After I hung the cabinet I made for the guest room I was eager to get on to building a pair of the Dragonfly sconces I designed (plans are available for downloading here). As a quick recap, this is inspired by a Dard Hunter stylized dragonfly design that was used in a tile and other items. I came across this and thought it might make a cool stained glass design — I was “shopping” for ideas for the glass panel for the Byrdcliffe-ish cabinet.
Anyway, this is the design I came up with. It’s relatively simple, although given how slow I seem to be at completing projects I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I deeded to keep track of my hours to get a better feel for this. When I used to build chopper parts and had to do the same thing over and over I kept track of how long everything took me so I could plan my time. It got to be something of a race and I eventually got really fast at each operation.
To get started on building the sconce I printed out the plans I made, full size on 11×17 paper at Kinkos. (Hint: if you do this Adobe Acrobat will try to “scale to fit” the plans, make sure you print them at 100%). I cut out the full scale layout for the shade, wall mount and corbel so I could make some patterns.
I used some spray adhesive to glue the patterns to some .060″ thick aluminum sheet. I guess thin MDF or even thick poster board would work too. I trimmed the aluminum to the layout lines and I had my templates. I used the pattern for the shade to set up the pattern board for the stained glass shades. I made sure it was exactly symmetrical. As long as each assembled panel fits into the pattern board they should end up even when I solder four of the together. I set this aside for now, hopefully I’ll be able to get to the glasswork next weekend.
I machined all of my stock (more Quartersawn White Oak) to thickness and rough dimensions. Then I used the patterns for the wall plate and corbel to lay out the details.
It took me perhaps 30 minutes to make the patterns, and another 30 minutes to dimension the oak and to the layout. Then I lost track of time and got completely caught up in building…
I wanted to get everything done to the wall bracket I possibly could before I cut the profile shape on the ends. I did the through mortises for the support arm and the square holes for the 5/16 ebony plugs first.
Then I routed recesses in the back for the keyhole hangers, drilled the wire hole and routed a clearance slot in the back for wires.
I made the tenons on the horizontal brackets next. I used my tablesaw with a dado blade to cut the outside shoulders – leaving me with one wide tenon the correct height and as wide as the outer edges of the mortises. Then I knifed in the inside walls of the tenons, transferring them from the mortises and used my tenon say to cut the inside fact and chopped out the waste. I got a decent fit after some fine tuning with a chisel.
Once I was satisfied with the mortise and tenon joint I routed a wire groove in the support arm, transferred the location to the wall bracket and drilled a through hole and was finally ready to cut out the profile on the wall plates. I sawed as close to the line as I could, then cleaned up the shape with rasps and sandpaper. Before I knew it I was gluing up the brackets and it was only 2:30 in the afternoon.
I took a break, ate lunch, fixed a clogged drain and went back out to the shop. Making the corbels and the cover plate for the wire groove was simple stuff. I drilled and tapped the hole in the cover plate to 3/8-27 to match the size of the 1/8 IPS threaded tube used in lamp parts. I glued and pin nailed these parts in place and suddenly I was done with both sconce bodies. Wow, that went pretty quick. I have to make the ebony plugs and put some finish on these, but it’s mostly making the shades now.