Building the Ira Lamp
Most of my memories of my paternal grandparents involve a lamp. A mid-century ceramic terra-cotta lamp that had different sized and colored bottles painted on it. It sat next to my grandfathers chair, where he would sit and do crossword puzzles or watch golf on TV. When I was bored, made to sit nicely in the living room and be quiet while the adults talked, I would study that that lamp. I loved it. So when my grandpa Ira died, I took it. I kept that lamp for 20 years. My husband Adrian hated it, he thought it was so ugly; but no matter how many times he made fun of it, I refused to get rid if it.
I was going to take it to a lamp store get a new shade for it (the original went bye bye a while ago and the IKEA one I had on it looked horrible) and was just about to load it into my car when I dropped it in the garage. Onto the cement floor. It broke.
I was chagrined, Adrian rejoiced. I had some nice ash left over from making Adrian's standing desk, so I decided to make a new lamp. Turns out, it's really easy to make a lamp. See how I did it after the jump.
I had 2 pieces of ash left, so I cut them in half and glued them together.
Here's what it looked like after I cleaned off the glue and sanded it. Nice grain, huh?
I wanted a mid-century feel for the lamp, so I searched the web for some MCM designs and I found this photo of some Paul McCobb furniture. I fooled around with the designs on that wall hanging until I found what I liked best.
The two pipes were not quite tall enough to go through the wood so I drilled a recessed hole in the bottom with a forstner bit.
Then I drilled all the way through with a 1/2" bit.
Next I routed a path for the cord, so the lamp would sit flat.
I made the top piece from a scrap of walnut and put it all together to see how it looked. I rounded the corners with a router to give a more finished look.
After I was happy with the look of the lamp, I took it to my friend Manny at 2ndwnd to get the design I had picked laser etched into the front.
I used tung oil on the walnut to bring out the color. I wanted the ash to stay light and the tung oil would have made it too yellow, so I used Minwax natural stain on the body of the lamp.
All that was left to do was find a lampshade. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I drove all around town to Ross, Marshalls, Tj Maxx, Lamps Plus, and Cost Plus. I bought a bunch and returned them all; they just looked cheap. In the end I did what I should have just done in the first place and bought a good one from Fantasy Lighting on Melrose. It cost 95 bucks, but hey, this lamp is going to last forever, right? I mean, even if I drop this one, it's not going to break. And the shade looks great!
I named it The Ira Lamp, after my grandpa.