I came up with a light similar to the one we liked, but would be more custom and would match our decorating style a little better. It would have 5 pendant lights and each would be a different length to create a random staggered pattern. Move on to the next steps see how I created it!
Step 1: Finding the Right Base
Last year I had tore down part of our kids' old wooden play set as it wasn't very safe anymore, and waddaya know, there in our storage shed was the lumber I salvaged! In amongst that lumber was a 5/4" board the swings had hung from! This worked out perfectly since it was thick enough to hide the wiring, but thinner than a regular 2x4. Now all I had to do was make it into a light fixture!
Step 2: Shaping, Cleaning, Flaming, Staining and Sealing
- I cut the board down to 48" making sure to keep the holes from the monkey bars symmetrical (just because I'm that way).
- I routed out the channel using my router table fence set to just under half the width of the board and cut one side, flipped the board and cut the other side. I then moved the fence in, and repeated the process until the channel was about 1-1/2" wide.
- I shaped the sharp edges with my trusty Harbor Freight belt sander. I also used my wood rasp to remove any other splinters or rough places.
- To texture the wood, I "flamed" it. Flaming the wood means to take a torch to it, get it nice and charred, then scrub off the charred wood fibers to deepen the wood grain. I used this method on my table legs.
- Stained it.
- Clear coated it.
Step 3: Pipe Caps and Black Pipe
Once they were all assembled and rough edges removed, I screwed the caps onto the nipples and then drilled 9/16" holes through the board into the channel so I could screw them in and run the wire through them.
Step 4: Wiring It Up
I cut the outlet plugs off each cord and threaded one cord through each cap. Once I got them set to the length I liked, I wrapped the cord with electrical tape so they would have a little extra protection against wear on the pipe caps. I wrapped them at a taper so the tape would actually come through the hole in the cap and provide a stop as the layers got thicker. Once all the cords were through, I taped them together neatly to keep everything clean and organized in the groove before hanging it.
Step 5: Install It
Disclaimer - I am not giving specific directions on how to wire your light. Please make sure the breaker is shut off and make sure you know what you are doing before attempting to work with electricity.
Once I was ready to hang it, I attached all the wires to the supply wires with red wire nuts. Since the wires were 16 or 18 gauge, I could easily tie all 5 wires plus the 12 gauge supply wire together in one nut. (total 2 wire nuts - 1 for hot and 1 for neutral). I had my wife help hold the whole light fixture up - bless her heart and strong arms- so I could wire it and the screw it to our rafters in the ceiling.
Note - Unfortunately I got too busy wiring and hanging the light to take pictures, but it was pretty straight forward.
Step 6: Plug the Holes!
Since the board was so weathered, my holes were a little sloppy and some of the bolts wouldn't stay snug in them. I simply wrapped them with teflon tape and made up the difference. They fit right in and finished the look quite nicely.
Step 7: All Finished!
As luck would have it, I could also use the globes from our old light in case we ever wanted to change the look to a more contemporary one. For now we will go with the minimalist industrial look. It matches our table nicely!
Thanks for looking and please vote for me!