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Trumpet and Cornet Lamps

Trumpets are interesting to work with, and they provide a number of intriguing possibilities that I have yet to fully explore.  For example, I'm looking for a small trumpet or cornet that I can mount horizontally, with the post through the middle valve, but it's tough to find good trumpets as reasonable cost for use as lamps, so I haven't made many.  Some of the lamps I have seen from others have mounted the light socket in the mouth piece receiver, but that puts it off-set from the bell, which looks out of balance to my eye ... so I prefer to mount the socket directly above the bell, even though that requires that I cut out a chunk of the rear crook ... this method also allows me to more easily mount the instrument securely to the base using a traditional lamp rod.

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My second trumpet lamp for someone in Massachusetts in as many months, this one completed April 2010 for a young man graduating from college with a Music Education degree, commissioned by his mother.  The instrument is his first trumpet, which his mom had saved.  The base is another chunk from the fabulous piece of Mahogany that I've used on a few other lamps recently ... I decided to facet the base to give it a unique look with the grain running diagonal on the corner facets.  I was happy to hear that she liked it:

"Received the trumpet lamp. OMG, it looks great!!!! Thank you so much, I know he will love it!"

(The shade in the photo is a stock shade, and was not included with the lamp)

I made this lamp in Mar 2010 for a lady in Massachusetts, who bought it for her son ... the trumpet was her son's when he was younger.  She bought her own shade, so I just installed a stock shade for these photos.  She had requested something like the lamp I made in 2005 (see below), so the base is oak and the finial is the brass treble clef that many people request.

I made this lamp in Dec 2009 for a lady in N Dakota, using a cool old trumpet that she sent me, as a present for her son ...  I used a chunk from a huge piece of gorgeous Mahogany that I had laying around, and turned a shallow pocket for the trumpet bell to sit in ... the lamp is topped off with a brass treble clef finial.  There were problems ... at one point in the process the trumpet literally fell apart in my hands as I was working with it, so I had to have a couple of important solder joints repaired ... and this lamp was delayed by problems that I was having with another lamp, such that I barely got it there before Christmas ... but I was pleased with the final result and I hope her son enjoys it!  She seems to think so:

"... the lamp arrived yesterday (Wednesday) looks great. Im sure my son will love it."

(Note:  The shade was not purchased with the lamp, and was used only for the photos.)

Here is a trumpet lamp that I made in June 2005 for a very nice person in Georgia who found this web site on Google (hey hey, we're on Google!) and asked if I would make a lamp for her son, who is a trumpet player and had just graduated from high school.  The trumpet that I found for her is very long - 23" - so I decided to accentuate that height and make the lamp tall and slender with a simple double-layer oak base.

This trumpet belonged to my mom, who had gotten it from her mother (or was it her grandmother?) and then gave it to Debbie (my sister) . . . it wasn't playable anymore, so Debbie asked for it to be made into a lamp ... I completed it in Dec 2004, using solid oak for the base.

Tips if you want to build your own:

bulletWhen I build trumpet lamps, I modify the instrument so that I can use a standard lamp rod to secure it to the base, which requires cutting a piece out of the main bend (the first bend behind the bell, see photo below).  I've seen lamps where the socket was mounted atop the leadpipe, but there are two things I don't like about that: (1) it places the socket off-center from the bell, which is normally mounted in the middle of the base, and (2) it forces the lamp builder to use a less secure method to attach the instrument to the base. Of course, my method renders the instrument unplayable, but this is of little concern for the instruments that I use ... and with this method, you can use standard premade lamp bases if you wish, which is another benefit.

bulletrod ... a piece of all-thread pipe, usually sold 36" long, which runs up through the base and the instrument to tie everything together ... you will cut this to length when you have all of the pieces, just attach the socket and pre-assemble the lamp and mark the cut-off spot with a sharpie or something, then remove it and cut it with a hack saw
bulletsocket ... if you use a stable base, you can use a pull chain socket, otherwise I recommend a push-through switch
bulleta lamp cord, 18AWG, will fit up through the rod ... you will be tempted to buy an extension cord and cut off the end to save a few $$, but 16AWG cords will not fit through the rod
bulletharp ... 1" shorter than the height of your shade, so that the shade will cover up the socket and harp but not the trumpet
bulletshade ... I can give you the name of a lady that makes custom shades if you have the fabric, otherwise there are endless places to find just the shade you want
bulletfinial ... the part that threads on the top to hold the shade in place, and like the shade is a very personal choice ... treble clef finials are very popular, but some folks like to use simple finials that won't detract from the instrument
bulletbase ... something big enough to keep the lamp steady ... I make most of my own bases these days, but I've purchased pre-made bases with good success, and you can find them in a lot of places (such as AntiqueLampSupply.com if you want to look online) ... the base (along with possibly the shade) is your chance to really get creative if you want ... the only rule is that you need a hole for the rod to pass through, and you need a pocket on the underside to allow you to install a nut and for the cord to come out the bottom and then to the back of the base somehow

Hope this helps ... good luck!

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