Archive for November, 2009

Taliesin Lamps take shape

Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the Taliesin-1 is straight forward enough. But there are quite a few steps to constructing that design. I’m close to finishing this batch. I still have to build the shades (most parts are already cut out), sand everything and apply finish. Oh, did I say they’re due on Tuesday?  I’ll add a few pictures here to show some stages of production. Click on a picture and you should get a description of what it is & what’s going on with it.


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Night Lights are on hold for a couple of days as I try to get some work done on the Taliesin Minis that I make for a Japanese company in Los Angeles.

Taliesin Mini table lamp

Taliesin Mini Table Lamp

I’ve been making these & other Frank Lloyd Wright lamps for over 11 years now. You’d think I’d get tired of making them (well, I do sometimes) but, really, the challenge of these & other multiples I make is to get the process down to the point that I don’t have to think too hard about it. I have jigs, fixtures and copious notes to guide me along the way. It’s not that I don’t make changes to the process, because I do, but the changes I make are to improve the process — make it faster, better, easier. Change is never about quality. Quality is a given. And I don’t change the design. Obviously, it’s not my design so it’s not for me to alter. Any change to process (production, if you will) must remain true to the original look of the lamp. The Taliesin-1 Table lamp was first built by Wright in 1925. What I make in 2009 is virtually identical in appearance. (But not process, and IMHO, my lamp is better construction.)  And speaking of construction, We (wife & I) went to Taliesin in Wisconsin for a tour. I can see why people complain about Wright’s buildings… they look good, but they’d never pass a building inspection today. I took a close look at an original floor lamp, called the Taliesin-2 (they were kind of built in; going from floor to ceiling & attached at both points). I don’t make this particular model. But the wiring on this lamp was down right scary! Where the light sockets were, the wires were attached and bare; within easy reach of one’s fingers!

Taliesin-2 Floor Lamp

Taliesin-2 Floor Lamp

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Night Light construction pics

One of the problems of being self employed is that family can put a kink in one’s plans.  Today, instead of working on night lights and Taliesin lamps, I got to help my daughter & family move to a new apt.

But, as promised, I did get a couple of pics of the framework for the night light I am making for Christmas sales.

I use a Blum (pronounced bloom) hinge boring jig that attaches to my drill press to drill several of the holes shown. The nice thing about the Blum is that it can drill three of the holes at one time saving a little time. The picts here show the jig in operation and the finished pieces. (I was pretty lucky; about 20 years ago, I won this drilling attachment in a raffle. I don’t think they’re made anymore and the current hinge drilling units (free standing with motor & hold downs) go for about $2000 and up.)

The large dowel has four of the veneers I’ll use in the night lights. I form the veneers using a commercial veneer softener (available from http://www.joewoodworker.com) to wet the veneers, wrap them around the dowel with paper towels, then place in a vacuum bag.


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Getting ready for Xmas

Our local Art Center has an annual “Craft Art Market that I’m trying to make some night lights for, as well as small “Date Books” (pocket calendars).

Both items are always more work than they should be for the price charged. And of course, the AC takes 40% which makes it even worse. To get them done in a timely manner (timeliness is not a strong point) I’ve had to work this weekend even though we’ve had dinner guests both evenings & I should have stayed home. — Tell me, do any self employed woodworkers make time & 1/2? on the weekends? or even for working over 40hrs/week?

Some of the shades are made from veneers and they look really cool. others are made from hand painted silk. I’ll try to upload a couple of pics (the whole point of this blog) of the nite lites as well as the beginning process of making the frames for the veneer/silk shades.

I haven’t started on the calendars yet. I need to work on pictures that buyers will think are worthy of purchase.   All due this coming week.

I use a really cheap hole saw to drill out the circles used for the top & bottom of the frames. It’s great because I can put two blades in the saw fixture and cut both the outside and the inside “groove” that holds the veneer. I’ll try tomorrow or later to take pictures of how I cut all the other holes in the frames.

This is all new to me…. I’m even taking an Adult Ed class on Blogging to figure out what’s going on. (I’ve had a computer since the ’80’s but that doesn’t mean I’m literate.)

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Hello world!

Welcome to Los Osos Woodworking’s blog. I hope to be able to add pictures of work in progress.

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