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...
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
green accent that color-matched a green swirl in one of the
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
condition, and the clients agreed.
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).
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
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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