Making a Prototype for a Chandelier
I built a chandelier about a year ago and it’s been hanging over my dining room table ever since. It’s a great piece and everyone comments on it. I’ve wanted to iterate the design and try out some new elements, namely curves. So today I started with a prototype for the new design.
The prototype is a 1/2 scale model that started from taking dimensions off the original template. The original was built on my old workbench and I drew all the dimensions right onto that top. So, I pulled that top back out from storage and transcribed the major dimensions to my new template. I scaled the whole thing down by about 75% because I want it to fit an 8′ dining room table (mine is 10′ and it works well there). And of course, the template is 1/2 scale.
After marking the dimensions, I drove nails to bend the pieces. (The pieces are from a piece of scrap cherry about 3′ long and 3″ wide). I bent the 5 slats and traced the angle where they meet the post. I also marked the joinery (holes for posts and wire). I then rough cut the posts into rectangular form and went about creating the 5 slots for the slats. I tilted the tablesaw to the correct angle, ran the post, tilted for the next one and so on (5 times).
I then pulled out my french curve and started working on the shape for the end post. I made a mirror image and cut the end posts into a sort of fluted curve. I drilled a hole for the wire to pass through both posts. The center post is a similar shape, but much smaller in height.
Finally I shaped the 5 slats. I wanted them to mimic the end post’s profile, so they grow in width from bottom to top. I also put a very subtle curve along the length of each slat, narrowing about 1/4″ at the center (on each side). I also wanted the end profile (from the side) to flare out in the same shape as the post. To do this I simply had to find what length to crosscut each slat. Finally I strung a piece of wire through the 2 bottom slats and end posts and tied them off (that’s what holds the whole thing together).
I’m very happy with the prototype. I will live with it for a week or more and see how it’s working for me. I also want to get as much critique as I can on this piece, so please comment away! I’d love to hear what you like, don’t like and how you’d change it. I look forward to building the full version soon.
Note: It’s not clear from the description and pics where the actual lights are (watch the video for more information!). See the pic below of the existing chandelier to get the full concept for how it looks with hanging lamps.