Thursday, April 21, 2016

Really Random Thursday, 4/21/16: Let There Be Light

A few months ago, I saw this picture on Instagram (@best_upcycler). I like unique lamps, and found the quirkiness of this one especially appealing. (Note: You can find this lamp and lots of other very cool bike-related items on Etsy at Bespoke Spokes.)

My brother-in-law, Leon, has done a lot of cycling over the years. Beyond that, he is an expert at making things, or at the very least "modifying" existing things. He worked for years at the Science Museum of Minnesota (which I highly recommend if you are ever in the Twin Cities area, by the way), making sure all the exhibits were properly installed and working.

So I sent him this picture.

And look what arrived at our doorstep the other day!
Here is the coolest part. He enclosed a 6-page summary of how he made this lamp. Some of the really interesting things I learned:

Because of its complex nature, and the fact that he is now retired from the Museum, he didn't have all the necessary tools. And "Every step of this construction has been a problem that needed solving with an execution plan."  When I sent him the picture, I had no idea, and no expectation, that he would end up having to purchase tools! Fortunately they were tools that he had been talking about purchasing anyway. So in a way, I was being helpful, right??

The base of the lamp was a free wheel from Leon's cross bike that he bought 40 years ago. It was used for 30 years and then stored for future use. It was very rusty from winter biking (yes, he biked to and from the museum in below-zero weather!) and he had to do some heavy-duty work to get it looking good again. And those are sewing machine base cushions for table-top protection. Nice touch...
He bought a vintage bike lamp at a used bike shop, and then ordered a bulb off the internet which is used for track lighting. "I used a perforated aluminum plate to mount the halogen lamp into the lamp housing. This was for heat dissipation....To get this new lamp assembly into the vintage lamp took some modifications..." (NOTE: Mark and I often think "modification" should be Leon's middle name because he is such an expert at modifying and coming up with solutions.)

 This quick release bike wheel skewer feature allows the lamp angle to be adjusted...And there is an on-off switch that is on the base as well.
There are so many more details about how he made the lamp, where he sourced the parts, how he put everything together, etc., but Leon closed the summary by saying, "A finished product. I had more problems writing about what I did than making it."

Again, here is the picture of the lamp in its new environment.

I love all the time and thought that went into this. That means the very most to me. Thank you, Leon.

12 comments:

  1. I love your "bike lamp" story. It's an intriguing piece of art!

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  2. That is really neat. So thoughtful of him to make that for you and I love the back story!

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  3. My first thought as I looked at the preview picture for your post was how devoid of colour for a blog called Livr A Colourful Life.

    What a treasure you have I. Not only the gift but your brother in law. Love all the details you shared of his construction. It is great. I have an aunt who lives in St. Charles Illinois along the Fox River and there is a gorgeous bike sculpture of a fox made of bicycles. I'm sure he would enjoy seeing it.

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    1. Since I, his daughter, live in the west suburbs of Chicago, I'll mention it the next time he comes to visit.

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  4. Super cool. I guess that deserves a quilt in return.

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  5. Wow! That is an amazing piece of art as well as a working lamp. Your BIL did a wonderful job making this.

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  6. Leon is a clever fellow! Cycling is big in Melbourne and he would sell hundreds to my friends- shame they take such time and effort! "Treads and Pedals"on IG up-cycle bike parts here into cool clocks, one of which we have! I bet they'd love to see this....

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  7. Not only is that UBER cool, it really is the sweetest, too!

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  8. It's cool but the design was not yours to copy. Giving credit -- and earnings -- to original artists is very important.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder. This post has been edited to give credit to the original artist.

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