Circles of Light

We do the oddest projects.

planning_IR_IR.jpg  Initial Layout  

People who know us, know we are always working on something. It’s true.  Some have questioned what we are up to these days.

bending rings_IR.jpg  Cutting strapping material for circles (rings)

(Besides a gazillion other things), we tell them we are working on a chandelier.   “What kind of chandelier?”, they’ll ask.

compass_IR.jpg  Preparing jig to weld rings

cut template_IR.jpg  Cutting jig template on bandsaw

“It’s kinda hard to describe”, we reply

setup_IR.jpg  Ring set up in jig, ready to weld

“What does it look like?”

“A bunch of circles around a tube”, we’ll tell them.

weldring_IR.jpg  Welding one of many rings

After a pause and a quizzical look, they come up with their next question.

k grnd rings_IR.jpg Grinding one of many rings

“What’s it made of?”

“Metal … mostly.” We say.

grindpins_IR.jpg Grinding steel pin connectors

“How did you come up with it?”

We saw something like it 10 – 15 years ago in a fancy light shop… and were inspired by it’s uniqueness… and thought someday we’ll make something like it. So we wired the house when we built it (a decade ago now) with this chandelier in mind.

mockup_IR.jpg  Mock up of ring assembly

weldrings_IR.jpg  Welding rings together into subassembly

The design has been a complex math problem.  Our ceiling is 14’ high, and we want the chandelier  8 – 9’ off the ground. It should have a decent Length-over-Diameter to have a pleasing aesthetic. So we had to calculate not only the circle diameter, but their circumference as they are splayed out and reduce as it goes away from the center.

weldg_IR.jpg  Welding ring assembly

Should we do a splayed series of 3 circles or 4?  13″, 15″, 17″ diameter or 19″ diameter, (which equates to 30-some inches splayed out), or all of the above… Hmmm?  The bigger the ring diameter, the longer the overall length.  Decisions. Decisions… and lots of layouts and mockups.

grind rings_IR.jpg  Grinding ring assembly

Should we paper mache the exterior of the center tube or sand blast to assure the light bulb doesn’t become overly prevalent.  We’re looking for more of a ‘glow’ afterall.

sprayg_IR.jpg  Spraying spray tack on inner tube

As we work through building this unique project that has been on our project docket for well over a decade, it occurs to me that it isn’t just Circles of Light… but Circles of Life.

Our life, all the many projects, trials and tribulations, friends & family come and gone – on and off.

spraypaper_IR.jpg  Spraying textured art paper to coat tube

papertube_IR.jpg  Applying paper to tube and trimming

Somehow, as it comes to fruition after all this time, so many things have changed in our own life, and it makes us reflect on those things we have accomplished, and those things we have lost.

paintg_IR.jpgPainting interior of chandelier ‘shade’

As it shines down from it’s new home, it casts shadows, points of light, and a soft subtle glow.  It has it’s new beginning, and will shine long after we are gone.

finsished close_IR.jpgThe big reveal

finished far_IR.jpg

Stained Glass Floor Lamp

glass panels4_IR.jpg  Finished stained glass panels for floor lamp

Remember those stained glass panels I wrote about here? .. https://kritterspaw.com/2019/03/18/one-thing-begets-another/ 

We have been working hard to get the woodworking done to receive the panels I worked so hard on… but the woodworking has proven to be as labor intensive as the glass work.

napkin_IR.jpg Initial back of the napkin concept drawing

I got a hearty laugh, when someone mentioned to me the other day, that as I put out these blogs, that people will know how to make our projects.

pillars groves_IR.jpg Making pillars for uprights to support stained glass panels

We never have plans for any of our projects.  Projects for us start as a hair brain idea and a need for something… in this case for a floor lamp to be able to read by… which morphed to wanting to match it to the stained glass door we had just finished.

pillargroves4_IR.jpg  Cut upright pillars

stretchers fit_IR.jpg  Trial fit of pillars to stretchers

We actually think through the project and ask ourselves questions as to how it might go together and draw up multiple concept cartoon drawings for the different pieces and phases of the project.

plans_IR.jpg  Cutting list

We then make a cutting list of the pieces and parts that need to go together, making sure to include stacked dimensions of the veneered pieces, various tongues, grooves, or other cut outs.

pillars glued_IR.jpgGlued together top section for glass panels

We often design on the fly, and the project may morph as we go along.

shelf veneer_IR.jpg  Cutting mesquite inlay for shelf

shelf_IR.jpg  Gluing shelf together

Which was the case when we decided to make a pull out shelf for the lamp base, so that we could sit a glass of wine (or coffee) on it while we read.

baseboard joint_IR.jpg  Making our own baseboard molding from pecan lumber (started as tree cut from our yard)

baseboard moldg_IR.jpg  Cutting moulding on baseboard 

Of course, in true Ritter style, the shelf had to have 3 inlays, made with birch, mesquite and pecan.

cuttg mirror_IR.jpg  Cutting mirror for light reflection

mirror ret2_IR.jpg  Retainer for mirror on top stretchers

To further complicate things as we went along, we decided to add a mirror to the top of the lamp to reflect back light that would beam through the glass panels… so yet another change had to be incorporated … no drawings to be had.

trail fit_IR.jpg  Trial fit of glass panels with light and mirror

Once we started on the base, cutting all the sides, top, bottom, and lots of pecan veneer… we decided the empty box would be better with a door… and power to be able to charge a tablet or phone.. and storage for magazines and such.

bottom ply_IR.jpg  Cutting birch bottom section pieces

veneer_IR.jpg  Cutting veneer

So with yet another change (no drawings) we are off on the fly again morphing the design to continuously improve this already interesting project we have embarked on (same ol’, same ol’ around here!)

partsnpcs_IR.jpg  Bits and pieces of bottom section, cut and veneered

door hinge_IR.jpg  Hinge recessed for door

With all the bottom pieces cut, veneered, shelf designed, cut, glued, door made, and new designs incorporated… we are finally ready for final sanding (and sanding!) and gluing.

bottclamps_IR.jpg  Lower section glued and clamped together

Someone else suggested once, we could put our projects on Pinterest… What?, and have them steal and make our ideas?  Ha, not likely.

basebd_IR.jpg  Gluing baseboard moulding

staing2_IR.jpg  Staining lower cabinet section

Since only a subset of the actual steps and operations are represented here (none of the jointing, plaining, mortise & tenons, etc, etc), no plans in sight, not to mention the 6 months of labor… I think we’re safe in no one copying our designs!  There I go, heartily laughing again.  You know what they say, ” Laughter is the best medicine.”

sprayg2_IR.jpgSpray lacquering cabinet top, bottom, and pieces

No matter.  We work for ourselves and do projects that intrigue and interest us for our own perceived ‘need’.  We enjoy the work, the problem solving, and the end product.  It is always intellectually challenging, fulfilling, and leaves us with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  That’s all that really matters.

finished vert_IR.jpg Finished lamp with shelf pulled out

finished lamp_IR.jpg Finished lamp in place

 

 

One thing begets another

You know how you embark on a project and once you’re done,  it has created a new list of projects?  Kinda like when you remodel your kitchen and you do the cabinets… and soon as it’s done, the floor now needs to be done.

You read about my stained glass door here … https://kritterspaw.com/2018/12/10/stained-glass-door/ 

The door came out great, and is now a centerpiece in the house.  I was already planning on building a stained glass floor lamp, but something simple.  With the door completed, and the elks peering in on us…  our lamp design took another turn.  Why not use animals from our forest to grace our lamp.

So I began the task of drawing up patterns for 4 panels….

eagle patt_IR.jpg

There would be an eagle, a squirrel, hummingbirds, and a pygmy owl.

With the patterns drawn, the pattern pieces had to be made.. and glass had to be cut.

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I did one panel at a time… pattern, glass cut, grind, foil / lead, solder, pack, repeat four times.

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Once the glass was cut and ground, each piece had to be foiled or leaded.

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After it was leaded, all the joints had to be soldered, and then it was packed with a window caulking and glazed with a gypsum powder.

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All to make a final glass panels to ready for the wood working portion of the project.

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On to the next phase.

To be continued…..