How to Build a Wooden Pedestal Lamp

Free Woodworking Plans from Lee's Wood Projects

Posted by

This attractive African Padauk table lamp can be turned and finished on a on a wood lathe in just one day. The cupped base can serve as a holder for keys, coins, etc. It can be used as a bedside or study lamp. The dark-toned wood enhances both contemporary and traditional decor themes

Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Building a Wooden Pedestal Lamp

A. Materials List:

1 A Base 10" Diameter x 1 11/16" African Padauk
1 B Column 3" Diameter x 12" African Padauk
1 C Threaded Pipe 3/8" O. D. x 2" Brass Plated
1 D Electric Cord 18 Gauge x 8'  
1 E Lamp Harp 8" Brass Plated
1 F Light Socket   Metal
1 G Light Bulb 60 Watt Glass
1 H Light Shade   Fabric


African Padauk

B. Cutting Procedures:

  1. Scale base (A) to the drawing dimension size. This can easily be accomplished by measuring the print out and dividing that size into the dimension size. This will give a multi-factor that can be used to figure the enlargement size for the pattern. Most companies that do duplicating can make the enlargement required for the pattern.
  2. Repeat step #1 for column (B).
  3. Transfer the pattern enlargements onto poster board, and use a pair of scissors to cut out the patterns.

C. Cutting and Gluing Procedures:

  1. From a 2" x 11" x 24" African Padauk board, use a radial arm saw to cut off 11" for the base stock (A).
  2. Adjust the table saw fence to 4" and rip two boards from the remaining stock for column stock (B).
  3. Place wood glue one side of the two 2" x 4" x 13" boards. Clamps the boards securely with four hand screw clamps. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.
  4. Scribe a 10 1/4" diameter circle in the center of the 11" x 11" board for the base stock. Use a band saw to cut out the circle.
  5. With the band saw, cut a 1" thick piece of scrap hardwood stock to 6" diameter. Glue the scrap stock and the bottom of the base stock together with a piece of wrapping paper between them so they can be separated easily afterwards. Locate the center of the scrap stock and place a 6" metal faceplate over it. Mark the hole locations and fasten the faceplate to it with 3/4" screws. The screws should be long enough to penetrate the majority of the scrap stock but not so long that they penetrate the bottom of the base. Allow the glue to dry for 48 hours.

*Congratulations, your custom decorative fireplace mantel is finished and ready to use

D. Shaping Procedures

  1. Securely screw the faceplate onto the wood lathe headstock spindle.
  2. Adjust the tool rest about 1/8" from the base stock (A) and about 1/8" above center. Turn the stock by hand to make sure it clears the too rest.
  3. To rough cut the base (A) use a 3/4" wide gouge. Set the lathe to a slow speed and cut towards the tail stock. The gouge should be twisted slightly so shearing cuts can be taken. Take thin cuts until the base is a cylinder. You will have to stop the lathe and measure the diameter periodically. After the base is a cylinder increase the lathe speed. When the base is approximately 1/6" over sized use a skew to finish cutting the diameter to 10".
  4. Use a pencil to mark the1/4" bead at the bottom edge of the base. Use a gouge to shape the outside edge of the base, and skew to shape the bead.
  5. Use a gouge to rough out the concave area of the base, and a round nose tool to finish the job. The inside/center of the base should 1 11/16" high. Use a skew to round off the top/outer edge of the base.
  6. Place the base (A) face up on the bed of a drill press. Use a 1" Foerstner Bit to drill a hole 1/2" deep into the center of the base. Use a 3/8" bit to drill the remainder of the way through the base.
  7. To shape the column (B), first use a band saw to cut diagonally from corner corner on one end. The depth of cut should be 1/8".
  8. Place a spur center in position with the saw kerfs and strike it with wooden mallet to seat it properly.
  9. Place the spur center into the lathe headstock and turn the tailstock handle until the cup center seats firmly on the other end of the column (B). Release the pressure on the column and apply a drop of machine oil, and then retighten the pressure.
  10. Adjust the tool rest as previously stated in step #2.
  11. Adjust the lathe speed to about 600 R.P.M.
  12. Use a gouge to cut the wood stock to a cylinder. Use a square nose tool to turn the stock to 3" diameter.
  13. With a pencil and a ruler mark the wood stock according to the shapes of the pattern. The lathe should be set at its lowest speed for the markings.
  14. Set the lathe speed to 1000 R.P.M. use a parting tool to cut the stock to the appropriate diameters. Measure the diameters with an outside caliper.
  15. Use a skew to shape the beads. Use a round nose tool to cut the concave shapes. Use a flat nose tool to turn the bottom of the column to 1" diameter.
  16. Note: You should test the column periodically to ensure that it fits snugly into the base.
  17. Remove the column (B) form the lathe and drill the a through the center. This can be accomplished using a horizontal boring machine and an extra long 3/8" bit. Clamp the column to the bed with hand screw clamps and drill the length of the bit from one end. Then turn the column end for end and repeat the drilling process. There should be a hole through the entire length of the column. Note: This procedure should bedone after the Sanding and Finish Procedures.
  18. Cut 1" diameter bottom of the column (B) to 1/2" length.

E. Sanding and Finish Procedures:

  1. Place the base (A) back on the lathe and sand thoroughly with 120 grit sandpaper. Repeat the sanding process using 220 grit sandpaper. Finish sanding using 400 grit sandpaper. Be sure that the tool rest is removed before sanding.
  2. Apply a liberal amount of Mylands high build friction polish to a rag, and with the lathe running, polish the base. Apply pressure on the base with the rag approximately two minutes or until a high luster appears
  3. Remove the screws from the faceplate. Place the scrap wooden block in a vise clamp and use a wide chisel and a mallet to remove the base (A) from the wooden block. It is advised that you have someone hold the base when it is removed in order to keep it from falling on the floor.
  4. Place the base on a belt sander to sand the bottom.
  5. Replace the column (B) on the lathe and repeat steps #1 & 2.
  6. Remove the column from the lathe and place wood glue on the bottom portion of the column (B) and inside the 1" diameter hole in the base (A).
  7. Tap the column into the base and allow the glue to dry over night. Use a square to ensure that the column is perpendicular to the base.

F: Electric Assembly Procedures:

  1. Place a few drops pf Kwik Bond-1 quick penetrating super glue into the top of the hole of column (B), and tap the threaded pipe (C) into the column with a mallet Approximately 3/4" pipe thread should be exposed at the at the top.
  2. Thread the electric cord (D) through bottom of column and extend the cord a few inches beyond the top.
  3. Thread the cord through the lamp harp (E) and then slip the harp over the pipe.
  4. Connect the cord to the light socket (F) and screw it onto the exposed pipe. Pull any excess cord back through the bottom of the column.
  5. Screw the light bulb (G) into the socket.
  6. Attach the light shade (H) onto the lamp harp.
Note: Westinghouse makes a lamp kit which includes: an electric cord, light socket, and threaded rod. The lamp harp, light shade, and bulb must be purchased separately. Most hardware stores should carry lamp kits.

Congratulations, your wooden pedestal lamp is completed and ready to use!

Related Projects:

  • How to Make a Pedestal Bowl
  • Wooden Birdhouse Lamp