pool table stained glass light,billiards stained glass light,pool table lighting,billiard table lighting

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custom pool table lampshade
In the winter and spring of 2015, I built this custom designed pool table light for a family in Columbus Ohio. The clients had contacted some local stained glass studios, but were turned down concerning this project. I can understand that decision because this was like nothing I had undertaken before, and it required figuring out how to create a one of a kind pool table lampshade that would be both enduring and beautiful.

The design itself took many months to complete. The final drawings are as you see here...
custom pool table lampshade design
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They had originally wanted accents of blue, green and purple mixed in with the yellows, reds and oranges that were the main color scheme (as in the photo to the right). At the last minute, I convinced them to leave out the blue and purple and go with a green accent that color-matched a green swirl in one of the yellow-orange glasses.
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billiard table light




Constructing this billiard table light began with figuring out the undercarriage that would provide adequate strength to this large, heavy, fragile artwork. I designed a steel framework to which I would afix the eight stained glass panels. I contacted a local welding shop and the owner suggested that 3/8" square steel bars would be strong enough to support the weight of lead and glass with minimal internal bracing. The result is the frame you see to the right.
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custom stained glass lampshade


Construction of this artwork required that I learn several new techniques. For example, once the eight flat panels were completed, attaching them to the steel frame required that I learn to solder vertically. At one point, I found that if I moved the lampshade so that 1/3 of it was hanging off the edge of my work table, I could stand up inside the shade. This made it possible to solder in place the brass wires that hold the stained glass panels tightly to the steel frame.
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pool table stained glass lamp shadeHere you can see the completed pool table lamp shade just prior to moving it off the work table for the first time. To make it possible for two people to carry it, I constructed special handles that attached to the hanging-points at the top of the steel frame. These did not work well, so carrying it meant lowering it onto a wood board and picking it up from underneath. In this way, my son and I were able to carry it out of my basement, where I work in the winter months.

The original plan was to ship this artwork, and I have a lot of trust in my usual shippers. But as I neared the end of this project, I decided that I wasn't 100% sure that my shippers would get this there unbroken, and I'd rather drive it to Ohio than take the chance that the shippers might break it. Breakage while shipping is rare and flat panels are not hard to fix, but having to fix this lampshade would have been quite difficult as it would have required removing panels from the frame, and that prospect was even more mind-boggling than putting it together to begin with. So driving it to the client's home seemed the best way to ensure that it got there in mint condition, and the clients agreed.
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custom stained glass lamp shade

Here the artwork has been washed and a chemical patina has been scrubbed on to darken the metallic parts. Afterwards, I cut a new board for transportation that had wood pieces screwed on to all four sides of the board so the artwork could not slide around. Once my son and I loaded the lampshade into the back of my van, I used ropes to tie it securely to the floor of my van. My son helped me drive it to Ohio over his spring break, and we had a great father-son road trip (thankfully I was driving when an 18-wheeler didn't see us and forced us off the highway by changing lanes right as we were passing it).
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billiard table stained glass lamp



And here is the lampshade safely hung over the billiard table. There is a photo my son took of me sitting on the scaffolding inside the lampshade while I attached the super-bright LED strips to the steel frame on the inside, but I couldn't locate it.

The local electrician had some initial problems with getting the LED lights to work so I had to return to Colorado before I could get a photo of the artwork all lit up, but the client assures me it all came out well in the end.

I will add a photo here of the lampshade lit up once the clients send me one. And if I'm ever passing through Ohio again, we have a standing invitation to stop in for a game or two...

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