Floor Joist to Table Lamp

Just before the stay at home order was issued I picked up a load of scrap wood from my friend Bruce.  He had been remodeling his house for an unusually long time, and had things he had completely forgotten about. 

Mixed in with the old door, two by fours and solid two by six floor decking were a few 4×8 joists. You find a lot of this kind of scrap – yes it’s a hefty piece of wood, but it’s too small to use as a joist and a little too big to really do anything with other than maybe put your car up on it in the yard.

I decided to see if I could make a lamp base out of it, but there are a couple challenges.  First off, to cut a 4×8 you either need bigger milling equipment than a table saw from The Home Depot or you need to be really precise cutting it from both sides.  I went the “really precise” route as I’m not in any position to drop a grand buying a band saw.

This gets to that old friend math again; the guard on the skillsaw is one inch from the blade, so if I want run that along a guide (to keep my hand straight and steady) my guide needs to be five inches from the edge.  I took a little piece of wood (a scrap leftover from milling scraps) and with the finish nailer, I tacked it into place.

That got me a little over halfway through the block of wood. My next step was to do exactly the same thing from the other side, and I mean exactly. The blade cut needs to meet perfectly to create a smooth surface. Which, naturally, it wasn’t exactly exact, but it was close enough for a little sanding to even it up.

The last bit is to get a hole through the length of the block without a drill press.   This, again, takes a bit of measuring and a steady hand.  Like the Chunnel, the boring bit has to meet up in the middle, which isn’t that hard, as long as you measure right.

One more hole in the side so the power cord has a place to come out, and, then it’s no longer a block on the way to the dump, but instead a cool, rugged looking lamp base. 

It was a lot of fun putting this one together, and I’m happy to say it was the first lamp that sold when I set up the commerce bit on the website.  I’m looking forward to making more!

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