Kumiko Lamp

Mike Farrington

Kumiko is an ancient Japanese form of woodworking. It is intricate, eye catching, and beautiful. Its small size lends itself well to this lamp. This lamp is my interpretation of a project that has been built for hundreds of years by Japanese craftsman.
If you’ve never tried Kumiko, don’t be intimidated. With a couple easy to make jigs, it's a straightforward process. Kumiko is a quiet, repetitive, and meditative pursuit. It's a great place to experiment with patterns. This project finds a nice balance between using power tools to get through the basic tasks efficiently, yet relies heavily on hand tools to perfect fit and finish.

The Kumiko Lamp measures 21" H x 6 7/8" W x 6 7/8" D

  • 11 lessons
  • 124 min
  • $79.00

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Intro and Stock Prep

    Material selection and prep.

  2. Mortises and Rabbets

    Lesson 2 starts with orienting and marking parts for the best look. Layout for the mortises comes next, then on to cutting the mortises at the drill press using a 1/4” end mill. Tenons are cut at the table saw with a dado stack. A 45 degree miter is cut on the end of each […]

  3. Frame Assembly

    Lesson 3 gets going with surface preparation of the inside faces of each part. A smoothing plane is used where possible. Adhesive backed sandpaper stuck down to the bench is used for the spots with challenging grain. Next the frame is glued and clamped. A light amount of glue is used to reduce squeeze out. […]

  4. Kumiko Panel

    Lesson 4 focuses on the grid work for the Kumiko panels. Strips are cut and mitered for the outer frame. From there the center strips are cut to thickness and then to length. Next, half laps are cut using a flat top rip blade. Careful attention is payed to both layout and orientation of each […]

  5. Kumiko Jigs

    Lesson 5 covers the jigs needed to accurately cut the infill pieces to complete the Asa No Ha kumiko pattern. Three jigs are built, which have angles of 22.5, 45, and 67.5 degrees cut on their ends. Stop blocks, which are adjusted and set using screws, allow for making parts to a consistent length. Finally, […]

  6. Kumiko Infill

    Lesson 6 covers the meditative process of cutting the infill pieces. There are 3 unique infill pieces needed for each square (7 total pieces). These pieces are cut with the correct angles and to precise length using the jigs made in lesson 5. The key takeaway from this lesson is to rough cut parts over […]

  7. Panel Clean-up and Fitting

    Lesson 7 goes over how to clean up the Kumiko panels after they have been glued together. A block plane set for a fine shaving reduces discrepancies between parts, some sandpaper finishes the task. Each panel is then fitted to its opening within the lantern. A shooting board is used to steady the panel while […]

  8. Top Panel

    Lesson 8 covers construction and fitting of the top. Leftover kumiko strips are installed in the groove cut into the top rails creating a shelf. Then a frame with mitered corners is glued together and fitted into the top opening. A looser fit is desired for this part so light bulb changes are easy.

  9. Lamp Support and Finishing

    Lesson 9 starts with adding some blocking that will hold the light socket and cord in place. These parts are fit and installed with glue and screws. With the blocking in place it’s time for final sanding and cleanup. Finally, some finish is applied to the lamp frame. This is when the project really comes […]

  10. Rice Paper

    Lesson 10 is all about shoji paper. 3 different types of paper are shown, as is the rice glue. The paper is glued to the back of each kumiko panel as well as the bottom of the lid. Once the glue has dried, it is trimmed and then misted with water to tighten and smooth […]

  11. Final Assembly

    Lesson 11 brings this project to the finish line. The cord and switch are customized for the application. The socket and lightbulb are assembled, and the kumiko panels, with newly applied shoji paper are installed for the final time. The switch is flipped on and it’s time for a happy dance.


What Will I Receive?

  • Detailed cut list and plans including a PDF and a SketchUp file (Metric and Imperial).
  • Hours of detailed video instruction showing every step of Kumiko Lamp Build.
  • All videos and plans are digital and will be available for download upon purchase. 

What Will I Learn?

  • Milling up small parts for a small project
  • A different way to cut small mortises with an end-mill and drill press
  • Tenons on the table saw equipped with a dado stack
  • How to miter tenons to fit into a 90 degree corner
  • Mill stop rebates to house the Kumiko panels
  • Glue and clamp the lantern frame
  • Building accurate jigs to aid in precise, repeatable cutting of Kumiko pattern pieces
  • How to complete a Kumiko panel, including milling strips to thickness, cutting precise half laps, assembling the grid-work, and fitting the pieces that make up the Asa No Ha pattern.
  • Fitting panels precisely to the rebates in the lantern for a friction fit.
  • Glue and trim shoji paper to the the grid-work
  • How to wire up a a light socket, switch and plug using readily available lamps components.
  • Apply Osmo for a simple, but beautiful finish
  • How to be awesome.

What Will I Need?


  • 4/4 Hardwood (Cherry) – 3 Board Feet
  • 4/4 Hardwood (Basswood) – 3 Board Feet
  • 8/4 and 4/4 Scrap for Making Jigs

You can find the Bell Forest Product wood bundle here. Use your Guild discount for 10% off your order too!

Jointer, Planer, Miter Saw, Table saw, Dado stack, router table, drill press, small hand saw (pull saw works best), shooting board and plane, block plane (or smoothing plane), 1/4” chisel, 1 wider chisel.




A great project! This lamp is one of my favorite things I’ve built to date. It generates a lot of curiosity and conversation. Mike’s instructions are excellent and all the videos are very helpful.

Kevin Vaughn
Guild Member

Yesterday I finished my lamp. I have enjoyed every step of the build and I have to say that this is the most rewarding project I have ever built. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you set your first kumiko piece, and when the lamp is complete it looks just gorgeous.

Mike is such a great teacher, the videos are really easy to follow. I cannot recommend this project enough.

Jesus Rodriguez
Guild Member

As I enter my 4th year of woodworking, the Shoji Kumiko Lamp was the perfect project for me. It improved all areas of my woodworking including milling, joinery and especially hand tools. There are endless Kumiko patterns so this is a project I see myself making many times. It is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Mike’s instruction was excellent and I really appreciate his extremely dry humor. I feel like this project was a challenge for me skill-wise and it really propelled me from a woodworker to a fine woodworker. I highly recommend this project to anyone looking to improve their skills.

John Matarazzo
Guild Member
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About Your Instructor:

Mike Farrington

While woodworking is Mike’s job, it’s also his hobby. He’s been woodworking professionally since he was a teenager. He worked his way through college in a cabinet shop. After getting a desk job out of college, he realized that wasn’t for him. So he fell back to cabinet making, shortly thereafter, he opened his own small-time, one man operation. As the years went by and the projects went out the door, he found that he had fallen in love with his craft. It became his vocation and his avocation. To this day he still loves the smell of his shop as he flips the lights on in the morning, coffee in hand. He still gets optimistic butterflies in his stomach as he’s unloading materials for a new project. He hopes to share with you some of the skills he’s learned along the way, and if he’s really lucky some of his passion for our craft.