a picture, I’d love to see your version.  Here are my plans, I’ll pick up the materials for the base after work and see if I can glue up the bases tonight.

(click on image to download plans)

(click on image to download plans)

In the meantime, I put a (probably) final coat of finish on the shades.  If it looks even after it dries I’ll wax them and call it good.

IMG_2759

 

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Proud Papa

My son has taken to building “Rolling Ball Sculptures”, also known as marble mazes in the last couple of months.  He built one or two of these several years ago on a lark, and lately he’s revisited it with a passion.  He will go out in the shop any chance he gets, bending and twisting bits of 6 gauge copper wire to create complex runs.

His early projects were simple downhills, and with each one he’s added more interesting ball movements, gates and drops.  On this one he formed two copper pans from sheet — all without any coaching or guidance from me.  Everything is soldered together with common lead-free plumbers solder, which makes complex joints tricky without un-soldering something he’s done previously.  But he keeps at it, revising and modifying until he’s happy with it.

This track includes two completely separate runs, a ball switcher to toggle between two paths, and a ball lowering device he designed in addition to the two copper drop pans.  Pretty cool stuff.

Next he wants to incorporate a ball lift so it can continuously cycle marbles.  He’s started building a prototype lift, and it’s kind of challenging — but I expect he will figure it out before long.  I’m really proud of what he’s done all by himself.

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Weekend Update

I worked fairly steadily on the Blacker Table Saturday and Sunday, but there isn’t a lot of progress to show.  I started building the various jigs I’ll need to add in different details like the cloud lifts, leg indent and the spline for the breadboard ends.  Of course I don’t have the right router bit to use for these jobs, so I was stuck.

I also glued up the top for the table, this is going to be a fairly large table — smaller than a dining table but certainly bigger than a side table.  In fact, I scaled it so I could use it as an extension to a dining table if it’s set sideways.  I plan to make a matching dining room table in the future, but frankly I have so many projects I want to do I can’t imagine when that will come up in the rotation.  I do owe someone a bookcase…

Glue up for the top.  The finished size will be a tick over 22" wide by about 36" long with the breadboard ends installed.  This is slightly overlong still, and I'll hand plane it to level the glue line.

Glue up for the top. The finished size will be a tick over 22″ wide by about 36″ long with the breadboard ends installed. This is slightly overlong still, and I’ll hand plane it to level the glue line.

While I was working I kept hearing this noise from the corner of the shop.  It turned out to be a scrap of Claro Walnut calling my name.  I surfaced it, then re-sawed it and glued up two lamp shades for the “Falling Water” bedside lamp.  This is after the first coat of True Oil has been allowed to dry and sanded back with 320 grit.  The miter joint on one of them has a tiny gap where I over clamped, but when it’s all finished I don’t think it will be noticeable.  I’ll make the bases out of MDF and paint them black (the original bases were metal).  Which of course I didn’t have in the right thicknesses either, so another trip to the big box store is in my future.  Playing with this design lead me to look at other Frank Lloyd Wright lamp designs, several of which would be really interesting to build.  But that’s a story for another day.

Two lamp reflectors

Two lamp reflectors

Another view

Another view

FW Lamp

CAD drawing for the lamp. I need a tiny bit of 1/2″ and 1/4″ MDF and maybe a short length of dowel to complete these.

 

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Greene & Greene Blacker House Table Plans

I worked yesterday on the Blacker table, and got the joinery on the base sorted out.  Today I’ll start making the templates for adding in the cloud lifts and leg indents.  As I work through each part of the table I’m updating my plans to correct any errors and add in missing dimensions or additional views that would be useful.

Since I haven’t finished the table I’d bet these aren’t the final plans, but I thought I’d share them anyway in case anyone wants to build this table.  The only missing information I’m aware of at this point is that I need to re-design the inlay pattern for the table top.  I don’t have a great picture of the design on the original, so I may have to wing it.  These are certainly complete enough for any woodworker to build from.  If you do build it, please send me pictures, I’d love to see how yours comes out!

Blacker House Serving Table

Blacker House Serving Table Plans

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Blacker House Table Update

I’m working my way through the mechanics of fitting the joinery for the table.  It’s nice to be able to get into the rhythm of a familiar process.  So far, no major screw ups.

Mortises all cut, this shows the staggered layout pretty well.

Mortises all cut, this shows the staggered layout pretty well.

I started the skirts and stretchers with a nice wide piece of 4/4 rough sawn Sapele.  My thought was to cut each skirt and stretcher from the same length of stock, so the grain match was consistent.  I’ve done that, but in the end this quartersawn Sapele is so uniform that it doesn’t make any difference.  I find it interesting to start with a big stick like this…

12.5" wide 4/4 QS Sapele board I'm using for the skirts and stretchers.

12.5″ wide 4/4 QS Sapele board I’m using for the skirts and stretchers.

…and break it down into accurately machined parts like this.  There was one section of the board that had a chunk out of the surface, which I was careful to avoid, so I had just the right amount of stock,  Since I have a small shop space, it also feels good to be using up material I have on hand, to free up that space.

Skirt and stretcher blanks milled up and ready to have tenons cut.

Skirt and stretcher blanks milled up and ready to have tenons cut.

Next up, the tenon get roughed in.  Again, fairly mechanical work.  My goal was to make tenons slightly over-thick so I can plane each one to fit exactly into a mortise.  I really had to pay attention to make sure I cut the staggers correctly and kept the stretchers matched with their adjacent skirts.

One skirt and stretcher pair

One skirt and stretcher pair

I have half of the joints fit, and am on my way out to the shop once I have some coffee and run my Saturday errands.  The next step will be to cut the cloud lifts into the skirts and stretchers as I move from doing joinery to working on details.

First skirt and stretcher assembly done.  It looks a little weird without the shaping done on the cloud lifts.

First skirt and stretcher assembly done. It looks a little weird without the shaping done on the cloud lifts.  I have a nice tight fit at the shoulders, which is what matters most for me.

Half way there fitting the skirts and stretchers.

Half way there fitting the skirts and stretchers.

For the moment I’m resisting the temptation to start another project, like the Frank Lloyd Wright lamps, so I can focus on this one.  But I noticed some Claro Walnut shorts calling my name in the corner of the shop yesterday.

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Falling Water Bedside Lamp

Brother Cadfael may have had one too many cups of coffee this afternoon.  He thinks this would be a fun project to build with some friends one weekend.  I’ve been wondering what to do with that Eastern Walnut I picked up…

CAD rendering of the bedside lamp from Falling Water

CAD rendering of the bedside lamp from Falling Water

FW Lamp

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Blacker House Serving Table – Construction

I came across an image of this table on the web a while back, and I knew it had to go on my list of projects.  I blogged in the past about going through the process to model it in CAD, and I think I got pretty close.  I made one change intentionally, adding the leg indent that was found on other pieces in the Blacker house.

Blacker House Serving Table

Blacker House Serving Table

There will be several challenges in building this table, and I’ve already tripped over the first one.

I started by milling six legs out of 8/4 full-sawn Sapele.  Rough cut, this is about 2.125″ thick, I machined it down to slightly over the 1.875″ I called out in my model so I had stock for smoothing.  I had really bad tear out with this stock, so I’ll probably have to scrape and then sand through several grits to get this smooth.  On the other hand, all of the grain reversals should make it pretty.

Rough Stock

Rough Stock

I rough cut the stock into six 2.125″ square blanks, slightly overlong, and mocked them up with a bit of scrap to simulate the proportions of the table.  It’s too early to have a clear picture from the mock up, but al least it looks reasonable so far.

Everything has to start somewhere...

Everything has to start somewhere…

Then I milled everything to size and started laying out the ebony plug locations, and mortises.  I mentioned that there are several likely problem spots, the first is the mortises.  The layout is fairly complex, there is a wide stub tenon, and two full tenons on each skirt end.  The tenons on the sides bypass the tenons on the front and back, and there is a 1/2″ of solid material in the leg between the two adjacent mortises for strength.  That is, none of the mortices holes intersect.

I went over my CAD model, and laid out the mortises carefully, both the shallow mortise for the stub, the deeper sections for the full tenons and the mortises for the stretchers.  Then I immediately proceeded to cut one of the mortises in the wrong place.  Crud.  That sort of thing really takes the wind out of my sails.  I guess this is why I cut six legs.  I also put a ding in one of the other legs, but I think I can repair it, it should be all but invisible.  Greg Merritt has been using a Japanese ink pot to mark in where the waste is, that seems like an awfully good ides right now…

Dimensioned legs, starting to mortise for joinery and ebony pegs.

Dimensioned legs, starting to mortise for joinery and ebony pegs.  The blue tape is something new, to help me keep my orientation.

I’ll add a couple pictures of the first completed mortise, I think you’ll see what I mean about the layout in the pictures.  If the layout anywhere on the four legs is wrong the table won’t go together.

Mortise for the front and back skirts

Mortise for the  left and right side skirts

as

Mortise for the front and back skirts

Once I make it past the mortises I’ll rough in the skirts.  The most scary part of the project is the silver and abalone inlay in the legs and top.  I won’t do that until late in the project, and if it goes badly it will be kind of a problem.  I’ll do a practice run on my scrap leg as a confidence builder.  One step at a time I guess.

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Dutch Tool Chest Done

I wrapped up the dutch tool chest yesterday.  This came out OK.  There are several things I could have done a better job on, but visually it looks decent with a coat of Salem Red milk paint and some oil/wax topcoat.

Finished DTC

Finished DTC

I used strap hinges from Lee Valley, and I wouldn’t recommend them for this project.  The leaves are centered on the hinge barrels, which means you need a mortise in the lid and the case to use them.  The countersinks for the screws are on the wrong side of the leaf on the back of the case.  They work, but they aren’t ideal.

I’m actually not using this as a tool chest though.  We needed a place to put all of our electronics gizmos at night when they are charging, and this fits the bill.  Laptops, iPads, cell phones, video game controllers and all the rest fit nicely inside.

Dutch Charging Station

Dutch Charging Station

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Found It

I picked through the extra parts — luckily not all of the ones in this pile — and found five of the last six parts of the rose marquetry.  Then my wife came out to help.  She told me I was insane to do this, then promptly found the last part I needed.

I’m going to leave this project alone the rest of the weekend to clear my head.  It’s down hill from here anyway, sand shading, re-assembly, glue up, mastic, etc, etc.

This is the pile of left over chaff.  The main lesson in this project is better part organization.  I did much better this time, but next I'll do even better in terms of keeping parts related to each other.

This is the pile of left over chaff. The main lesson in this project is better part organization. I did much better this time, but next I’ll do even better in terms of keeping parts related to each other.

Complete picture dry-assembled.  Sand shading is next to add depth.

Complete picture dry-assembled. Sand shading is next to add depth.

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