Cylinder Head Lamp


Ted Carner created this lamp from an old Ford Cylinder head that he found in the woods behind his house just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I’m guessing that whoever lived there was a mechanic or just repaired all of their stuff,” Ted explains. “I found stacks of old Ford Flathead cylinder head gaskets and other parts too. You just don’t find stuff like that anymore. I thought the cylinder head would make an interesting conversation piece, since it had been laying outside for all of these years and couldn’t be used for an actual engine.”

Ted got some ideas and parts from Honest Charley Speed Shop, owned by Corky Coker of Coker Tire Company, and from Josh Mills of Mills Customs in Atlanta, Georgia. Using mainly 10 gauge metal plate, Ted cut, bent and welded the brackets and the stand for the cylinder head. The Shifter gate was made from 1/8-inch aluminum scrap that he had left over from another project. The Shifter Rod is a piece of 1/2-inch tube stock that he bent and threaded for the Heim Joint end. He added the Skull (Red Eye’s) Shift Knob on top. The hose that holds the lamp is an actual Flathead reproduction radiator hose that Ted purchased from Josh Mills, along with the cylinder head bolt and chrome caps. He used a piece of tube to fit into the radiator hose, and then cut a piece of the 10 gauge plate and welded it to the tube to hold the lamp assembly. The Shifter actually works the lamp. The final assembly was painted with Dove Grey paint, as this was a common color used on things back in the 1930s.

All the cutting on this project was done with an ESAB HandyPlasma®125 plasma cutter. “I'd always wanted the ESAB plasma cutter, but since I’m just a regular guy, who works in a factory, it was tough to do a brand new one,” Ted says. He was fortunate to get one second-hand from a friend. “We have a ton of ESAB products here where I work, so I knew first hand how good they were, and this really made it easy to go with ESAB.“

Ted lives with his wife and teenage son in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee and works in the production planning control department of a nearby heavy equipment manufacturing plant. He says he is “by no means a true fabricator, however I work with, and know some of the best there are, so I try to do my best.” He enjoys hot rods and motorcycles and “the occasional art project.”

“Most of the things I seem to like all seem to have a hands-on, handmade kind of thing going for them,” he says, in explaining why he likes projects like this cylinder head lamp. “Most of the time you’ll not come out ahead on the money end of it, but I do believe that these are the things you remember about people, long after the store-bought things are gone.”