Friday, July 5, 2013

Turned Lamp and Photo Slide Shade

I'll be the first to take a drink if asked if I've passed by items simply thinking "psh I can make that".  Extra shot for waving hand and having the look of someone who's "got this" when passing by the item.  Take another if you've never actually done the project that's standing out in your mind.
Though honestly that might be the only reason I'm not bankrupt at this point
For me the longest I've gone on about a project without actually finishing it is for a lamp in my bedroom.  It wasn't intentional, but eventually I admitted I couldn't keep sleeping out on my couch when trying to read.  It's comfortable, but I'm sure that any chiropractor is going to write me off for a lost cause.
My back concurs.
Around the time I lost the potential lampshade after Halloween 2012 (my costume was a one night stand... ironically if it was my night stand there would be no lamp) I came into *cough*Groupon*cough* a 1/2 off at a local recycling facility called The Scrap Exchange.  This place is a recycler's dream come true; I think we all need to take the time to appreciate the glory that is any type of industrial/residential scrap you could possibly ever want in a warehouse full of aisles.  Every. Thing.
Barrel diving!
Whist digging through some bins to reach the $20 limit, I found some old slides that covered a trip to China.  The architecture and landscape in the pictures was too much for me to pass up at that time, and I came back with about 10 of them.  Sidebar: this is in fact different than ending up purchasing something that you weren't entirely aware you had in your cart.  Didn't even have a plan for these when I got them.  They just seemed to say something to me.
 Buuuuuuy meeeeeee
Surveys of "rescue" pieces returned 2 common results: complete repurpose or simple refinish.  Because a projector is still in someone's garage waiting to be donated or put out to yard sale, I wrestled with option 1 for a while.  I wanted to preserve the whole point of the slides in the first piece as they were really interesting pieces of (film) history and once the scissors come out, there's no going back.
Are you really sure? Really? But, for real? The awl already did some damage
Slides are normally shared with light so it'd be really cool for them to be shown off in something close to their original purpose.  Liiiiiike maybe a lampshade!  Since I needed more than 10 to prevent blinding myself every time I turned towards the light, I headed to the internet to find someone who could cater to my archaic needs.  This was a tall drink, but it's always better when there's a tad more alcohol in the glass than you originally thought.

I only really had the supplies together in one place until the final product.  So here's the materials picture!
Materials:  individual pics scattered throughout this blog post.  Play Where's Waldo's stuff
4"x4"x18" wood block
lamp wiring kit
Sticky Tack or Sugru
old lampshade (note: you will be taking apart)
84 slides ordered from
168 + 14,  4mm jump rings
14 6.5mm jump rings

Before you turn pieces that require any type of drilling through the center, you should drill the hole first.  Just so it's centered & you'll have 2 points to turn around.  Because this was such a long piece, I wanted to use the lathe as a drill which I tell ya, looks really cool.  Mostly because of this:
Action shot.  For reals
Because this was also, such a large piece, I didn't have a chuck that would be able to hold the wood.  I'd have to mount it in the chuck, and since we're already doing that, we're going for maximum surface holding in turning it round, then mounting.  Because I literally just said you should drill the hole first, drill an initial hole and then mount between centers.

When drilling using the lathe, you're turning the wood and driving the bit into that end; bit of a flip from what we're normally used to when using something like a drill press.
This is why we drill the hole first; it stays perfectly centered.
Next, turn completely round, and create a tenon.  Make sure that it'd fit in the chuck by measuring using calipers.  Honestly, this is the easiest way because eyeballing with a ruler just doesn't work because you'll end up measuring chords

Mount in a chuck.  Attach the drillbit to the other side of the lathe; we're now ready to drill!  While the wood spins, we're going to move the drillbit to it.  Turn the speed a bit lower than you'd use for roughing.  This is going to be an incredibly slow process so don't worry too much.
It took me pretty much 30 minutes-45 hour to get through the drilling and everything else
After you drill the hole, you can see all the way through!!!

Ok, turn baby turn.  I decided to experiment with flat surfaces and sharp lines while working on this piece.  Suggestion: go with the theme of your room.  You'll be happier with your lamp.  And that's kinda the whole point of doing this.

If you're interested in what I did, I focused on symmetry since the piece was a lot longer than it is wide.  & I'm ODC about that type of stuff.  I also tried to keep it a bit thick since it had to support the light at the top.

The pattern was a few stripes, deep sloping curve to a higher flat area, some beads centered between sharp valley, large flat area in the middle.

After the piece is turned, sand that sucker.  I used a clear wax to seal; before you use the wax, if you were planning on staining your lamp, that would be the time to do it.  I always sand and apply wax from the back of the piece while the lathe is spinning.  Use slowly graduating grits of sandpaper for best results.

Alright!  Finally!  Now, install your lamp kit according to the directions provided.  Hollow out a channel on the bottom of the lamp for the cord to run through so your base will sit flat.  Secure the cord in the cylinder by either using something like Sugru (permanent) or Sticky Tack (not really permanent)  And that's the lamp base.

You could be done now, and I'm sure some of you are closing your tabs by just using the lampshade.  It's all good.  Plus, I'm not going to lie, it's kinda expensive to get the custom slides.  Highly recommend pilfering scrap bins and parent's/gandparents'/older friends' attics.

Last chance to save that lampshade because it's coming apart like right now.  Sidebar: it's important to have a lampshade that will work with your chosen lamp kit.  Mine bolts at the top , but I cannot tell you how many I've seen that operate differently.  Remove the top part from the lamp.  Clean with some goo gone because that fabric tape is sticky.

The circumference of the circle of the lamp will give you a good idea of how many slides you'd need.  Mine was ~28" so I needed 14 slides to get all the way around.  To cover the ridiculously large topper for my lamp, I had to go 12" down, so 6 slides of height.  This is 84 individual memories.  Choose wisely as you'll be looking at them for a long time.
Or will they be looking at you?
Punch a hole in the center the backside of each edge of the slides using an awl and a hammer.  Hammer gently until there's a slight hole or almost punched through   I found this is the least intrusive way to put a hole in the plastic and does minimal damage to the slide.  Because we're punching holes so close to the edge, be careful of the plastic.
Poke hole through at the 1" mark

Use an awl to punch the hole.
After hammering on the back of the slide, flip and finish the hole through.  It doesn't have to be large, just enough for the jump ring to fit through.

Open the jump rings, and thread the slides through from the front to the back.  You don't want the seam on the outside of your lamp, and there's really no turning the ring in the hole when attaching.

 Thread the jump ring through the front of the slide so both fronts are facing each other.

Close ring.  Repeat for 14 slides across.

After completing 2 rows of 14 slides each, use a similar technique to attach the rows to each other.

Repeat for all 6 rows until you have a mat of slides.  Time to make it into a column!  This will be a  bit more challenging, and you might hear a few "pops" from the slides moving around a bit when manipulating them in column form.  Also if you could grow a second set of arms, that's pretty helpful too.

But it looks phenom after done.  Though it really can't stand alone; looks like it's had 1 too many shots.  Arguably some were to the side of the unit.

Let's get this sucker on the frame.  I used larger jump rings when attaching the slides to the lampshade frame.  You could also use a chain of the smaller links or use the large links for your entire lamp.  Adjust your hole placement accordingly.
Larger jump ring, small ring, small ring
Hold up your shade and do any last adjustments.  Sometimes a ring might come loose so make sure that you're not missing one.

Attach your lampshade to your lamp, and enjoy from all angles.  Especially enjoy sleeping in the right place.