One Tree Woodwork

Custom woodworking and art

East meets One tree

My mother requested an Asian rice paper lamp for her meditation room for Christmas. I searched several days online and finally found one that I was fairly happy with there was not many options that didn’t come from companies that mass produce these where (I believe) quality is not the paramount concern. When I received the lamp I found it to be pretty much what I expected from a company that probably makes several hundred (maybe thousands?) of these a day. Clean design structurally sound construction and will suffice for the intended purpose.

However something in me stirred after holding the lightweight lamp, that through its refinement in the mass production process it had lost most of the warmth that should have accompanied it had it been built alone. Such is the case with trying to make furniture affordable to the masses. Nothing specifically was wrong with it at least not enough to put my finger on it but nerveless it was a sleepless night.

This is what was produced after my sleepless night. Instead of rice paper for the shades of the lamp I made some paper-thin veneer out of straight-grained fir on a floor mounted belt sander. In order for the wood to become somewhat  translucent the thickness of the wood had to get incredibly thin which resulted in using the old “put it in front of a lightbulb to gauge where it was thin enough and where it needed to thin out and then back to the belt sander. Using the intelligence in your hands to do the thinking and constant  attention to the heat that was translating between the belt sander and the wood.The frame was built out of a piece of mahogany that I reused from an antique piece of furniture that was no longer in use. With a 15 watt bulb the glow from within makes the wooden shade made of fir glow like very expensive mica.



There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

4 comments on “East meets One tree

  1. Deb
    December 29, 2013


      January 1, 2014

      Thanks Deb for coming by for a visit.
      Happy New Year!

  2. marksheridan
    January 7, 2014

    Wow, the result looks great. I’m sure that your Mom loved it. I can’t imagine how thin you had to sand the veneer down to get that effect. Mark.

      January 8, 2014

      Yea Mark it was thin real thin but as you know it’s how we woodworkers live on the edge at anytime what was going to be a proud project turns into a pile of sawdust.

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