Hole Saw Lamp

Let's make a


This project is rated as difficult. Tools must be used and it is advised that this project be undertaken only by an adult.

Materials needed: Electric drill, hole saws, sandpaper, stain and varnish (or paint), electrical parts (socket, wire, plug), threaded lamp pipe

Two previous projects, TOP and YOYO, involved the use of a hole saw. Those projects involved the use of a hole saw. This project is more advanced. It requires more individual parts and requires more work in the assembly phase. Although this project is not for the faint-hearted, if you persevere, you can create a beautiful, useful lamp.

Normally, in order to make a wooden lamp, the craftsperson must have a lathe. This project offers an alternative for persons that do not own a lathe. Pictured below is a sample lamp made by the methods to be discussed.

You can purchase individual hole saws in various sizes, or you can buy a kit that contains various sizes of saws. In such a kit there are usually saws ranging from 1" to 2.25".

1. Using your hole saw, cut out a number of round pieces. You can make several different sizes using various types of wood. The number of pieces you will need depends on how tall a lamp you wish to make. When you use your hole saw, it is best to drill part way through from one side and then complete the cut by drilling from the other side. You will make an assortment of pieces similar to those illustrated below:

2. You will need a base for your lamp (4.5" or larger depending on the height of the lamp) and you will not be able to make it with your hole saw. You have several options.
a. You can draw a circle on a piece of wood and cut out the base with a coping saw.
b. You can just make a square base.
c. You can make the base hexagonal in shape.

3. After cutting out all the wooden pieces, they need to be smoothed. You may be able to do an adequate job by holding a piece in your hand and sanding it. Another alternative is to use your electric drill. Cut off the head of a quarter inch bolt that is about 3 inches long. You can put the bolt in your electric drill and then place a wooden piece on the bolt, securing it tightly with a washer and a nut. Then fasten a piece of sandpaper to your workbench and you can spin the wooden piece against the sandpaper to smooth it and round the edges. It may be necessary to use various grades of sandpaper to achieve the desired smoothness.

4. The base needs a large hole in the center. Drill all the way through the piece using a 1 inch bit.

5. The base needs a smaller hole (I suggest a 5/16") that is drilled from what will be the back edge of the base, parallel to the bottom of the base, into the central hole. This hole will be used for the wire to reach the hole that goes up through the interior of the lamp.

6. Although each of the other pieces will probably already have a quarter inch hole through them, this hole needs to be enlarged to three-eighths of an inch.

7. The first piece of your lamp needs to attached to the base before further assembly. Center it over the base and fasten it to the base by means of two screws up through the base and into the first piece. (As an alternative, the first piece can be glued to the base.)

8. A special type of threaded pipe can be purchased at a hardware store that is to be used for lamps. Cut a length of this pipe that is about three-eighths of an inch longer than the height of your lamp not including the base.

9. Place a flat nut on the end of the pipe (a suitable type of nut can be purchased at your local hardware store); then slide the pipe through the base and first piece of the lamp. Then add the additional pieces on to the pipe in the order that you have previously determined. When all pieces have been put in place, there should be approximately 1/4" of pipe protruding at the top.

10. The base of your electrical socket can be attached to the pipe and tightened so that all pieces are firmly held in position. (You may, or may not, want to add a harp at this point. Whether you need a harp to support the shade depends on the type of shade you have or plan to purchase.)

11. The lamp is now ready for finishing. You may stain and varnish it, or you may want to paint it. If you choose to use more than one color of paint, it may be better to paint the pieces before assembling the lamp.

12. When your finish is dry, it is time to complete the wiring. Place a plug on the end of a 6 to 8 foot length of lamp wire. Run the wire through the base to the central hole. Then push a length of wire a little greater than the height of the lamp up through the pipe. Then fasten the rest of your electrical socket to the wire and snap on the socket cover. Your lamp is now complete except for a bulb and a shade.


Cutting the pieces with a hole saw may be an intimidating task. A simpler approach is to use pieces that have been manufactured. Craft stores have beads and spherical wooden pieces that you can use. These will need to have a 3/8" hole drilled through them for the pipe. (Note: One such piece was used on the prototype.) If you have some wooden beads that are now an outgrown baby's toy. They can be recycled to make a lamp for a child's room.

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