Introduction: Floor Lamp From Saved Junk

It began with leftover pieces of granite from our kitchen countertops. I wanted to use them for something and we needed a floor lamp in our living room that produced a subtle light (for when the TV is on) and a lot of light (for when we want to see the spiderwebs in the corners). I like rustic and industrial styles and I've been saving junk for just this occasion. I will include the dimensions for my lamp, but since I made it from treasures I had lying around, I don't expect you to copy it exactly. Look for stuff that you can put together and be creative.

Step 1: Cutting the Granite

I first tried a masonry fiber blade. A lot of heat and sparks, but very little progress. I looked on youtube and put a diamond blade in my circular saw. I taped (to help reduce chipping?) and marked the line, my wife squirted water on the blade (plug into a GFCI outlet to be safe) and the granite cut easily. Instead of polishing the edges (which would entail me buying more equipment) I decided to trim it with wood. I had to buy a diamond drill bit (about $20) to drill holes into the granite to screw on the base.

Step 2:

The Wood

I'd been saving this big chunk of redwood for something (this lamp). I also had an old 6" X 6" redwood post that had been sitting on a pile of wood outside. I used the long drill bit with an extension to drill a 4 foot long hole through the 6X6 for the wires. The big chunk became the base. I tapered the top of the big chunk on 2 sides to transition into the 6"X6" post. I glued and screwed the 6X6 on top of the big chunk. I was eager to assemble the lamp and I didn't think about "aging" the new cuts I'd made in the big chunk until after I glued it together with the other pieces. I used a wire wheel on a monster grinder on the freshly cut areas and gingerly brushed out some of the softer wood grain which made the harder grain stand out.

Step 3: The Hardware

I ordered most of the electrical stuff through amazon. It was about $70. I got 8 watt (supposed to be 75 watt incandescent equivalent) dimmable LED bulbs that were about $8.00 each. Lower wattage are quite a bit cheaper.

I had these galvanized support braces (they're about 1/4" thick) from old telephone poles. I put them in my vise and slid a pipe over them to bend one end into a curved shape. 2 of them are going to support the top of the lamp.

I got these 2 dimmer switches cheap. They don't have a full range of dimming (goes from dim to bright without much graduation), so I'm going to have to find better ones.

Step 4: The Lampshade

I wanted to make a semi-clear glass lampshade to show the Edison bulbs and porcelain sockets. I wanted it to look vintage. Looking on the internet, I decided I wanted 'seeded glass'. That is glass with tiny bubbles in it. I found a place in town that sold a variety of glass finishes. The one I chose had bubbles and clear swirls. This turned out to be the most expensive part of the lamp at $110.00. I made the lampshade frame out of a piece of redwood lumber I'd been 'saving' for just this project. I ran the frame pieces over the table saw until I had a groove wide enough to accept the glass thickness. I should have made the frame pieces thicker because I didn't leave much "meat" to nail or screw the pieces together. I ended up making reinforcement braces out of some old galvanized strapping I had been saving for just this project. I cut pieces to size with tin snips, bent them in my vise, and drilled holes for wood screws. For extra strength, I used epoxy and wood screws to attach the little corner braces.

Because of the weight of the shade, I decided to make brackets to support it from the bottom instead of hanging it. I used some old brass brazing rods that my brother had been saving for this occasion. I used a butane torch to soften it for easy bending. I soldered two pins on each brace to hold it in the wood, but ended up stapling it anyway because I didn't trust the strength of my solder joints. I used a piece of old wire to experiment with different shapes that could hold up the shade. It took many fittings and adjustments before I finally got the lampshade to sit close to level.

Step 5: Electrical

I drilled holes through the centers of all lumber to run the electric cord. I used a drill and chisel to make the holes for the dimmer switches. I made the holes extra large to accommodate the wire nuts. The wiring may look a little ratty but that's just the frayed fabric covering on the wire.

Step 6: Getting It All Together

Checked out the electric connections. All good except for the previously mentioned deficient dimmer switches. I used amber shellac because it helps tone down the freshly cut parts and blends them better with the naturally weathered wood.

The total cost was about $190. The cost for the bulbs and glass for the shade was about $140. So you could do it less expensively depending on the look you want.

Well, I think that's about it. I was trying to get it done in time for the "Lights" contest, but I didn't make it in time. I don't know if my wife will allow it in the house, but I enjoyed creating it :)

Step 7: