diy carved "globe Lamp"

modern builds: s.02 Ep.07

I've really been liking exposed plywood edges as of late. Ever since I realized the veneer layer on pine plywood is just as thick as every other ply, I've been keen on using it. I used scrap pieces from other projects to make the base, orienting them so that as I carved the the recess to match the plastic globe, the layers of plywood would be gradually revealed. If I had used a lathe to make the recess the lines would all run smooth and be parallel, but because I used the Ball Gouge from Arbortech the surface wasn't perfectly smooth and symmetrical, which caused a really interesting pattern that reminds me of the growth rings of a tree.

I was inspired, largely, by the light bulb on this piece. After seeing it in an IKEA catalogue, It was always in the back of my mind and when I saw the globe-shaped shade it was a natural pairing. I initially planned on making this sometime in the future, after I had a lathe, but after testing the Ball Gouge out, I had to give this one a shot.

Overall, I'm really happy with how this came out. The tree-ring-like pattern in the recess was an unexpected bonus. It just goes to show that trying new new things... whether it's new tools, or materials, or whatever.... can really help broaden you breadth of work and make it more unique.


Materials and supplies:

I cut the pieces for my base a little oversize that way after the base was assembled, I could come back and trim it up. The diameter the base is the same as the globe.


I shot a brad nail in the corners of each layer so that they wouldn't shift and slide around while I clamped them up. Just be sure not to put a nail anywhere you'll be carving.

I made a simple, homemade compass to draw a 7" circle in the center of the base as a guide for the carving. I did my best to make sure and not carve outside the line.


Carving the recess was a lot of fun. This was the first, legit project I used the Arbortech Ball Gouge on. I wasn't sure how it would carve on the plywood, but it was surprisingly smooth. I started in the center and worked my way out, gradually. As I worked, I would put the globe into the recess and check to see what needed taken down to maintain symmetry. I used a pecil to mark the high points.


The Ball Gouge left a somewhat dimpled surface, so I used a 120 grit flap sanding disk to smooth it out more.  After that I used an 80, 120, and 220 grit sanding sponge to get the surface finish-ready.


After drilling a hole in the center of the base, I used my router to make a groove that the power cord can feed through. I took mulitiple passes, gradually carving deeper so that I didn't carve through the bowl.


I applied 3 coats of Polycrylic by Minwax in a matte finish. I used as low gloss of a finish as possible so that the light from the lamp wouldn't reflect on the base.


I assembled the lamp parts inside of the bowl and hot glued the cord in the groove on the bottom of the base. After I put the bulb in, the lamp was finished.

If you have any questions or find any issues with the article, feel free to get in touch.

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