Oak Walnut Floor Lamp 1


Here is a floor lamp that I built in the early 1990’s. I was in a lamp building frenzy back in those days and this one was perhaps my crowning achievement. It features a tapered pole made from laminated solid red oak and walnut and tapered red oak legs that attach to the base of the pole via sliding dovetails.

Oak-walnut floor lamp

Oak-walnut floor lamp

The lamp measures 50″ high by 21-1/4″ wide at the base. The lamp pole is 2-1/4″ wide at the base, tapering to 1″ at the top.  The legs, made from 1-1/4″ thick oak,  are 9-1/2″ long, 3-1/2″ high where they attach to the pole, tapering to 1″ with 7/16″ thick walnut pads. The pole is constructed of 3/4″ walnut sandwiched between 3/4″ red oak on either side.

Tapered lamp pole made from 3/4" oak-walnut-oak layers

Tapered lamp pole made from 3/4″ oak-walnut-oak layers

The top 7″ of the lamp is all walnut. This was achieved by cutting the two outer oak laminates 7″ short at a 45 degree angle and then carefully gluing in replacement walnut pieces that were cut at a matching 45 degree angle. The idea here was to create something of a spire effect. A 1/2″ threaded rod runs through the entire center of the lamp post, secured with a nut at the bottom and the threaded lamp socket at the top.

Lamp socket connects to threaded rod at top of lamp

Lamp socket connects to threaded rod at top of lamp

The tapered legs connect to the lamp post via sliding dovetails. The 7/16″ thick leg pads provide sufficient clearance for the power cord coming out of the bottom of the post.

Legs attach to lamp base via sliding dovetails

Legs attach to lamp base via sliding dovetails

The dovetails were cut on the router table using a dovetail bit. Apparently, I made the joints a little too loose because some of the legs had a tendency to slide out during the winter months. This was easily remedied by a few small screws.

Small screws keep legs from sliding loose during winter months

Small screws keep legs from sliding loose during winter months

I don’t have a lot of photos of the actual construction but the one below shows a freshly glued-up pole prior to tapering. Looks rather blocky, no? To allow space for the threaded rod in the middle of the pole, the middle layer is made of two outer strips of walnut that are 13/16″ wide.

Lamp post prior to tapering

Lamp post prior to tapering

The photo below shows the walnut pads being clamped onto the ends of the legs. I found it worked best to glue up two legs at a time because the tapers of the legs offset each other to provide a more stable clamping surface.

Gluing walnut pads to lamp legs

Gluing walnut pads to lamp legs

As usual, I ended up making multiple lamps – one can never have too much illumination. My baby son Ben, who is now bigger than me, was most impressed with the power cords rather than the actual lamps (don’t worry, they weren’t plugged in). I’m happy to report that the lamps served the family well for 20+ years and I expect they’ll be around for quite a few years to come.

Building lamps is fun for the whole family!

Building lamps is fun for the whole family!

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