Natural Lighting Fixture

My main drive for the upcycle project was to turn a log into something useful. At first I was uncertain on the route to take with my piece. A few initial ideas were a chair, coffee table, and chandelier. The coffee table was automatically ruled out due to its comical role in the class room. Also the chair did not seem too practical because we already have so much furniture in my house. I spent a substantial amount of time researching and narrowing down other ideas through searching the web, but I was left unsure on what to create out of this canvas log. Then, after taking a good look around the upstairs of my house, I noticed that the main room could use some decorative lighting. Finally I came to the conclusion that this log was destined to be a chandelier.

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The Original log

My first step in creating the chandelier was to debark and remove the outer layer of material since it has been drastically weathered. Since the material was so dry, I had no problem cutting into it or damaging shop equipment. After stripping the log of flaws, I had to find a way to hollow out the inside to install a lighting fixture. This was probably the biggest challenge since the wood lathe could not be used due to the log’s large diameter.

Fortunately I was able to convince Mark, the head machinist at the shop in the ITLL to let me safely mount the log to a machine mill. He was hesitant because saw dust can get caught up deep inside of the components of a mill due to how fine the dust is, but his interest in the result overpowered the potential issues. IMG_1090IMG_1090Mounting the log to the mill presented quite a few issues due to the grain of the wood, and the natural cracks that were present. As I clamped the precut flat faces of the log between the vice, spontaneous loud cracking noises jumped out and had me worried that the log would collapse.

After a few attempts of different mount positions, I was able to safely grab the piece and hollow out the inside. But, there was still more work to be done. Since the goal was to create a chandelier, channels had to be cut to allow light passage. I decided that 5 channels would be a conservative option, leaving 6 braces for stability.

 

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After finishing the machining of the log, I was discontent with the way it looked from the bottom (if you’re standing in the room and looking up). I thought a stone finish would add a great aesthetic to the piece and would stay in bounds of keeping all natural. So I took a walk down to Boulder Creek to collect a variety of color and textured stones to attach to the frame of the chandelier. They covered up the dull frame by adding a warm natural finish to the base of the chandelier.

Now the piece is ready for it’s final touches. I begun experimenting with different materials to wrap the outer frame of the chandelier with in order to leave a textured pattern on the surrounding walls and ceiling. I started with a variety of small, ductile twigs that could bend a full 360 degrees around the frame. The resulting effect was a striped pattern on the walls, which was rather boring. Then the idea struck me that if it was wrapped with leaves, another aspect of nature would be contributing. Unfortunately, real leaves could not be used for they shrivel up and crumble once dehydrated. Luckily I had some fake vine laying around the house that could be used to create the same effect.

 

 

Final Frame

Final Frame

Though I am satisfied with the way this project turned out, if I were to do it again I would add branch like structures protruding from the frame of the fixture. The overall piece is a tight package currently and could use some more 3D effects. After light gets delivered, the fixture will be installed in the living room of my house.

 

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37 Comments. Leave new

So many twists and turns. It’s funny that that was supposed to be a log chandelier. Not it looks like a well camouflaged lamp. Good work!

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Good move making a lamp out of it. The vines act as a nice lamp shade!

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I like the mixture of natural and modern with the chrome. It’s a nice contrast and I think the finished product came out really well! You could try to replace your unnatural leaves with like a potted plant that grows as you use the light. Just get some LED bulbs and allow the cooler light to help it grow.

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Ashley Zimmerer
February 15, 2016 10:56 pm

Great idea, machining the log. I think it looks very natural, but the vine hides a lot of the wood. Also, why did you add the rocks? I like the contrast between the metal base and the natural shade.

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Nice job! Your final product looks very natural.

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Nicholas Flood
February 15, 2016 7:03 pm

The vines and the log go really well together. I think the rocks should be at the bottom instead of the top. Nice job!

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Peter Brunsgaard
February 15, 2016 12:30 pm

It would be super cool if you could place it in a potted plant and have a live plant growing around the light. It turned out well!

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Great aesthetic. The light looks good. The stones adds to its looks. I love the Stainless steel. How did you attach it? Update pictures on the blog

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Thomas Brunsgaard
February 15, 2016 12:27 pm

It’s funny how we get inspiration from random events (like breaking your bedside table). Did you have to remove the rocks so it wouldn’t be as top heavy? You’ll have to update us once you’ve gotten a chance to use it. Nice work!

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This lighting fixture looks great! Mother nature would be proud of your design! I think if you added bark back on to your fixture, it could give it a little extra natural, rugged look.

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Looks very cool. It gives your room a very natural theme.

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The stone and log frame looks great. The overall aesthetic is very natural and simple– good work!

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The final lamp looks great! I like the addition of the vines, they disperse the light nicely in a natural looking way.

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I said this same thing in your Upcycling project progress report, but I really respect how you just went into the shop with no plan but to mill your log through sheer stream of consciousness. I think pivoting your project to be a lampshade as opposed to a chandelier worked really well, and I think you achieved your desired naturalistic aesthetic to a tee.

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Joseph Yoshimura
February 15, 2016 12:24 pm

I think it’s great that you used so much nature in your product! From where I sit in the classroom, it actually looks like a tree. 🙂

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Anfal Abdulrahman
February 15, 2016 12:24 pm

it’s has an interesting looks into it with a contemporary and natural aesthetics. End result really nice. I hope the constant heat of light pulp won’t affect the plastic leaves over time.

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Feels like it belongs in a tree house, like the use of natural wood and stone with the stainless steel. Works much better as a lamp than the original idea as a light fixture, good work.

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That log is awesome! Cool find.

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Samantha Maierhofer
February 15, 2016 12:24 pm

Cool idea. It is unfortunate that the chandelier didn’t work but way to find an alternate solution. The end result definitely has a natural aesthetic even with the plastic leaves. The plastic leaves might even work better because true leaves might dry out over time.

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Interesting idea to use an old log. People are looking for ways to use old wood and beetle kill. The light turned out really well. I like the natural aesthetic.

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I like how your project changed to meet your needs! Even though it didn’t match your original design intent with the metal base, I think it makes it aesthetically ironic. A nice meld of contemporary and natural aesthetics.

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I like the combination of the natural aspects with a modern stainless steel stand. It definitely turned out better as a lamp!

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I like the natural aesthetic you went for and the light looks nice shining through the leaves.

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Christopher Coffman
February 15, 2016 12:22 pm

This came out very nice, looks very natural, but I am concerned about it potentially burning?

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Sreyas Krishnan
February 15, 2016 12:22 pm

Love that you ended up upcycling your upcycled project from a chandelier to a lamp haha! Truly in the spirit of the project.

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I think that having a light fixture that can also doubles as potted pot is efficient and aesthetically appealing. I think that a green light might have helped with the aesthetic a little more.

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I liked the story of trying to convince Greg/Mark to let you machine a log. It was funny and adds substance to your project. I also really liked how the lamp came about from your chandelier and old desk lamp. I like the cross between nature, and the sleek stand. It’s a really complimentary contrasting combination.

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This lamp looks awesome. I really like the stone cap and the way the light comes through the leaves.

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Rachel Grosskrueger
February 15, 2016 12:22 pm

I really like how you combined so many natural elements to your lamp! It could be really cool to expand your design down the frame of the lamp and maybe glue some bark around the stem or attach rocks or fake moss to the base of the stand!

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I really like it, especially when it is turned on. I have a urge to put a little tree house in it.

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This looks really nice for throwing random things together after unfortunate events. Also great story behind it.

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Even though the vines are fake, I do not think that they take away from your desired “natural” aesthetic, plus they will last longer.

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Wow, you truly were stubborn in sticking to your aesthetic! Your use of real leaves and real wood really drove home your all natural theme.

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Meridith Richter
February 15, 2016 12:22 pm

I think it looks really nice as a lamp shade, and I like the way the light filters through the leaves.

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Nice with the late adaption into the lamp. Everybody loves lamp.

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Nice idea from the beginning. I like how you started with your idea of using a log and stuck with it throughout. The light looks really nice through the tree leaves.

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The final result looks great. What I really liked about this project was that you used nature as your main source of materials. The task of this project was to give new life to something that was not in use and I believe that you did so. You took a dead tree and you gave it a new function. From reading your report you can see that you put a lot of though into this project and I loved the final result, but I would have liked to see how the log looked when you finished using the mill. The resound being is because that is where it seemed like the most challenging part of the project. Other then that you explained your design and building processes very clearly. good job.

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