Andon - Making a Traditional Japanese Lamp

Andon - Making a Traditional Japanese Lamp


Instructor - Craig Vandall Stevens

  • March 23 - 24, 2019 9 am - 4 pm (weekend)

  • November 16 - 17, 2019 9 am - 4 pm (weekend)

Capture the clean lines and simple beauty of Japanese woodworking by making a traditional andon or Japanese lamp (pronounced ahn-dōhn). While the original, oil-lit style is no longer commonly used, modern andon designs with electric fixtures are plentiful and offer a wide range of design possibilities and levels of complexity for woodworkers.

The construction of the andon frame is very straight-forward in appearance, yet it's many small mortise & tenon joints, shallow rabbets and thin kumiko patterns (lattice-work) present a wonderful challenge. Working towards a level of high workmanship on small projects such as this can dramatically improve a craftsperson's skills.

Through one on one guidance, participants learn wood selection, joinery layout, mortise and tenon techniques, assembly of the lamp including the electric fixture and the traditional application of washi (Japanese paper). Each student's andon can sit on the floor as a low lamp or be used on a table top.

This lamp project provides a nice starting point for lighting designs that students may want to make in the future. Along with providing an introduction to Japanese woodworking, this class is an opportunity to make kumiko, the intricate grid-work patterns used in traditional shoji screens and doors.

The last portion of this course will focus on making a very simple kumiko grid pattern in the traditional manner. A photo of this grid is on this page. Students can later fill in portions of the grid with any one of a wide range of kumiko patterns as shown here. PFW is offering a kumiko workshop the weekend of April 20 and the weekend of November 2, 2019.

The cost includes all materials. Students provide their own lunch.

Continue scrolling down for Tool List


PFW has a wide assortment of tools for students to use. However, if you have your own tools or would like an excuse to purchase some new ones, the tool list is below. PFW recommends purchasing Japanese tools from Hida Tool as well as Tools for Working Wood and Lee Valley/Veritas.