How to Turn Wooden Table Lamps

Written by michael mason
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How to Turn Wooden Table Lamps
A turned wooden table lamp can be made by an amateur woodworker. (lamp near a comfortable chair image by Matthew Antonino from

A wooden table lamp may at first appear to be a difficult project to undertake, but with a little practice and the right equipment the average amateur woodworker should be able to take on such a task with few problems. One thing is certain, there is an enormous feeling of satisfaction once a turned table lamp is finished and it gets turned on for the first time.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood lathe
  • Turning chisels
  • Router
  • Band saw
  • Wood
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Aluminium nipple
  • Lamp cable
  • Lamp socket

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  1. 1

    Make a hole through the centre of the lamp through which the cable will pass by taking two identical pieces of 4 inch by 2 inch by 15 inch wood and drawing a line down the centre of one of the 4 inch sides of each piece so that it is 2 inches from each edge. Route a 1/4 inch groove down the line, leaving an unrouted portion of about 1 inch at each end. Glue the two sides together so that the grooves are opposite each other and clamp the pieces together. Leave them clamped for 24 hours.

  2. 2

    Using the band saw, cut off the four edges of the laminated wood so that you have a symmetrical octagon 15 inches long. Mark the centre of each end and mount this onto the lathe. Cut the piece to the desired shape with chisels, leaving a flat base with a 1 inch projection at one end. This will be fitted into a base. Sand down the turned lamp until you have the desired surface.

  3. 3

    Mount a circular block of wood onto a base plate with screws and chisel it into the desired shape for your lamp base. Sand it down to a satisfactory surface and remove it from the lathe. Using a flat bit, drill a hole in the top centre of the base that is the same diameter as the 1 inch extension on the lamp shank.

  4. 4

    Drill a 1/4 inch hole from the edge of the base so that it meets the hole drilled in Step 3. Drill a 1/4 inch hole from the bottom of the lamp shank so that it meets the routed hole that passes through its centre. Drill another hole the same diameter as the aluminium nipple from the top of the lamp shank to meet the routed hole.

  5. 5

    Assemble the lamp, gluing the lamp shank to its base and screwing the nipple into the top of the lamp. Pass the cable through the lamp and attach it to the lamp socket. Screw the socket onto the nipple. Stand back and admire your finished masterpiece.

Tips and warnings

  • The dimensions given in this article are arbitrary and may be altered to suit your individual needs.
  • Woodworking equipment, especially lathes, can be very dangerous. Cover up any long hair and don't wear loose clothing. Wear goggles when turning wood.

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