Living on a heavily wooded property, I constantly come across interesting pieces of wood and I am always looking for unique ways of making things. A few years back I had cut down a large birch tree that was damaged by a storm and was dying due to rot setting it. I took a couple of the main trunk pieces into my house where they sat in my shop, drying for about 2 years.
I recently picked up a small lathe and wanted to try my hand at turning a larger piece of wood. I grabbed one of the trunk pieces and began turning. After cleaning up the outside I really enjoyed the grain and colour of the wood and didn’t want to destroy it by practicing my turning.
I needed a light in my living room and thought this would make a great base for a lamp. I turned it and sanded it into a shape and size I liked. I drilled 2 holes. One hole was from the top, through the centre of the trunk. At the bottom, I drilled out a much larger hole and a smaller hole from the back, horizontally to the larger hole. This allowed me to run the cord from the top down and turn sideways for the cord to come out the back of the lamp.
I picked up a cool lamp hardware kit from Lowes for about $15 as well as a switch and wall plug. This totaled about $20.
I also picked up a few 1/2″ x 1/2″ wood strips for the support structure needed for the shade, and a roll of birch veneer. I built the frame for the shade using good wood glue to hold it together. I then applied contact cement on the outer facing pieces of the structure and laid it on top on the veneer, ensuring the good side was facing out. I used a sharp blade and trimmed off the excess veneer, repeating the process for the remaining 3 sides. I assembled the lamp kit, ran the wire and made sure the light worked.
I then held the shade over the light and eyeballed the height I wanted. I quickly glued a few 1 1/2″ x 1/4″ strips to make a structure to support the shade. After much shaping and sanding I got the height I was looking for. I drilled a small hole the size of the male end of the screw top and twisted the wood right onto the top. It worked!
I have let the lamp dry and have used it for a few months noting the warping of the veneer subject to the moisture level in the air. Being winter and dry out, the veneer is tight and smooth. Time to apply some tongue oil to seal it in.