“Leg Lamp” Christmas Ornament!

Designed for CarveWright by Michael Tyler – www.carvebuddy.com

Here is a miniature wooden version of the infamous “Major Award Leg Lamp” similar to the one that appeared in the holiday movie classic, “A Christmas Story”! This eye-catching ornament is a great addition to your own Christmas tree or as a gift to friends and loved ones!

The project uses just the 1/16″ Carving Bit and the 1/8″ Cutting Bit. No other bits are required.

Overall finished dimensions are about: 2.75” diameter x 6.5 ” tall.

Main items you will need:

1) The Project Files (included): Ornament_Leg_Lamp.mpc
2) Board with the following dimensions: 0.75″ x 7 x 19″

NOTE: Do not use boards that are smaller than specified above unless using an appropriate jig.

3) One small screw eye
4) One 2″ x 0.25 ” diameter wooden dowel
5) Sandpaper, wood glue, stain and/or paint and clear finish
6) A Dremel-type rotary tool with assorted abrasive attachments to aid the sanding process. A spindle sander and small belt sander can help speed up sanding/surface prep.

STEP 1- Upload Project File(s)

Start Designer and open the .mpc file(s). (fig. 1a)

fig. 1a: Ornament_Leg_Lamp.mpc
NORMAL = 1 hr 18 min – BEST = 1 hr 50 min

All you need to do at this point is upload the project files to your memory card. (File/Upload). When you upload, you may or may not get a pop-up window with an “Auto-Jig” warning message (Fig. 1b)

fig. 1b

STEP 2 – Running the MPC File(s)

You will see “Project Menu” on your LCD display. Press “1” and scroll to Ornament_Leg_Lamp.mpc project, and press the green ENTER button to select it. Then follow the additional LED prompts as follows…

  • Stay Under Rollers – press 1) NO
    • DID YOU KNOW? If you’re using the specified board sizes, it doesn’t matter if you select YES or NO because those board sizes have the extra 7 inches of length that will keep the project under rollers either way. See 7 inch rule for further explanation
  • DO NOT RESIZE or SCALE the projects! If prompted, always keep the original size. No scaling!
  • How To Place – press 1) Center
  • Cut Board to Size? – press 2) NO
  • Select Drill Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
  • Load Bit: 1/8″ Cutting -Insert your 1/8″ cutting bit, then press the green ENTER button. (homes, etc.)
  • Select Cutting Bit: 1/8″ Cutting – Just press ENTER (the bit is already installed).
  • Select Carving Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Press ENTER. The machine will move the bit holder to the center.
  • Load Bit: 1/16″ Carving – Remove the 1/8″ cutting bit, and insert your 1/16″ carving bit, then press the green ENTER button. After homing and finding surface, the carving process is performed.
  • After it is done carving, you will be prompted to load your 1/8″ cutting bit. Remove the 1/16″ carving bit and insert your 1/8″ cutting bit. Press the green ENTER button. The machine will perform the drills and cutouts.
Machining the project

Your board will look something like this…(fig. 2)

fig. 2: Ornament_Leg_Lamp.mpc

STEP 3 – Separate Parts from Material

Separate all the parts from the boards. Sand off any fuzzies that could interfere with glue-up. Wait to sand tabs from leg and lampshade parts. (fig. 3a)

fig. 3a: Separate the parts from the board. Sand tabs off the circle parts only. Shade and leg tabs are sanded after glue-up.

Sand the top ends of the leg halves flat, to remove the taper left by the carving bit. Sand to the very top edge as the stop point, as in the project video. (fig. 3b)

fig. 3b: Sand flat up to this edge to remove taper on leg tops. I used a disc sander to make the job go faster, but can be done by hand, if necessary.

STEP 4 – Glue-Up Leg and Lampshade

Glue the leg halves together. Clamp the leg halves with rubber bands until dry. (fig. 4a, 4b)

fig. 4a: Glue the leg halves together

Glue the lampshade parts using the 2 ” x 0.25 ” wooden dowel for alignment (don’t glue in the dowel yet).

fig. 4b: Dowel is used for alignment only, at this time. It will be glued in when the final assembly is performed later on.

After glue is dry, final sand all components and blend all the edges nicely. (fig. 4c, 4d)

fig. 4c
fig. 4d

STEP 5 – Apply Finish

Apply the finish of your choice. Here’s what I used on the sample made from Select Pine: (fig. 5a, 5b, 5c)

  • Applied 3 coats thinned Bulls Eye SealCoat, and sanded between coats (50/50 denatured alcohol and SealCoat).
  • Applied Paint Pen to shoes, stocking band and tassle/fringe area of lamp bottom disc.
  • Then, after final assembly, applied several light coats Krylon Clear Gloss as final clearcoat.
fig. 5a: Applied 3 coats thinned SealCoat. Sanded between coats.
fig. 5b: Applied brown paint pen lines to fringe edge perimeter
fig. 5c: Applied black paint pen to shoe and stocking band

STEP 6 – Final Assembly

Glue the leg into the recess of the fringe circle. (fig. 6a)

fig. 6a: Glue the leg into the fringe recess. Allow glue to setup.

Glue the lampshade and dowel onto the leg assembly. Set upside-down in a small container and allow to dry. (fig. 6b)

fig. 6b: Glue the lampshade and dowel to the leg assembly. Keep upright during drying by setting onto a small container.

Trim and sand off the excess dowel length. (fig. 6c)

fig. 6c: Trim and sand the excess dowel flush with the top of the lampshade

Use an awl to create a pilot hole for a screw eye. Install the screw eye. (fig. 6d)

fig. 6d: Make a pilot hole in the center top of the dowel with an awl, then install a small screw eye.

Hang the assembly by the screw eye and apply your choice of final clearcoats to complete your project. (fig. 6e)

fig. 6e: Applied several light coats of Krylon clear GLOSS

Materials Source Reference

3M Sanding Discs
  • 3M Radial Bristle Discs
    • (stack 3 discs at a time on your rotary tool mandrel)
    • 80-grit (yellow) is what I use exclusively, but other grits are available NOTE: grits finer than 220 are not recommended for wood
    • Purchase from:

Items Purchased at Home Depot™ or Lowes™

  • Zinsser Bulls Eye SealCoat (same as 100% de-waxed shellac)
  • Denatured Alcohol (Home Depot™ or Lowes™)
  • Krylon Clear Spray
  • 0.25 ” diameter wooden dowel
  • Screw Eyes

Items Purchased at Hobby Lobby™ or Michael’s Arts & Crafts™

  • Acrylic Paint Pens (used Black and Brown for this project)

I hope you enjoyed making your Leg Lamp Christmas Ornament.
Happy Carving from Michael Tyler of CarveBuddy.com!

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