Instructables
Picture of bamboo floor lamp
I needed a couple of lamps for my main room, and when I decided to build a floor lamp, bamboo seemed the obvious thing to make the pole out of, being light, strong and naturally hollow so I could run the cable up inside it. So I had been looking for somewhere to buy thick bamboo canes to make myself a floor lamp, but luckily I found that friends of mine had stacks of the stuff in their garage! It grows so quickly that anyone who has it in their garden probably chops down hundreds of feet of it every few months :)
 
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Step 1: Base

feet screwed.jpg
shim.jpg
socket glued.jpg
My original plan was to build a wooden base then buy a standard light bulb socket and fit that at the top of the pole. I checked prices of the electrical parts I'd need - socket, cable, plug - and I realised that altogether they were more expensive than a little desk-lamp that was on sale for 4 euros (your standard study light with a bendy arm). Looking at it, I thought I could salvage the useful bits of it, and it had the bonus of a switch built into the base.

Once I got it home I completely disassembled it (I didn't take a photo of it before I took it apart, but there is one of the box!) I had to cut the wires from the socket, because I couldn't undo them, then I could remove the reflector, the corrugated plastic tube on the arm, and the nuts fixing the arm to the base. I used a hack-saw to remove the upper gooseneck half of the arm, because it wouldn't help support the bamboo pole, then re-attached the arm to the base and ran the wires back up inside.

I then cut the plastic tube in half: one half I slit open and glued it around the metal arm to make it a bit thicker, the other I slid inside the bottom end of the bamboo pole (I was quite lucky that the diameters of the lamp bits and of my bamboo were fairly close!) I also re-used the plastic surround that was originally at the top of the gooseneck arm under the reflector, gluing it upside-down to the base to sit the bottom of the bamboo on. In the third photo you can see the base with the arm reattached, and the plastic tube glued around it, in the fourth you can see the gooseneck bit of the arm that I sawed off, and the reflector. My original plan was to build the reflector into the base for more weight, but this didn't work out (especially once I'd mangled it with a scrappy attempt to cut a hole through the metal).

Of course, the little 12-cm diameter base doesn't stand a chance of supporting a 1.3m pole, so I cut a length of bamboo, split it lengthwise and screwed these feet onto the base (it contains a thick rubber "puck", which was easy to screw into), to make the base more stable. Pre-drill holes through the bamboo for the screws or else it will split - they can be slightly narrower than the screws so there is some bamboo left to bite into, though. Drill from the top (the outside), because the fibres will tear when the drill punches through, and it's neater if this is on the bottom - they can peel along quite a way.

Then it was simply a case of soldering on an extra length of cable to run up inside the bamboo (heat-shrink tubing to cover the joins), then pushing the cable through the bamboo and fitting the pole onto the arm on the base (the plastic tubing inside the pole fit snugly around the plastic tubing I had glued around the metal arm, holding them quite firmly together).

The lamp socket from the desk lamp already had the angle bracket attached to it, so I just had to drill two small holes in the top of the bamboo pole and screw the bracket on. A scrap of bamboo quickly cut to size and slid into the top of the pole protects the cable from the ends of the screws on the inside. Wire the socket to the cable - I soldered the wires and used heat-shrink tubing, for neatness, and then used hot glue to keep the wires running together down the back of the pole, so they stay hidden - screw in a CFL bulb and the electrical bit of the project is finished: if you like your lights industrial you can leave it at that ;) I thought I'd add a shade to mine...
onemoroni11 year ago
I like the result and low expense of your instructable.
Browncoat7 years ago
You've included an awful lot of steps in your "step 1" there. For someone who's never done anything like this (or anything with electricity, wires, etc), it would've been nice to have broken those down with more action shots of each step being done. Cool idea though. I just don't think this inst. leads me to being able to make it.
atarax (author)  Browncoat7 years ago
Thanks for commenting, you're quite right in fact. This is my 2nd instructable but it's actually the project I started working on first, so I didn't start documenting it until I was part-way through. Unfortunately this means I don't have photos of these early steps. To be honest though, you'd have to adapt these instructions unless you had exactly the same original lamp, because they're all going to be slightly different - I mainly wanted to show the option of repurposing a lamp like this. I was improvising as I went along, too :) Though I might take your advice and break it up into simpler steps, just a shame I can't do anything about the lack of photos now.
you could do another one......
jamesorlov3 years ago
thank you, it's cool!
jackaroo4004 years ago
Great instructable. Going to make one for our living room. But going to make the lamp shade a full square so the light isnt so harsh all around. and am going to use wood for the bottom to keep it with the natural look,

:)
tdbtdb6 years ago
How did you remove the section dividers inside the bamboo?
atarax (author)  tdbtdb6 years ago
good question, I'd forgotten to mention that. There's some good info about this here: http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?p=7554
I used a length of rebar to just roughly punch through the nodes.
Love it!