Have a post outside you’d like to illuminate?
Why not try this fun outdoor lantern project? It’s great for any yard with a post that needs some light, and can be done in an afternoon.
Most of the project is based out of western red cedar, but of course if you have a wood you’d prefer to use, go for it. If you do go with the red cedar, be sure to get cuts where you can extract pieces without any knots, as they will become loose and fall out over time.
WWJ has the project details and this to describe the project in detail:
Step 1: Face-joint and plane enough stock for the four posts (A) to W thick, then joint one edge of this piece. Rip the posts to 7/8″ square, then cut them to length. Note: If you intend to form the mortises with a hollow-chisel mortiser, cut the posts 1/2″ longer than finished length to make sure the hollow chisel doesn’t tear out the 1/8″ of stock between the mortise and the top end of the post.woodworkersjournal.com
Step 2: Lay out and cut mortises in the posts as dimensioned in figure 1. (We’ve found that a router or spindle mortiser works best on cedar.) Note: If you left the posts 1/2” longer as detailed in the previous step, start the top mortise 5/8″ from the end, then trim off the extra 1/2″ from that end.
Step 3: Tilt your tablesaw blade to 25° from perpendicular. Using a miter-gauge extension and stop block, chamfer around the bottom end of each post. Remove just enough material to form a point in the center without shortening the length. You could also do this with a miter saw and a stop block clamped to the fence.
For instructions on machining the rails, the assembly of the frame, and roof preparation, continue on to the tutorial here.
Be sure to follow the instructions carefully when attaching the rails to the roof, and installing the glass. The electrical portion of installing the light may require good finger dexterity.
The gluing assembly is a bit tricky, so look closely how it is done:
Pay close atttention to WWJ’s pro tips, as they give useful information if you are new to the wood:
Western red cedar smells wonderful in the shop, but it has some peculiar traits worth noting. First, this super-soft wood damages easily. Lay a piece of cedar on a few harmless looking wood chips, and you’re liable to incur a rash of small dents on its surface. To prevent accidental marring and gouging, clean your bench top frequently, and remove unnecessary tools from the work area. Also, don’t wear jewelry while working this material. A ring or a watchband brushed carelessly across a cedar surface can easily leave an unwanted scratch or indentation.
Cedar’s other idiosyncrasy shows up whenever it comes in contact with moisture and steel. Condensation on the heads of steel nails or screws, for example, will soon make ugly black stains on this wood’s surface. Even the corrosion-resistant coatings on most deck and other outdoor-rated screws fall victim to cedar’s acidic tannins if there’s moisture around. The only failsafe solution is to use stainless-steel screws.
Wiring the lantern and attaching to the post is another part you’ll need a ladder and some special gear to finish, so be sure to grab the parts list and diagrams from WWJ here.
Share your pictures when you finish this, and let us know what you think of this project.
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