Student Builds Bentwood Laminated Lamp Design from WoodWorks

Phil Crane from the Sacramento area took a class with me early November 2012 on how to make a bentwood laminated lamp from mahogany similar to the one I made on Woodworks episode #512.

Bending wood opens up a world of design possibilities that enable one to create things that have flowing curved lines as opposed to the predictable flat planed designs that woodworking is usually associated with. The process ironically begins with jointing the wood to create a flat surface.

flattening wood on the jointer

The first step is to create a flat surface.

The next step is to resaw the wood into thin strips, the mahogany needed to 1/16″ thick in order to bend to a tight radius.

resawing at 36 inch bandsaw

Phil is resawing mahogany into 1/16″ strips on my 36 inch bandsaw

Laying out the strips on a table covered with plastic makes for a faster method of rolling on the glue. I prefer a slow setting Urea resin glue. The brand I am using is Unibond 800.

glue applied to laminates

Laminates are coated with urea resin glue.

Here is Phil quite happy that we are ready to put the laminates in the bending form that I made on Woodworks.

Phil Crane holding laminates.

Phil Crane holding stack of glue coated laminates ready to go into the bending form.0

After the glue has dried overnight at 70 degrees, we unclamped it and the wood retains the shape of the form.

after glue has cured

The wood has now taken on the shape of the bending form.

Our next challenge was to resaw the bentwood lamination in half which I did on my 36 inch bandsaw because of the wide curve.

After that we routed a channel and glued in some 3/8th inch copper tubing for the wire.

copper tubing inside lamp

We used hot melt glue to hold the copper tubing in the channel.

Once everything was glued up, we joined the legs to the trunk and Phil could begin sculpting and shaping the legs.

Phil shapes legs

Phil is using a pattern maker’s rasp to smooth and blend the shape of the legs.

After much work with a pattern makers rasp and lots of sanding, Phil’s lamp is ready for the finish which he will apply at home in his own shop.

Phil's lamp

Phil’s completed lamp, ready for the finish.

This is a photo of the original lamp that I designed and built for Woodworks made from Koa.

Koa bentwood laminated lamp

This is the original Koa bentwood laminated lamp that I designed and built for WoodWorks episode 512.

The lamp shade was a challenge for me. I finally decided to purchase one made from white Alabaster which seemed perfect for my design.

Alabaster lamp shade

Alabaster lamp shade