I finished up the last of the six solar flicker lanterns today! The pieces for this one have been sitting on the workbench since before it got too cold to work out in the garage, so it’s a relief to be able to check this project off my list. Here it is hanging from the shourou:
This one is not just special because it’s the last one in the project, but because it is made from some mahogany that Sir Ogami Akira, the O-daimyo of Clan Yama Kaminari gave to me years ago from the surplus of his boat building supply. I’m pleased as punch to finally be able to do something with it, and to have that thing be for the Clan. I had just enough wood to make the lantern, though some of the sticks are a little thinner than specification. The construction is all mortise and tenon, with little 1/4″ tenons.
I also managed to get a picture of this one before the paper went on, to show you how the lighting unit just rests inside the rails on a couple of angled braces:
This lantern is mostly made from some surplus 3/4″ oak I had in the garage. It uses the same mortise-and-tenon frame I’ve used for the other lanterns, except for the two diagonal braces just under the top rails. The suspension mechanism is also a little different, just some 1/8″ nylon rope inserted through drilled holes, and a brass ring.
The exterior is some Warlon Taf-Top shoji “paper”. This paper is coated with polyester fibers, making it water resistant and more durable than paper. It’s good stuff, and not that much more expensive than regular shoji paper. The paper is just wrapped around the outside and held in place with double-sided tape.
The top part of the garden light drops into the top of the lantern and rests on the diagonal braces. The top part has the solar panel, battery, and bulb; and is itself sealed against weather. This makes it the ideal lighting unit for this kind of project. The bulb is actually a cob of dozens of LEDs that play a little flame animation. It’s very realistic.
At Pennsic, the group we camp with likes to hang lanterns out in front of camp. Solar lanterns means we don’t have to worry about burning anything down or changing batteries. I’ll need to make a bunch more of these lanterns before Pennsic returns next year, if Pennsic returns next year.