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Monday, February 10, 2014

The Perfect Table Lamps for Your Nautical Home

A matching pair of nautical anchor lanterns converted to table lamps.
Selecting the right furnishings for your nautical room is certainly an important part of creating a successful interior. One product that tends to go unnoticed as a valuable and functioning part of creating the perfect nautical room is the appropriate selection of lamps and lighting. The majority of rooms that we have seen published in home decorating magazines like Coastal Living sometimes feature rooms with a nautical theme but these rooms tend to be lighted with plain, uninteresting lighting selections.  Others have settled for the cheap Chinese made knockoffs like those sold by stores like the Pottery Barn. Granted, the selection of quality nautical lighting is slim at best, but they are available if you know where to look. But before we get into the components of this blog, let's discuss exactly what the word nautical is, because there seems to be a big misunderstanding of what the word means. Nautical, is not a color or a striped fabric, or seashells from the seashore. Nor is it pretty fish or other marine animals. Nautical as defined by Webster's dictionary is relating to, or associated with seaman, navigation, or ships. So although the seashells from the seashore may be a great beach home decor item, they are simply not nautical.

 Appropriate nautical lamps are made from items such as old brass and metal boat or ship lanterns, wood and metal blocks, deadeyes, small anchors and other retired boat and ship parts all work well for creating great lamp conversions. So are maritime instruments such as sextants, octants, compasses and other instruments are other top choices for creating the perfect nautical environment. In other words, items that were used aboard a ship, for navigation or by seaman. Here are some selections of what would be considered a classic, traditional nautical table lamp.

Vintage brass anchor lantern converted into a nautical table lamp.
Re-purposing is the word that we use to describe this practice. Taking vintage and antique nautical items and  redesigning them for a new practical and/or decorative use is what you should look for. Pictured above is a vintage brass anchor lantern designed for use aboard small vessels. Here we took out the original kerosene burner and added an interior electrical light and a room light above. The two lights can be toggled between the upper and lower lights with the upper finger switch. The lamp is completed with a solid wood base and a nautical navigational chart lamp shade. This is one of the best nautical lamps that you can buy because it gives both room light as well as ambient light. A dimmer switch can easily be added so you can create the desirable mood when needed. We also recommend that you choose LED light bulbs for the interior lamp light since they do not give off heat. Also make sure that when selecting a bulb, that it is compatible with a dimmer switch.

A classic antique wood block makes an outstanding nautical lamp.
Wood blocks comes in all shapes and sizes and we have made these into lamps using everything from small single-wheeled blocks to large, multi-wheeled blocks from ships. Shown above is a classic design block lamp with 1 inch thick hemp rope covering the metal wheels. This lamp was originally made by Abercrombie & Fitch when they were a sporting goods store and is now shown with a basic burlap lamp shade. Retains a pleasing old varnished finish and was mounted on to an oval oak base.

This nautical lamp was made using an antique lignum-vitae wood deadeye.
Other nautical hardware from ships are deadeyes. Though not as common as blocks, these make exceptional nautical table lamps. Shown here mounted on to a round wood base and with a pleated silk shade.

A vintage ship--in-a-bottle re-purposed into a table lamp.
Sometimes our nautical table lamps are made from vintage and antique hand-crafted items like this sailor-made ship-in-a-bottle diorama. The upper lighting is used as both an interior room light and to spotlight the artwork. This becomes a great conversation piece as well! Shown with a barrel shaped fabric lamp shade.

Old bronzed metal lighthouse converted into a table lamp. Perfect look for your coastal home.
Though not used aboard a ship, the lighthouse is definitely the sailor's best friend with a beam of light that shows them the way home and to keep them away from dangerous shoals that have caused a many a shipwreck. We made this from a vintage bronzed metal lighthouse base and added the light fixture above. Still works great as a perfect look for your nautical room.

Hanging antique metal nautical anchor lantern.
Shown above is an early 20th century anchor lantern with an interior electrical light. A customer purchased it and we converted it into a table lamp. You simply cannot reproduce the quality and look of an authentic, used nautical light!

Hand-tied marlinspike rope table lamp shown with a handmade navigational chart lampshade.

Our large-size Marlinspike Lamp is hand-made using the traditional turk's head knot at the base of the lamp pedestal and french whipping around the body of the lamp; Made here in Olde Towne Portsmouth by a member of the Skipjack Nautical Wares Studio. Solid walnut base. 

Nautical instruments are another great choice to use to make a nautical table lamp. Pictured above is an antique ebony wood and brass sextant with it's storage box used as the wood base. This way the instrument makes a great table lamp and display but without damaging the rare instrument. 

Pair of nautical lanterns like these early 20th century port and starboard lights make great table lamps, especially where you need two identical lamps like on each end of a sofa. These again can be easily converted with an interior light source and with a room light above. We recommend that when using valuable vintage and antique lanterns that you go about it by doing the less damage to it as possible. Though most of the lanterns that we use are beyond their days of sea use, the value still lies in their authenticity and condition. Always a consideration when you go about drilling a bunch of holes in it.

Last but by no means least in completion your nautical lamp is the right selection of a lamp shade and finial. Shown below are Skipjack's navigational chart lamp shades. These are available in three stock sizes and also as a custom size. Skipjack also offers as part of it's custom program your choice of a NOAA navigational chart so you can select a body of water close to home or a favorite shoreline destination.

Nautical chart lamp shades is a wonderful way to top off your nautical table lamp.
The final touch is selecting a handsome nautical themed lamp finial. From polished brass to hand-tied monkeys fist knotted finials, they add the right finishing look to creating the perfect nautical lamp. Shown below is our fowled anchor finial. Hey, sometimes a nautical finial alone can be enough!

These are some great examples of classic style nautical table lamps, and since most of these are made from old lighting and other nautical wares, most are one-of-kind and once sold are no longer available. Interested in dressing up your nautical room with a re-purposed authentic nautical table lamp? Here's a link to our NEW! JUST IN so you can see our selection when they become available and other great nautical items to dress up you home too! Here's a link to Skipjack Nautical Wares home page so you can peruse through our full line of nautical items.

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