Make A Lighthouse Lamp (1940’s)

Make a Lighthouse Lamp entrance hallways and stair landings a small light is sometimes needed as a safety measure. For this purpose the model lighthouse illustrated here is ideal. It presents a pleasing appearance and costs little to operate. Construction centers around a wood-turning lathe. The pedestal is made of oak and is filled and stained to bring out the richness of the grain.

Where ever a small light is required as a safety measure this attractive lamp will be appropriate. It takes little space and operates all night at low cost. A 7 1/2-watt electric light bulb of the type used as a pilot light on electrical equipment is housed behind a piece of frosted celluloid.

Construction of the lighthouse should be  started with the pedestal. This member will require a piece of stock 4 1/4″ square and 8 1/2″ long. If a single piece of wood having as large a cross section as required is not obtainable, it will be necessary to glue up several pieces of stock to obtain a piece of the required size. A satisfactory block can be obtained by joining together four pieces of 2 1/4″ square stock, or the same result can be produced by gluing together, face to face, four pieces of 1 1/8″ stock 4 1/4″ wide. Of the two suggestions, the former is best.

To see the full diagram for building this Lighthouse Lamp, please click on the image below:

To see a large sized diagram of the Lighthouse Lamp, click on the diagram above.

The stock used for the pedestal should be mounted in the lathe for turning between centers as shown in Fig. 1. The first turning operation will reduce the square stock to a cylinder having a finished outside diameter of 4″. This work is done by using a gouge for roughing and a skew for finishing. The turned cylinder can now be marked off to establish the upper and lower limits of the tapered sides. At the dead center, which is to be the smaller end, the taper ends 3/4″ from the end of the stock. From this point to the large end of the taper, a space of 6 3/4″ should be marked off. This will leave a space of 1″ from the lower end of the taper to the live center end of the stock. The diameter of the small end of the taper which is to be 3″ is established by cutting the stock with a parting tool and using a caliper to
check the measurement. When the required diameter is established, the tapering of the cylinder can be undertaken. Gouge and skew chisels should be used.

When the tapering has been completed, the shoulder at the small end of the pedestal that is to support the walk can be turned to the proper diameter. The outside diameter of this boss is 2 1/2″ and should extend from the end of the taper to the end of the stock as shown on the drawing and in Fig. 1. The large end of the pedestal has a pin 1″ in diameter and 3/4″ long turned on it in order to join the pedestal to the base.

In Fig. 1 the pin on lower end of pedestal is being calipered to check fit with a hole bored in base. Fig. 2 shows boss on upper end of pedestal being recessed with a home-made tool made by grinding a nail.

Ring attached to scrap block is turned as shown in Fig. 4.

The glass that encloses the light is to be made of a sheet of celluloid bent to form a cylinder which fits into a groove cut in the end of the boss on the pedestal. In order to cut this 1/16″ x 1/8″ groove in the end of the stock, it will be necessary to prepare a small turning tool. The one being used in Fig. 2 was made from an ordinary tenpenny nail driven into a tool handle. The prepare the tool, the nail is driven into the handle or into a dowel far enough to be secured. The head of the nail is removed and a cutting edge is formed on a grinder.

After the turned pedestal comes out of the lathe, the next step is that of boring a 3/8″ hole through the center of the post for the wire. This operation is being done on the drill press in Fig.3. With the average drill it will be necessary to bore the hole from both ends to meet in the center. In order to bring the wires from the center hole around the porcelain light socket as shown in Fig. 7, two 1/4″ holes will have to be bored into the upper end of the pedestal to meet the center hole as shown in section A-A. These holes are located 7/8″ from the center.

Construction of the upper units of the lighthouse shown in detail in the main drawing comes next. These parts include a turned ring for support of the roof. The ring is made of 1/4″ stock 2 3/4″ square. In order to turn this ring on the lathe it will be necessary to glue the stock to a piece of 3/4″ scrap stock for mounting on a faceplate. A sheet of paper is glued between the pieces go the ring may be split off when the turning has been completed. When the 1/4″ stock has been turned down to an outside diameter of 2 1/2″, the 1/16″ x 1/8″ groove that is to take the celluloid cylinder is cut in the face. This groove should be the same diameter as the one previously cut in the upper end of the pedestal. The 1 1/2″ inside diameter is marked off on the face of the stock and is cut with a parting tool as shown in Fig. 4 or with the point of a skew chisel. The completed ring can be separated from the scrap stock by forcing the joint.

Fig. 5 – Roof is turned.

Dowels are used to support the ring.  The boring of the 1/8″ dowel holes in the ring and in the boss of the pedestal should be done in one operation to as sure alignment. The holes are located on a circumference having a diameter of 1 13/16″.  The holes are placed 90° apart. As shown in Fig. 6, the ring is fastened temporarily to the end of the boss with brads while the holes are bored.

The roof requires a piece of stock 1 1/4″ thick and 3 1/4″ square. This piece is mounted on a center screw faceplate as shown in Fig. 5. A rim is turned on the underface of the stock to fit in the upper ring. The outside face is turned as indicated in the drawing.

The walk encircling the light is made of 1/4″ stock measuring 4 1/2″ square. The ring that forms the walk is shaped as a faceplate turning. The stock is mounted on a piece  of scrap wood in the same manner as the upper ring. The outside diameter of this ring is 4 1/4″; the inside diameter is 2 1/2″ to fit over the boss.

Fig. 6 – To assure aligning dowel holes the ring is placed on boss for drilling.

The stanchions and rails mounted on the walk will require the boring of eight holes in the walk as shown in section A-A. These holes should be slightly smaller in diameter than the nails or wire to be used for the stanchions. The stanchions can be made of sixpenny nails with heads removed. They are driven into the holes. The rails are made of 12-gauge wire bent to circular shape and soldered to the stanchions. The completed walk is placed over the boss and is glued to the end of the pedestal.

The base of the lighthouse is made of 3/4″ stock. A piece at least 6 3/4″ square is set up on a faceplate in the lathe where it is turned to the required diameter. A 1/4″ chamfer should be turned on the edge of the disc. A 1″ hole is bored in the center of the base to take the pin on the end of the pedestal. A canopy switch is to be

Fig. 7

installed in the base as shown in Figs. 7 and 8. To provide for the switch, it will be necessary to bore a 1″ hole at a point 3/4″  from the edge, in the underside of the base. It should be 1/2″ deep. After this hole has been bored, a 3/8″ hole is bored in the center of the large one; it passes through to the upper face. The hole in the under side of the base may have to be enlarged with a chisel to take the switch mechanism. A 1/4″ hole is bored through the edge of the base into the switch recess in order to pass the wire. The post is now glued to the base and a 3/8″ square channel is cut from recess to center hole.

The cylindrical glass is a piece of celluloid or sunray screening 2 1/2″ wide and 7 3/16″ long. In order to

produce a translucent surface on the celluloid, the faces can be roughened with No. 0 sand paper. A wood cylinder having an out side diameter of 2 1/8″ will be required to shape the glass. A piece of wax paper is wrapped around the cylinder so the celluloid will not adhere while being cemented. The material from which the glass is to be made is wrapped around the cylinder, then the ends are lapped and cement is applied to the joint. If celluloid is used, Incite cement will be found satisfactory, while household cement will be found suitable for sunray screening. A strip of wax paper should be placed over the joint, and a sheet of thin metal is wrapped around the glass and clamped to hold it on the cylinder. When the cement has set, the glass is removed from the cylinder and is ready for installation.

Dowels entering pedestal hold up the turned ring.

The socket for the light is shown in the photographs; it takes a 7 1/2-watt pilot light bulb. The wiring is passed through the lamp. The socket is now attached.

Assembly of the upper unit consists of cutting four 1/8″ dowels to a length of
2 3/4″ and gluing them in the upper ring.  The glass is placed in the ring groove, then the entire unit is joined to the pedestal as shown in Fig. 8. Glue should be applied to secure the dowels to the pedestal. The roof is left removable so the bulb may be replaced when necessary.

Finishing of the lamp requires an application of filler, stain and then

Fig. 8

several coats of clear lacquer or white shellac.

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