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Arts & Crafts Table Lamp


Arts & Crafts Table Lamp

Sure-fire steps simplify the intricate shade joinery.

By Jon Stumbras

Our table lamp is reminiscent of the Prairie style of design, with lines that Frank Lloyd Wright might favor. In spite of its complex-looking shade, this elegant lamp is within reach of any intermediate woodworker. We’ve figured out a straightforward system that tames all those nasty angles and guarantees good results. The wiring is also simple, even if you haven’t done much electrical work. All the parts are readily available through the mail or at a lighting store. You may find that the hardest part is selecting the stained glass. There is a bewildering array of colors and textures to choose from, but that’s part of the fun.

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Cut the angled half-lap joints for the lampshade frame with a dado blade. Clamp a stop block to the fence so every joint comes out exactly the same size. Test the fit of scrap parts before cutting the real thing.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Assemble the frame without glue to determine the exact position of the top’s second dado. This piece is actually quite short in the finished shade, but it’s much easier to make and hold on the saw if you start with a long piece of wood. Trim the excess length after the frame has been glued up.


Glue the four sides together. You need eight spring clamps to hold them tight.


Install the lamp conduit into the arm assembly. Run lamp cord through the hole in the base of the arm first, then through each of the loose sections of conduit. Assemble the entire conduit. Cover plates conceal the conduit. They are friction-fit to allow access to the wires, should you ever have to take apart the lamp.


Screw the base onto the upright to complete the lamp. Install mahogany plugs into the screw holes for a finished look. 


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2004, issue #110.

October 2004, issue #110

Purchase this back issue.