Posts Tagged With: Dragonfly Sconce

Dragonfly Sconces Installed

Perhaps a month or so ago I finished a pair of mission-themed sconces in quarter sawn white oak with stained glass shades.  There was one significant problem with them, there was no wiring in the wall where I wanted the hang them.  That meant cracking open the drywall, running wires, patching drywall, matching texture…  Not something I was eager to sign up for.

Finished, installed sconce

Finished, installed sconce

Enter “Reliable Rick”.  He’s a handyman that we’ve had do a number of jobs around the house, and this was right up his alley.  Rick cut a couple of surgical openings in the wall, ran a new circuit from the light switch to the wall where we wanted the sconces hung and took care of all of the necessary details.

Walls after patching - the big squares are color samples we were trying out.  The final choice was the grey on the left.

Walls after patching – the big squares are color samples we were trying out. The final choice was the grey on the left.

We ended up painting the room, replacing the switch covers with nice mission style brass versions and got everything finished and put back together just a few minutes ago.

Sconce, illuminated (the red color isn't pink in reality, it's just nearly impossible to photograph these with a phone.  I'd probably do better taking pictures with a camera...

Sconce, illuminated (the red color isn’t pink in reality, it’s just nearly impossible to photograph these with a phone. I’d probably do better taking pictures with a camera…)

As part of the room re-do we lowered the “Byrdcliffish” cabinet I built recently, the sconces are mounted on either side of the cabinet.  They don’t provide a lot of light, they were more intended to provide some color and warmth..

Finished Room

Finished Room

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Shades of things to come…

The copper foil tape I needed to finish the stained glass shades for my Arts & Crafts sconces came, and I took today off work to play in the shop (and clear my head of work nonsense).

I’m pretty close to having the sconces done, but I was so eager to see if it was all going to fit together and work out that I took one stained glass shade through to completion so I could test assemble a sconce.  I’ll give away the ending, it all fits OK.  There are a couple of details I may want to tweak in the design, but nothing major.

Copper foil tape.  For what it's worth, after using this brand I don't like it.  It's thinner than the stuff I have been using and it tore really easily when wrapping the glass.  Too bad I bought three rolls...

Copper foil tape. For what it’s worth, after using this brand I don’t like it. It’s thinner than the stuff I have been using and it tore really easily when wrapping the glass. Too bad I bought three rolls…

Parts foiled, lined up for soldering

Parts foiled, lined up for soldering

Front soldered

Front soldered

This is the back after soldering the front.  I was able to solder the back on these without re-melting the fronts and having to re-work the beads to make them attractive

This is the back after soldering the front. I was able to solder the back on these without re-melting the fronts and having to re-work the beads to make them attractive

Soldering the four panes and the copper piece to fit the lamp socket was a learning experience.  My first one came out s0-so, I think the next will be better.  Soldering an unsupported seam with gaps is a little tricky.  I used blue tape to roughly position the parts in place, then tack-soldered one joint at a time, tweaking it to get the best alignment I could.  Once all four parts were tack soldered I fit in the copper adapter and soldered it in place, then I soldered the seams.

Once it was all soldered it was the usual drill of washing the flux off, applying a black patina (a chemical that turns the solder black) then washing again, and finally using a special polish/wax to finish it off.

Parts for the shade

Parts for the shade

First seam tack soldered

First seam tack soldered

One shade finished, with backlighting to show off the colors in the design

One shade finished, with backlighting to show off the colors in the design

Same part without backlighting to show the iridized finish on the glass

Same part without backlighting to show the iridized finish on the glass

Test assembly to verify everything fits and lines up OK

Test assembly to verify everything fits and lines up OK

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I can’t believe it…

I thought I’d have finished these dragonfly sconces last weekend.  I was sure I’d finish them this weekend.  I just had to cut and grind the parts for four panels.  I had patterns made, frames to hold the parts for fit-up and had made one complete panel to make sure everything was going to work OK.

Yesterday I was positive I would be posting finished pictures today.  I got all of the parts cut and ground, I just had to foil them and solder everything.  Unfortunately I ran out of copper foil.  I was POSITIVE I have more of it on hand. but after looking everywhere, there is none to be had.  The local stained glass supply place is closed today, so I had to order some online.

Ran out of copper foil...

Ran out of copper foil…

So it’s the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday, and I’m –>this<– close to finishing a project, but can’t. Rats.

All the parts for two sconces cut and ground to fit nicely

All the parts for two sconces cut and ground to fit nicely

I made three extra frames to hold the parts so I could get them all soldered at once

I made three extra frames to hold the parts so I could get them all soldered at once

Two of the panels.  I'll buck the best two out of all of the panels for the front face of each sconce.  I'm using a solid piece of the same green for the back panel as it won't show.

Two of the panels. I’ll buck the best two out of all of the panels for the front face of each sconce. I’m using a solid piece of the same green for the back panel as it won’t show.

I’m not sure what to do now.  I guess I can start designing whatever I’m going to make next.  Maybe I should do the gate as my next project?

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Shop Time Today was a Grind

I got a couple more hours in the shop today, working on the stained glass panels for the Dragonfly sconces.  Things went pretty smoothly today, and I’m close to having one of the sconce shades done.

The way my week works is that I’m totally busy with work and family until Saturday, and frankly it takes me a day or two to decompress from work and get in the groove in the shop…at which point it’s Sunday night and time to get organized for work.  I’m feeling a vacation coming on.

My goal for today was to get as much done on the stained glass shades for the sconces as I could.  I’d like to finish these up next weekend (well, I’d rather have finished them up this weekend, but that wasn’t in the cards).  My other goal for toady was to “get in the groove”, and I was able to focus much better today and as a result the parts came out nicer.

My process today was mark out the parts on the glass.  Score them to separate them from each other, then score them as close to the final dimension as I was comfortable with.  Once I had all of the parts for one panel scored and cut I moved over to the grinder and dialed in the shape.  I got a much better fit on the first panel today than the one yesterday, and the second panel I made was even better.  These pics are of the first panel, by the time I was on to the second one I was in the groove and couldn’t be bothered taking pictures.

I didn’t go get a fine point sharpie, I just didn’t want to drive down to town so I decided to make the one I had work.  The layout looks sloppy as a result, but I only use that for the scoring and rough grinding.  After that I’m fitting it into the pattern board and slowly sneaking up on the pattern.

Trace around the patterns with a sharpie.

Trace around the patterns with a sharpie.

Separate the layout from the sheet

Separate the layout from the sheet

Scored lined to separate the parts

Scored lined to separate the parts

Parts separated from each other, ready to score on the layout lines

Parts separated from each other, ready to score on the layout lines

Red parts rough cut, not do the green ones

Red parts rough cut, not do the green ones

All parts cut, ready for grinding to fit the pattern

All parts cut, ready for grinding to fit the pattern

The scoring goes pretty quickly, just a few minutes.  The grinding takes a lot of time.  Grind a little, wipe off the sludge, check the fit, grind a little more…  Eventually the parts will all fit nicely.  There are a couple of gaps on this one that I wish were a little smaller, but it’s plenty good.

Parts ground and fit, ready for copper foil and soldering

Parts ground and fit, ready for copper foil and soldering

I also made the copper parts that will attach the stained glass shade to the lamp socket.  The lamp sockets I got are really nice, cast brass with threaded shells.  They are heavy and substantial, not like the stamped parts from the local big box store.  I got these from Grand Brass for $10 each and I’m really pleased with their quality and service.

To make the attachment plate I used 1/8″ copper sheet and drilled them with a Rota-Broach — it’s basically a fancy hole saw that makes accurate, burr free holes.  I had to use a sanding drum to sneak up on the final dimension as there isn’t a lot of shoulder on these sockets.

Making the mounts for the shades

Making the mounts for the shades

I decided that I’m going to use a piece of plain glass (the same green art glass) for the back as you won’t be able to see if there is a pattern on the back.  So only three more panels to do next weekend.  I’m going to make some sort of simple wood fixture to hold the parts in alignment for the final soldering.

I’m a little concerned about getting the threaded ring in place when I’m installing it s there won’t be much finger room inside of the shade.  I’m thinking of drilling two tiny holes in the threaded ring and making a little spanner to be able to turn it.  We’ll see how things look at that stage.  My friend Fay always says “you start with insufficient information and problem solve along the way”.

Parts for the first shade nearly ready to assemble

Parts for the first shade nearly ready to assemble

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Dragonfly Sconce Progress

It’s “one of those days” where I’m moving slowly in the shop.

I got the finish applied to the wood bodies, and I started on the glass panels for the shades, but I was struggling with it a bit.  My focus is off, and I wasn’t getting as nice a fit on the parts as I wanted.  I went ahead and finished the one panel, but it didn’t feel quite right.

First the wood.  I used the same finishing approach as I used on the cabinet I just finished.  Dye, stain, Oil, shellac, brown wax.

Sanded white oak, no finish

Sanded white oak, no finish

Brown Mahogany dye stain, slightly diluted, scuff sanded

Brown Mahogany dye stain, slightly diluted, scuff sanded

Candelite Gel stain

Candelite Gel stain

Linseed oil

Linseed oil

Garnet Shellac rubbed out with 0000 steel wool, brown wax

Garnet Shellac rubbed out with 0000 steel wool, brown wax

I’m pleased with the finish, the differences in the steps don’t show as clearly in pictures as it does in person.  The final result is silky smooth, has a nice luster without too much gloss and a deep rich color.

For the shades I’m making stained glass panels, four for each sconce.  They will be soldered along the edges and a piece of copper soldered to the top, bored to 1.25″ to fit over the lamp socket.  That ends up being eight stained glass panels, with a dozen or so small parts in each.  I’m feeling a little intimidated by this part.

I tried making the pieces as I drew them, but the sharp inside corner in the large green pieces was beyond my skill with a scoring wheel and nippers.  I modified the pattern slightly to make it in more pieces, but I just wasn’t working to the level of accuracy I wanted.  I tried making patterns for all of the individual parts, and that helped.  I need to get a finer pointed sharpie though.

Here I marked and cut out the first dragonfly.  The cuts aren’t the final edges, from here I go to the glass grinder and smooth out the edges.  That’s where I was having the most trouble — I was in too much of a hurry and was over-grinding the parts instead of sneaking up on just the right contour.

IMG_1536

Rough cut dragonfly body. I need a finer sharpie, trying to score accurately to a 1/8″ wide layout line is a losing proposition!

Finished test panel, back lit

Finished test panel, back lit

The finished test panel came out OK.  I didn’t patina the solder seams yet (which always make a huge improvement) as I need to solder it to three others to make a shade first.  The seams are a little fatter than I want, but once it’s all finished it should look good.  I need to get cracking on these and get them finished!

If you squint, it looks like a sconce...

If you squint, it looks like a sconce…

Lamp socket test fit

Lamp socket test fit

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Dragonfly Sconces – Body Construction Done

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.

CAD rendering for the Dragonfly sconce

CAD rendering for the Dragonfly sconce

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.

Full scale layout for the main parts

Full scale layout for the main parts

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.

Pattern board for the glass shades

Pattern board for the glass shades

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.

Outline lay out for the wall plate

Outline lay out for the wall plate

Corbels laid out

Corbels laid out

Patterns

Patterns

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.

Mortises done

Mortises done

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.

Fitting the keyhole hangers

Fitting the keyhole hangers

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.

Mortises fit

Mortises fit

Test fitting the brackets

Test fitting the brackets

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.

Gluing up

Gluing up

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.

Completed sconce brackets

Completed sconce bodies

Back of the sconce body - the tenon ends need to be flushed up after the glue is fully dry

Back of the sconce body – the tenon ends need to be flushed up after the glue is fully dry

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Updated Arts & Crafts Sconce Rendering

I spent some time last night updating the CAD model for the Arts & Crafts sconce I want to build.  All of the changes were to be able to render the lamp shade so it represents the actual look of the stained glass I plan to make.  Modeling the basic shade is simple, it’s just four trapezoid-shaped panels joined together.  Drawing the layout for the glass — the dragonfly outline — is pretty simple too.  It’s just a series of splines that I have to tweak to get the shapes I want.

To get to a model of the glass that I can render I have to add in the raised solder seams, and I have to trick the model into thinking it is ten separate pieces of glass so that I can attach different rendering properties to each.  Not hard, just time consuming, and the software is slightly quirky in this area (or maybe I don’t fully understand how the new rendering engine in this version is supposed to work).

Anyway, here is what I came up with.   Not perfect, but it gives you a pretty good idea what the finished sconce is intended to look like, which is the whole point.

rend8

rend6

rend7

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Mission Sconce Plans

I’ve been tweaking my design for a “mission style sconce” today, and I think I’m happy with the current design.  I need to print out a full size drawing at Kinko’s once more to verify the size, but I think I’ve got it.  If you want plans, you can download them here.  I’m going to start cutting parts for it this weekend.

The original version was just a little too big for the room when I printed it.  I narrowed the wall plate, and shortened it, shortened the horizontal arm, and changed the size of the glass share (and dragonfly contours) multiple times.  I added some ebony pegs to the bottom.  I think this is “final”.

Final Sconce Design?

Final Sconce Design?

I did an updated rendering, but just with “plain glass”.  To render it with the actual stained glass design requires some extra CAD work to model the lead beads and split it into separate pieces so I can have a different rendering plan for each one.  I’ll do that later as an exercise — I want to wait to make sure I don’t need any more design changes first.

Rendering without stained glass

Rendering without stained glass

The color of the glass in the rendering is from the preview picture of the actual glass I plan to use for the background of the sconce.  I have some of this, and a nice iridized red/white wispy glass ordered already.

Glass Colors

Glass Colors

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Designing a Mission Sconce

One of my ulterior motives with woodworking these days is to slowly fix up my house.

It’s a nice house in a desirable area, but the demands of working and raising a family have distracted money and attention elsewhere the past few years.  I eventually want to make new kitchen cabinets, and some other smaller remodeling projects.  While I’m making this Byrdcliffe-inspired cabinet for the guest room I realized that the lighting in that room isn’t right.  There isn’t any built-in lights in the room, the wall switch controls a plug.  I’m not a big fan of overhead lights (and my wife absolutely hates them), so the lack of an overhead light ins’t a big deal in itself.

My idea is to make a pair of sconces that can hang on either side of the main window in the room, and wire them into the wall switch.  That means tearing into the drywall to get the wires where they need to go, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Since I’m using a Dard Hunter design for the glass in the cabinet door, I decided to use his art as inspiration for the sconces too.  I thought this dragonfly design could be interesting in a sconce.

Dard Hunter Dragonfly Design

Dard Hunter Dragonfly Design

I modeled my idea in CAD, basically a simple Oak L-bracket with a corbel, and a stained glass shade.  I’m not 100% satisfied with the design, but the way this works for me is I need to take a cut at the design and then come back to it later.  Generally I see things that I can tweak to make it better.  I also find that it’s too easy to get the scale wrong on this sort of thing – so I’ll print out the pattern full-scale at Kinkos later this week so I can hold it in place in the room and make sure the size is OK.

Overall I like it, I think I’ll probably make this next. (the colors for the glass in the rendering are lame-o, this is just a quick rendering to check the overall effect)

Design for a sconce

Design for a sconce

Sconce Design

Sconce Design

Layout for Sconce

Layout for Sconce

 

EDIT!


I printed the pattern for the glass and it seemed too big.  The dragonfly body was also a bit off (and a bit too phallic, pfrankly) so I made a few changes.  I shortened the wall bracket, and pulled the shade closer to the wall.  I also tweaked the body of the dragonfly, and shortened the shade.  I like it better.  I’ll print out a scale drawing of the whole contraption tomorrow and hang it on the wall to stare at.  I didn’t re-do the renderings – maybe after I’m sure this is the right scale.

Updated model of the sconce

Updated model of the sconce

 

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