These large stainless steel valves came from an old hydroelectric plant. They are quite handsome and had great potential to become awesome lamps, but a few major issues were holding them back. The first was that the valves didn't stand sturdily on their own, and needed stabilization at the base. The second issue was attaching lamp parts to the hardened steel drive screw and routing wire to the socket, which had no obvious path. This instructable documents the steps taken to achieve lamp transformation status from some super neat old hunks of metal. Hopefully you'll glean some useful info for your own lamp projects!
Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials
- lamp base (valve)
- lamp shade
- lamp harp
- socket with side out
- electrical cord
- threaded rod to match socket
- two part epoxy
- various other metal bits
- wire strippers
- screwdrivers (flat and phillips)
- a friend with professional welding skills (optional)
Step 2: Stabilize Valve Bases
These gorgeous valves were also very tippy, so I asked my friend to weld stainless steel bases on them. While I have welded, I'm long out of practice and wasn't very good at my best. Since I wanted the lamps to look nice, I paid a professional to do this welding for me.
Step 3: Attach Lamp Stem
Attaching the threaded rod for the lamp assembly was the most challenging part of this project. I didn't have anything that quite fit the internal threading of the drive rod, nor could I tote it around with me to the hardware store to try different options. I settled on making some brass shims for a smaller threaded rod I had and epoxying it in place. Then, after the epoxy cured, I used more epoxy to attach the standard size threaded lamp rod atop the smaller one.
Step 4: Wire Socket Circuit
Separate the two parts of the socket and thread your electrical cord through the side hole on the socket. Strip the wires and optionally use an underwriter's knot to provide some strain relief to the wires. To prevent each stranded wire from fraying, twist the stripped ends clockwise before wrapping the end around the terminals on the socket, also clockwise. When you tighten down the screw terminal, the clockwise motion will further tighten the twist, rather than unravel it.
If you are using fabric covered cord, you can tape the fraying edge to prevent it from unraveling further. Close up the socket by pinching the two pieces together until they click into place.
Similarly wire the plug end of the wire, and test your wiring by screwing in a bulb and flipping the switch.
Step 5: Final Lamp Assembly
Thread a nut onto the threaded lamp rod, then add the harp base. Next, screw on the socket wire assembly and tighten down its set screw. Adjust the nut to snug the harp against the base of the socket, and install a bulb and the top of the harp. Add the shade and secure it with a finial.
Plug in your lamp(s) and enjoy! Mine took some adjustments of the harp and finial to get the shades level. Thanks for reading!