Arts & Crafts Lamp

Create a nostalgic glow that illuminates your woodworking talents.

Overall dimensions: 17"w × 17"d × 21 5⁄8"h
Shed light in a study, main living area, or bedroom, and on a special era of 20th-century craftsmanship with this classic home accent. Made from quartersawn red oak, this pleasing project consists of several duplicate parts, which speed construction. A pattern for the corbels and shop-tested setups and jigs helps in making the identical parts and assemblies. For the shade, which sits neatly on a pair of crossbar supports at the top of the lamp base, I used thin panels of amber mica that I cut and installed with clear silicone caulk in the rabbeted shade frames. If this is your first lamp, you’ll find the diagram on page 36 a helpful reference for safe and simple wiring.
Arts & Crafts Set
This lamp project complements other pieces in the magazine’s Arts & Crafts line, including coffee and end tables, a TV stand, and a bookcase. Find these designs as paper plans or downloads at
Use a triangular scrap piece to keep the shaft snug to the fence while cutting the notches.

With a 3⁄8" blade, stack-cut the corbels at the bandsaw, staying just outside the line.

Use the jig handles to safely move the curved base against the bit’s bearing as you flush-trim the corbel, cutting with the grain.

Employ a pair of customized spacers to hold the corbels in place during the gluing and clamping operation.

Build the base first

1 Mill enough quartersawn oak stock for the shaft halves (A), corbels (C), legs (D), and feet (E) to the thicknesses in the Cut List.

2 Cut two 3⁄4"-thick pieces to 1 3⁄8" wide × 16" long for the shaft halves (A). Now, rout 1⁄2" channels 1⁄4"deep on one face of each piece where shown in the Shaft Detail in Figure 1. Glue the pieces face to face, aligning the channels. Wipe off any squeeze-out. Let dry, and then joint and plane both glue-joint faces to end up with a 1 1⁄4 × 1 1⁄2" shaft blank.

3 Resaw and plane two 1⁄8"-thick shaft veneers (B) from quartersawn oak stock. Laminate the veneers to the glue-joint shaft surfaces. (See the Shaft Detail in Figure 1.) Now, sand the edges of the veneers and shaft halves flush. You goal is to achieve a 1 1⁄2 × 1 1⁄2" shaft that displays quartersawn figure all around. Cut the lamination to the final shaft length.

4 With a dado set and miter gauge extension fence, cut the centered 3⁄4" notches 1⁄2" deep in the top end of the shaft (A/B) as shown in Photo A. Make one cut, turn the shaft 90° so an adjacent face is against the fence, and make the second cut. Note that the extension fence prevents tear-out on the trailing shaft face. 

5 Cut four pieces of 3⁄4"-thick oak to 3 × 11". Stack the pieces together using double-faced tape, aligning the ends and edges. Either adhere a copy of the Corbel Pattern on the top piece aligning it at one end and one edge, or cut out the pattern and scribe it onto the piece as I did. Now, stack-cut the corbels (C) to rough shape at the bandsaw, as shown in Photo B.

6 Make the Corbel Jig in Figure 2. First, transfer the Corbel Pattern along one edge of a 5 × 14 1⁄2" base piece where shown and bandsaw it to rough shape. Now, sand to the line at the oscillating spindle sander for a smooth, clean edge, replicating the pattern exactly. Cut the other parts. Drill the holes in the fence where shown and glue and pin-nail the fence and stop to the base. Screw on the handles.

7 Separate the four corbels (C), and screw one of them in the jig for a firm hold. Now, with a top-bearing flush-trim bit, flush-trim the corbel at the router table (Photo C). Repeat for the remaining three pieces. Use the corbel shape in the jig’s base to lay out the narrow chamfered ends of the corbels. Finally, bandsaw and disc-sand the ends to the line.

Download the full-sized pattern from onlineEXTRAS, below.

8 Cut two legs (D) to size from 3⁄4"-thick oak. Using a dado set and miter gauge extension fence, cut the 2" cross-lap dadoes 3⁄8" deep in the legs, where shown in Figure 1.

9 Drill centered 5⁄32" shank holes in the legs (D), where shown in the Leg Detail in Figure 1, countersinking the holes on the bottom faces for #8 screws.

10 From 3⁄8" stock, cut four feet (E) to size, and then rout 1⁄8"chamfers along three of four top edges, where shown in Figure 1. Leave the chamfering setup for Step 12.

11 Return to the drill press and, using a 7⁄8" Forstner bit, drill a 1⁄2"-deep counterbore centered in the bottom face of the unglued feet assembly. Switch to a 3⁄8" brad-point bit, and drill a through hole at the same location. Enlarge the hole to 13⁄32" using a twist bit. (If your brad-point bit collection includes the less common 13⁄32" bit size, skip drilling the 3⁄8" hole and drill the 13⁄32" hole with it.)

12 At the router table, cut 1⁄8" chamfers on the outside or exposed edges of the base parts (feet, legs, shaft, and corbels), where shown in Figure 1. Center and glue the feet (E) onto the legs (D) so they extend 3⁄8" beyond the edges and ends. Now apply glue in the cross-lap dadoes and clamp the legs together.

13 With a pair of 5⁄8"-thick spacers that have 5⁄16" rabbets 3⁄8" deep along one edge, glue and clamp the corbels (C) onto the shaft (A/B), ensuring the parts are centered and flush at the bottom end (Photo D). Use a moderate amount out of glue to avoid squeeze-out. Let it dry.

14 Clamp the shaft/corbel assembly (A/B/C) upside down in a bench vise. Add the legs/feet assemblies (D/E) at the bottom end of the shaft. Now, insert the threaded steel nipple in the shaft, and temporarily add the washers and hex nuts at the top and bottom of the lamp base to clamp the assemblies together. Align and center the top faces of the legs over the corbels, and tighten the nuts. Guiding off the countersunk holes drilled earlier, drill 3⁄32" screw pilot holes in the corbels, as shown in Photo E.

Remove the hardware. The two assemblies will be screwed together later after finishing.

Build the shade

1 Mill enough stock for the upper rails (F), lower rails (G), side rails (H), and shade supports (I) to the widths and thicknesses in the Cut List. Mill enough extra material for test cuts and setups. Precision is critical here.

Note: Prior to cutting the 50° miters on the shade parts, orient the cutting stock to display quartersawn figure on the parts’ outside faces.

2 Lock in the miter gauge and extension fence to 40° from 90°. Referring to Figure 3, miter-cut the shade frame pieces–plus extras–for the upper rails (F), lower rails (G), and side rails (H). Use stops and make test cuts on the extra pieces to sneak up on the exact part lengths.

3 Install a dado set in the tablesaw, and raise the blade to 3⁄8". Set the saw fence 1⁄64" from the dado set to prevent gouging its face. Using a miter gauge extension fence, cut test rabbets on the scrap pieces to the needed width and depth, as shown in Photo F, adjusting the miter gauge 40° to the right or left of 90° as needed. Hold two mating pieces together, as shown in Photo G, to test the fit. Adjust the rabbet depth and/or the saw fence if needed. Then, proceed rabbeting the shade frame parts (F, G, H), cutting one end of each piece at one setting. Then adjust the miter gauge angle to rabbet the opposite ends.

Test-cut rabbets in the ends of the mating frame parts, using a notched hold-down stick and stop to safely control the part during the cut.

Hold two mating frame pieces together, rabbet to rabbet, to confirm a flush half-lap joint.

Tip Alert

Bevel the inside end of the miter gauge extension fence at 50° for zero-clearance support at the saw fence. Dado-cut the frame parts twice to counter any deflection.

4 Build the Shade Frame Clamping Jig in Figure 4. Apply glue in the rabbets, and clamp an upper rail (F), lower rail (G), and side rails (H) together in the jig to create one shade frame, as shown in Photo H. Wipe away any squeeze-out with a clean, moistened rag. Let the glue dry, and repeat the process to make the other three shade frames. Sand the joints smooth.

5 Using a rabbeting bit and bearing having the appropriate diameter, rout the 5⁄16" rabbets 1⁄2" deep in increments around the inside faces of the shade frames (F/G/H). Clean up the lower rabbeted corners with a 3⁄4"-diameter Forstner bit, as shown in Photo I. Clean up any unevenness in the corners with a chisel.

6 At the tablesaw, tilt the blade at 22 1⁄2°. Using a 40° angled stop and a stiff, long, miter gauge extension fence angled at 40° from 90° in the appropriate slot, bevel-cut the left side edges of the shade frames as shown in Photo J. Here, you want to keep the outside faces up and make sure the blade cuts right along the outside corner of the side (H). 

Fit the frame parts in the clamping jig, and use a pair of spring clamps to hold them tightly in place. Then use C-clamps to snug the half-lap joints

Set up the depth stop and a beveled fence stop on your drill press, and bore out the lower corners in the rabbeted frames.

With the saw set up precisely, fit the shade frame against the stop–outside face up–and bevel-cut the left-hand edges of the shade frames.

Using a stop with a compound cut against the frame’s beveled edge, bevel-cut the opposite side edge.

7 Working from the other miter slot and using the same miter gauge setting and blade angle, flip the frames top to bottom, placing their outside faces down. Now, bevel-cut the frame’s opposite side (H), as shown in Photo K.

8 Working on a flat surface, apply glue to the beveled edges of the shade frames (F/G/H), and assemble the lamp shade as shown in Photo L. Wipe up any squeeze-out. After the glue dries, sand the shade assembly smooth.

9 From 1⁄2" stock, cut the shade supports (I) to size. Cut 3⁄4" dadoes, 1⁄4" deep at the center on the opposing faces of each piece. Temporarily assemble the supports, and place the shade on the assembly, centering it. Mark exactly where the shade contacts the supports. Next, angle the dado set at 331⁄2° and adjust the height to cut 1⁄4" deep. Make the cuts in the top faces of the shade supports, where shown in Figure 1, keeping the short legs of the notches to the outside ends. Note that the bottom angled edges of the shade’s lower rails (G) must seat in the corners of the notches established by the marks.

10 Disc-sand 1⁄8" chamfers on the ends of the supports (I). Temporarily fit the pieces together, and test their fit in the notches at the top end of the shaft. Rest the shade assembly on the supports. Carefully sand the pieces as needed.

11 Glue the shade supports (I) together. After the glue dries, use a brad-point bit to drill the centered 13⁄32" through hole, where shown in Figure 1.

12 Finish-sand, stain, and finish the lamp assemblies. (I used General Finishes Water-Base Stains in black cherry and mahogany in a one-to-one mixture and three coats of a satin lacquer finish.) Assemble the base.

13 Measure the size of the rabbeted opening in the shade frames, and cut and sand a piece of scrap plywood to fit in the opening. Now, use the plywood template and a guide to cut out four pieces of sheet mica, as shown in Photo M. Round the corners of the mica at a disc sander. Next, lay down beads of silicone and fit the pieces in the rabbeted shade frames (F/G/H).

14 Wire the lamp as described at left. Then find a place for this charming home accent.  

Apply glue along the beveled shade frame edges, and hold the frames snugly together using spring clamps (and pin nails if needed).
Use a utility knife and the plywood template to cut out pieces of sheet mica for the lamp shade.

How To Wire Your Lamp

To wire your lamp, cut the threaded steel nipple to 17", and then insert it into the shaft. Add a washer, hex nut, and bushing at the bottom. Fit on the shade supports (I) over the protruding nipple and into the notches at the top of the shaft. Add another washer and hex nut and screw on the two-light pull chain cluster. Remove the lid to the wire housing exposing the wires for the light sockets. Insert the lamp cord through the nipple and into the housing. Now, as shown at right, strip 1" of insulation off the neutral braided wires and the hot braided wires. Twist the wire ends clockwise–hot to hot, neutral to neutral–creating two groupings. Cap the connections with wire nuts. Add the lid. Top it with the 3⁄4" steel nipple and brass nut. Add two 40-watt bulbs and test the lamp.

About Our Designer/Builder

Since 1980, custom furniture maker Tom Svec has maintained a workshop and studio on Great Island, just east of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. It’s here where he creates and builds his signature lines of tables, benches, beds, and home accents, many in the contemporary style, using local hardwoods. For more, visit his website at

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