W. & S. Butcher



Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson


Candle Sconce


I have now completed another piece of work using spalted maple.  It is a large candle sconce.  Someone recently asked why anyone would use spalted maple. I think he thought it was an inferior material.

I found an antique sconce at an estate sale which was damaged beyond repair, and paid a dollar for it.  All I wanted was the brass.  I disassembled it, and managed to buff it out so that it looks like new on casual inspection.

I had a piece of wood that was sent to me by Bob Beckwith more than a year ago that I have been saving for just such a project.  It is now my "candle".  One day my wife will find an appropriate candle, and I will change it out for a real one.

Here is a picture of the sconce before it was complete.

Next is a picture showing the mirror and “candle”.

And finally a close up of the “candle”.

When I began this project I had in mind to do a lot of carving on the maple, but when I got a coat of finish on it, I decided that carving would be like gilding the lily.  The pretty spalting is enough and the piece has to stand on it own.

Jim Thompson
the Old Millrat in Riverside, CA
November, 2007


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