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Last Updated: 08/08/2007



Prairie Desk Lamp

Prairie Desk Lamp
Prairie Desk Lamp
(from American Woodworker Magazine)

I happened across an article in the October 2004 issue of American Woodworker magazine about an "Arts & Crafts Table Lamp", and thought it'd be an interesting project to build given my interest in the A&C and Prairie styles.

Though American Woodworker claims this to be an Arts & Crafts style lamp, it's actually very similar to a lamp which Frank Lloyd Wright, the most recognized person in the Prairie style, designed in 1925 for his Taliesin home in Wisconsin.

The lamp is made from African Mahogany (Khaya), which looks identical to the more famous Spanish and Honduras Mahoganies which have become rare and expensive. One change I made to the original design is that instead of using Mahogany splines in the mitered joints of the base and arm, I used Black Walnut to show contrast.

For the finish, the lamp has two coats of boiled linseed oil mixed 1:1 with mineral spirits and wiped on, to darken the wood and bring out its character. The final coats were polyurethane mixed 2:1 with mineral spirits, wiped on and sanded lightly between applications.

Another change from the original design was to inset a copper plate into the top of the base, and connect this with a wire to a touchswitch circuit, so that the lamp can be turned on and off with a touch to the base rather than fumbling for a switch on the cord. The touchswitch circuit is mounted in a recess in the underside of the base.

Since I went to the trouble of laying out a circuit board for the touchswitch circuit, I've decided to offer these for sale.

A final change I made was to use amber mica for the shade instead of stained glass. This was a material that was popular around 1900 for lampshades.





Prairie Lamp Shade
Prairie Lamp Shade
Prairie Lamp Base
Prairie Lamp Base
Prairie Lamp Base and Shade
Prairie Lamp Base and Shade
Prairie Lamp Completed
Prairie Lamp Completed
Prairie Lamp Completed
Prairie Lamp Completed
Prairie Lamp Completed
Prairie Lamp Completed