How to Make Mission Style Lamps and Shades [NOOK Book]


Popular 1911 manual offers complete designs and instructions for making 18 authentic Mission lighting fixtures: chandeliers, reading lamps, droplights, desk lamps, dome fixtures, more. Complete, easy-to-follow instructions with measurements, illustrated with over 75 working drawings, diagrams and figures. No elaborate tools required. Minimal outlay for materials and equipment.
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How to Make Mission Style Lamps and Shades

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Popular 1911 manual offers complete designs and instructions for making 18 authentic Mission lighting fixtures: chandeliers, reading lamps, droplights, desk lamps, dome fixtures, more. Complete, easy-to-follow instructions with measurements, illustrated with over 75 working drawings, diagrams and figures. No elaborate tools required. Minimal outlay for materials and equipment.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486156156
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 1/9/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • File size: 8 MB

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How to Make Mission Style Lamps and Shades

By John D. Adams

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1982 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15615-6



THE simplest form of built-up shade is that used for droplights and may be made with either parallel or slanting sides, as shown in the illustration. Let us consider the parallel form.

First procure a small supply of sheet brass not over one-fiftieth of an inch in thickness, and even less for the narrow crossbars. Mark out on this the strips that will be necessary to form the various angles—twelve in all—and then accurately cut them. If a tinshop is in the vicinity, take the brass there and cut it on the foot trimmer, as there will then be no curling or twisting of the strips. Get clearly in the mind the relative positions of the one vertical and two horizontal members at each corner where they make a triple connection; and then trim off the strips to the exact lengths. Two or three dressed strips of hardwood should now be obtained, so that the strips may be properly held in the vise and without marring them. Draw a line accurately down the center of each strip to be bent, and then clamp them between the hardwood strips as shown in Fig. 1. The bending should then be done with the edge of a third strip of wood, the lower edge of which must be kept well down toward the vise so as to make a sharp bend. A uniform strip of angular section can be produced only when the bending has been done uniformly along the entire length at the same time. If it is necessary to use a hammer in finishing apply it to the block, hitting rather lightly, and never twice in the same place in succession. Should a vise not be available, the next best plan is to fasten two strips of hardwood to a piece of board, leaving a very small slit between them, into which the strip of metal may be placed for bending, as shown in the lower part of Fig. 1.

In connecting up, the four angle strips of any one side are first joined, after which the vertical and horizontal crossbars are inserted. The four members of the side directly opposite are then to be connected in the same manner, after which the two complete sides so formed are connected by the four remaining angle strips—one at the top and bottom of each of the other two sides. It will usually be found advisable to use small rivets at the top connections, which hold the pieces together in a manner that permits their being adjusted squarely as the bottom pieces are placed and soldered.

To hang the shade, either one of two methods may be adopted. The simplest way is to provide two strips of rather heavier brass and bend their ends so that they will arch across the top as shown. At the place of crossing a hole is bored for the cord to pass through, and the four ends are riveted or soldered to the top angle strips. The shade will then hang directly on the top of the socket.

In the second and more substantial method, a crosspiece is provided with a hole large enough to allow the nipple in the top of the socket to pass, as shown in Fig. 2. These nipples, when of metal, are usually double-ended, in which case the upper portion must be sawn off with the hacksaw.

In the tapering form of drop shade the general method of construction is identical, except that there are practically no right angles. One should first lay out the shade full size and with sufficient accuracy to enable all angles being measured direct from the plat. The upper corner angles are quite a little larger than 90°, and the lower ones naturally as much less. Before proceeding with the bending, place the two strips of hardwood in the vise and plane off the upper edges at the proper angle. The upper angle strips may then be bent up the slope, and the lower ones down. In this way we get one angle as much more as the other is less than 90°.

When the entire frame has been assembled, brighten up the outer surfaces with some old emery cloth, after which apply a coat of lacquer. Even ordinary frosted glass makes an excellent appearance with a finish of this character.



LET us now carry out on a somewhat more extensive scale the method described in the previous chapter for making a brass lamp-shade frame, and as a reward we shall have the attractive reading lamp that forms the subject of the accompanying illustration. It should be remembered, however, that without color our illustration does poor justice to this lamp, much less giving any adequate idea of the appearance when illuminated. The glass is of a milky white streaked with blue, and when lit up is very suggestive of sky and water. The scenic effect is made from thin brass, hammer-marked and somewhat oxidized, which appears a dead black at night.

The first step will be to make a plat of one side of the shade, noting that the slant distance is 7 in. and not 6 in. From a consideration of this determine the amount of material necessary, and get clearly in mind the method of making the triple connection at each corner. If any doubt exists on these points, it would be well to cut and bend into angles some strips of light cardboard or thin tin, so that a preliminary frame may be constructed. The various pieces of the temporary structure may then be taken apart and flattened out to serve as patterns in working up the brass or copper.

Having bent the twelve angle strips between wood, as described in the preceding chapter, the four members of one side should be soldered or sweated together. The opposite side is next formed, and then connected to the first by means of the four remaining angle strips. During the setting up, keep the plat constantly at hand so that all angles will be correct and uniform.

Some simple scenes should be decided upon and then drawn out on paper full size. Procure the necessary amount of thin (say, one-sixty-fourth) brass or copper, and transfer the designs thereto by means of carbon transfer paper. Cut out with the tin-snips, and then beat up the design with the ball end of the hammer over a block of hardwood. Foliage, tree trunks, etc., should be accentuated. The metal should then be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, after which it may be darkened by a solution of potassium sulphide and water. Copper may be colored by simply heating to the proper degree. A little fine emery or pumice is then used to rub up the highlights, after which the pieces are attached to the frame by tacking them with solder to the inside of the corner angle strips. A paper pattern is now to be made so that the glass may be properly ordered. To secure this in place we may solder into the corner angles some small pieces of brass, as at A in Fig. 3, which are bent over when the glass is placed. Where a little more space is available, adopt the method shown at B, bending the two ends over onto the glass, as at C. If the glass is heavy and accurately fitted, as at D, only two of the four pieces need be secured, and these only at the top and bottom.

The base of the lamp is composed of a single block of wood, which is completely beveled off on top, with the exception of a space 2 in. square, in the center of which a ¾-in. square hole is mortised to receive the end of the standard, which is now to be gotten out and tenoned to match. The upper end of the standard is built out so as to form a cap, and is then drilled out for the socket to fit in, as shown in Fig. 4. See that the nipple is securely screwed into the socket and fits tightly into the wood. When ready to screw it down, apply a little glue to harden the fibers and fill all interstices. Drill a 3/8-in. hole lengthwise clear through the standard, and then cut a groove in the under side of the base—all for holding the electric cord. Attach the base and standard together with glue on the mortise-and-tenon joint. When dry, apply the necessary stain and filler, and polish with wax when dry. Prepare the four brass or copper brackets and attach them with round-head screws. The four thin bracket arms that support the shade are now to be made and attached, after which the placing of the shade in position completes the lamp.



IN offering a second lamp with a scenic shade it is not our intention to go over the ground of the preceding chapter, but rather to point out some of the modifications possible with this interesting type of lamp.

In the first place it will be noted that the shade has a greater spread and less of a slope than reading lamp No. I, thus making it better adapted to a 32-candlepower or even a strong tungsten light. The socket should be operated by a drop pull.

If desired, the entire framework of the shade may be made of copper and thoroughly hammered, in which case it will be found best to do the hammering before forming the strips into angles. Should the strips become hardened during the process, soften them by heating over the gas flame. On account of the sharp angle of the shade the reader will do well to visit the local tinshop and secure some thin, flat strips of tin, from which he can make and fit a preliminary frame, thus avoiding all danger of spoiling the copper. In this manner all angles involved may be made plain and the entire task greatly simplified. The metal is now to be colored by oxidizing it with some solution such as potassium sulphide and water, after which rub up the highlights and apply a coat of lacquer to make the effect permanent.

A new feature in the metal work of this lamp is the lengthened brackets that support the shade. These should be made of stock measuring 1/8 in. by ½ in., and may be trimmed up on their lower ends in any attractive form. Attach them with round-head brass screws. And by the way, let not the reader imagine that there is anything inherently inartistic in screwheads, or that there is any great reason why we should go out of our way to conceal them. Carefully finished metal on well finished wood has the peculiar attractiveness of a scientific instrument. But the effect is entirely lost if the screwheads are rough or burred. Place each screw in the breast drill, which is then clamped in the vise so that one hand will be free to polish the head with old emery cloth.

The woodwork of this lamp will require some little care on the part of those whose experience in carpentry is just beginning. After trimming up squarely and to the exact size, the base block should first be marked as in Fig. 5. Saw off first the two slices that run across the grain. Plane down to line before cutting off the other two slices. Use sandpaper only when placed on a small block, so that all surfaces will be flat, and all angles and corners sharp. The four small feet are now to be glued and tacked on with small brads, allowing them to project a trifle beyond the base, so that when the glue has set they can be trimmed off exactly flush. Mortise a I-in. hole in the center.

The standard will also present some opportunity for accurate work, on account of the widened base and the attached tenon that fits into the base. Trim up the piece of timber accurately, and then mark it off with guide lines, as in Fig. 5. First saw out two sides directly opposite and finish these down to line before cutting into a third side. Of course, this job might be delegated to the neighboring carpenter, but in that case our lamp would not be strictly home-made. Work slowly and without hurry, keeping the try-square at hand, and all will go well. The central hole for the cord should be about the size of a lead-pencil, and on account of its length will have to be drilled from both ends. Set up the mortise-and-tenon joint with glue and clamp firmly until dry.

The stain must be evenly applied. When dry, put on a coat of filler, rubbing off all the surplus from the surface. When this has dried well, the piece is to be lightly sandpapered, and then rubbed up with wax.

Attach the socket to the standard as shown in Fig. 4, and run the cord down the central hole and out to one side. The bottoms of the four feet should be covered with felt.

For the benefit of those who have done some Venetian iron work or forging, we append Fig. 6, showing how a standard may be made by suitably bending four strips of metal and fitting them around a central brass tube, to the upper end of which the socket is attached, as shown in Fig. 7. The cord runs down this tube and then out to one side through a groove in the base.



IN selecting the glass for a dining-room dome every consideration should be given to the general color scheme of the room. With any of the better forms of art glass, such as the mottled effects in green, amber or pink, no further decorative features need be added, beyond that afforded by the metal framing. It may be that nothing but the ordinary rough frosted glass is available, in which case a few added lines, suggestive of leaded glass, will not be inappropriate.

Of the various angle strips composing the frame, only the four lower ones and the short corner vertical members are exact right angles. If the reader has access to a machinery supply house, it would be well to procure a sufficient length of thin square brass tubing and form the angle pieces therefrom by filing off two diametrically opposite corners. In this manner perfect angles will be obtained which will form a very accurate foundation upon which the remainder of the structure may be built.

In constructing this piece some small clamps, or even spring clothespins, will be found convenient. Arrange the bottom angles squarely on the bench, or any convenient surface that is perfectly flat, and set in a few wire brads to keep them from shifting. Trim up the four vertical corner angles to the exact length and perfectly square on their ends. Set these in position with clamps, and then attach their lower ends to the horizontal angles with solder. From the drawing determine the angle of the four angle strips that connect the top to the side panels, and, after the method illustrated in Fig. 1 (page 16), proceed to bend them from strips of brass about a fortieth of an inch thick. Cut these to length and trim their ends to the proper angle, after which they may be set up and clamped in place ready for soldering. The larger square block at the top is now to be made ready, and, after bending the four small top angle pieces, secure them to this block with small woodscrews. The block is now to be supported above the bench in its proper position relative to the framework thus far made, in which position the four slanting ridge angles may be fitted in place. When everything is correctly adjusted, proceed with the final soldering. Often a small alcohol lamp and blowpipe will be found much more convenient than a soldering-iron, as there is then no danger of disturbing the work. After soldering in some small clips to hold the glass (Fig. 3, page 23), the frame should be trimmed up with the file where necessary, any extra solder removed, and the whole rubbed bright with old emery cloth. The small top block is now to be made ready and applied, after which the electric fixture, for two, three or four lights as desired, must be placed. In Fig. 8 is a sectional view through the top of the dome, showing a four-light cluster improvised from ordinary sockets. A piece of brass about a sixteenth of an inch thick, in the form of a cross, has a large hole near each end, through which the nipple in the end of the socket may pass. By screwing the nippies up tightly the sockets are all held firmly in place, and may be arranged at the proper angle by bending the ends of the brass cross upward. A small block serves to maintain the lights at the proper distance from the roof of the dome.

The supporting chain may be of metal or wood. If of the latter material, the reader will find an easy way of constructing it described in Popular Mechanics handbook on "Arts-Crafts Lamps." The wires are run out through a hole in the top and follow up the chain to the ceiling.


Excerpted from How to Make Mission Style Lamps and Shades by John D. Adams. Copyright © 1982 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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