table lamp

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marcros

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I need to make a housewarming present for a friend, and I have always fancied making a table lamp so plan to kill two birds with one stone.

It will be fairly simple I think, but I need to see what style of furniture they like so it compliments. I am thinking it will be 200 diameter at its widest and about 300mm tall. The width is about the capacity of my baby lathe.

It needs a hole drilling through the length of the blank (endgrain), and "if" it wanders slightly, will then turn it between centres using the hole as the centre of the blank and true it up again. I know that I will need to buy some bits, but would ideally keep this to a minimum (ie not spend £50 on the record long boring kit). My lathe has a through tailstock and I think that somewhere I have a hollow live centre. I have a good chuck with big dovetail jaws, a faceplate ring and a couple of different drive centres (although not one that sticks in a drilled hole). I know that I dont have an auger or a long drill bit.

Would I be better to drill it off the lathe, or try to drill on it? Any hints or tips?

I make a present or two a year, often pepper mills. I can see this kit being used again, but it is going to be very occasionally. Ab 8mm auger bit at UK drills (8.0mm x 460mm) is £3.24 which may sway the decision a bit!
 

Phil Pascoe

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One of these is worth tracking down. It's not just the drive, it's the counterboring ability that's useful. A counterbore at the base of a lamp allows the flex to routed a easily (and it's electrically safer, as there's no sharp bend in the flex). Put the flex up throught the central hole, fix the lamp fitting and you can twist the flex as you screw the fitting down, putting no stress on the wiring. When the fitting is screwed down, you have room enough to thread the flex back through the base. It makes lamp standards etc. easier as well, you can put an accurate tenon on one piece, the mortice on the other and know the central hole on each side lines up.

I suppose you could use an auger off the lathe (they draw too quickly to be safe on it) - you could start the holes from the ends with normal jobber then the auger would stand less chance of drifting.

Ensure you buy centres, drill bits, light fittings and nipples the same size before you start, and if you use inserted nipples rather than plates (much, much tidier) make sure the hole is only very slightly smaller and epoxy them in - on a narrow necked lamp it's easy to split the wood driving them in.

Incidentally, I prefer the larger size.
 

marcros

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does that centre do the counterbore then? I had assumed that it was a drive centre which centred into the correctly sized hole.

I can only go on YouTube, where the person said not to go from each end, because meeting in the middle was difficult to predict.

do you have a source for the fittings Phil? It is slightly complicated because my friend is in France. Table Lamp Kit - Brass : Ockenden Timber this type of thing? I will work out the French part later on (but before I buy anything or start the project)
 

Phil Pascoe

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The pin aligns the centre with the (existing) hole, the "teeth" drives the wood or bores the hole according to the weight you put on it. A little as a four prong drive does when you get a dig in. I've given you an overcomplicated example I think - the usual ones drive or bore with the same centre. I can't find one atm, I'll have a look tomorrow.
The plate in that kit to my mind looks amateurish, a nipple is better, like this - Brass Wood Nipple for Bulb holders, 1/2" Thread, Ideal Wood Turning (504) | eBay
That's expensive enough, but it shows what I mean.
You can go the depth in one if you've a long enough bit (and enough bulk to waste if it goes adrift) but of course you risk hitting the drive centre if you're working on the lathe. I've drilled a two foot piece on the lathe and come out 30mm off centre trying to do it one - no joke when you're aiming for a finished diameter of less then 50mm and start with 60mm :) . Lamp fittings and torpedo switches (if you don't want a switched fitting) aren't expensive nor is a plug and flex but remember if you choose a brass fitting you need three core flex for an earth.
 

marcros

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thanks Phil. when you have a second I would be interested to see the counterbore, but no hurry. I can picture what you mean.
 

IanA

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My attempts to drill a long central hole in a piece of timber on a lathe have never been entirely successful. The way I now go about the problem of cutting a hole for a lamp flex might be considered unacceptable by some but it is simple and as yet has never failed. First I cut the wood in half longways. Then either plane, route or saw out a channel, big enough for the flex, in the centre of one of the two pieces. The pieces can then be glued back together with an almost invisible joint. The piece is then mounted on the lathe using the ends of the channel as centres. This I've done several times with pieces up to a metre long and the joins have never been noticed, (as far as I know that is). IA.
 

Robbo3

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With a 13" blank, turn to round & put a tenon on both ends making sure that you mark the centres. Then with a suitable size bit, I would use a brad point, drill from both ends. That leaves you with the choice of which end is the bottom & which the top.
 

Cooper

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I can only go on YouTube, where the person said not to go from each end, because meeting in the middle was difficult to predict.
I don't think for a lamp the wandering of the hole will be too great. I've recently been making slide whistles which require a piston to go up and down easily. I turned both ends to fit in the chuck, between centres, Drilled from each end of my blank with a good 8 mm bit (I started the holes with a centre bit lined up with the marks from the drive dog and live centre) then used a cheap long bit from Amazon (£13 for a set of 5, 300mm) to connect the holes. Then enlarged the hole in stages from one end. (I tried boring from one end only and the hole wandered off by a lot.)
For a lamp the hole doesn't need to be perfectly straight as would be ideal for the whistle. If I were you I'd have a go on a scrap before you commit to a nice piece of timber.
When I used to make these with students, we had a hollow centre in the tail stock and used a long shell bit to bore the hole they were much stiffer than a twist bit with flutes and didn't deflect much. As I don't have either a hollow centre or shell bit I improvised. We fitted the stem into the base and turned the whole of the outside in one go.
Good luck
Martin
 

marcros

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Thanks. I am convinced enough to give it a go. Firewood burns equally as well with an off-centre hole in it so I will beg a log from my dad. I can always return it afterwards.
 

Phil Pascoe

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The basic centre. The centre part is removable, it's held by a grub screw. I've not actually found a need to take it out, This lamp isn't wired yet, it's a bedside lamp made from firewood. I thought it would be good as there isn't much room for it and the base is actually very heavy for pine. You can see how much neater the fitting is without the brass plate under it. I bought the bulb on Amazon for £6 thinking it'll save the cost of a shade - it's 2w, it's really effective.
 

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