Turning Segmented Lamps
Published by Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, Pennsylvania USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 160
Segmented work has a special appeal for those who enjoy meticulous planning and extremely accurate woodturning. But aside from bowls, most segmented pieces are purely decorative.
The author of this book shows how segmented designs can be used to make items that are not only attractive, but useful as well.
Ralph Buckland presents readers with a wide variety of lamps, but before that, he devotes about a third of his book to the processes and techniques involved in Segmented Turning and also to some of the methods that can be employed to decorate the turned pieces.
The text is clear and concise and it is supported by informative photos and drawings.
The remainder of the book contains 19 table lamp projects, arranged in order of complexity.
The first is a Confetti Lamp which is basically a squat circular turned holder for commercially available oil lamps. Since these may not be available locally, a metal bottomed tea candle might have to be substituted (with whatever changes are necessary to do this safely).
The second is a Dot Lamp which is decorated, not surprisingly, by wooden plugs which form randomly spaced dots on its twin sphere body.
Next is a Barrel Lamp (no explanation needed) and a Rope and Lace Lamp, which, like the Rope Weave Lamp that follows it, is decorated with cords that form contrasting patterns on the turned surface.
There's also a Navajo Lamp, a Walnut Nut Lamp and a Kokopelli Lamp. If you're wondering what Kokopelli are, the author explains they are pictographs which were used to decorate Hohokam pottery made in the American Southwest in about 750 to 850AD. The figures, which usually show a man, often humpbacked, playing a musical instrument, are inlaid on the Lamp.
From these brief descriptions, it is easy to see that the projects are as much exploratory as they are innovative.
One, perhaps, goes a little too far. A Bad Day in the Shop Lamp, has a base in the form of a small table saw supporting a turned column that holds the lamp and shade. Beside the sawblade protruding from the top of the table saw are three amputated fingers.
The Sun Bonnet Sue Lamp and Quilted Milk Can Lamp are decorated with much less disturbing images - small inlaid marquetry figures and houses.
The final project is a Pagoda Lamp. It's easy to see why this was chosen as the most complex of the 19. It consists of six sections, one on top of the other, diminishing in size as they rise from the base to the top cap. In addition to the instructional text and descriptive photos, there are 14 pages of drawings for this project alone.
While there would clearly be a great deal of work involved in making this lamp, the result would surely be a stunning addition to any home.
Turning Segmented Lamps should offer even those who have occasionally experimented with this type of woodturning, helpful guidance in their exploration of this challenging field.
Units of Measurement: Imperial
and Basic Segmented Turning
Section: Processes and Techniques