Shoji Lamp

Believe it or not, the idea for this lamp came to me while scrutinizing some flea-market lampshades made from used popsicle sticks. The concept, I decided, was sound. But I wanted to make some changes. So instead of gorging myself on 100 Dreamsicles, I decided to use 1/4″ maple strips. And instead of creating a true oddity of Americana, I chose to look to the Far East to create a lamp that would be at home in a Japanese household.

Thin Sticks • First you need to cut the 88 sticks that make up the sides. Rip some 1/4″-thick maple into 1/4″-wide strips. I found that a board that’s 1/4″ thick, 6″ wide and 4′ long makes one lamp. Now crosscut the strips to 6-1/8″ long.

A Jig Makes it Quick • Now drill the 176 holes in the side pieces for the four dowels that hold the lamp together. I made a jig to hold a side piece in place on my drill press while I drilled the holes. The center of each 1/8″ hole is located 3/16″ in from each end. Now sand all the pieces.

Build the Base • First cut the base to size and cut two 1/4″-deep by 3/4″-wide grooves in the bottom of the base. These should be located 7/8″ from the edges. Glue the feet in place. Now mark on the base where the four dowels will be located. Here’s how: Draw two lines between the opposite corners of the base. This creates an “X” at the center of the board. Measure out 4-1/16″ from the center on each of these four lines. Drill a 1/8″ hole at each location.

Assembly • Sand your four 1/8″ dowels a bit and put some wax on them. Slide the side pieces onto the dowels. When you’ve reached your final height, glue the four dowels into the base. Glue the top two side pieces to the dowels and cut them flush to the top.

Add the Paper • Glue the shoji paper to the inside of the lamp. I cut out four pieces of paper and glued them to the inside using yellow glue sparingly. Add your light fixture and you’re done. No finish is required. PW

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Christopher Schwarz is a senior editor at Popular Woodworking.

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