Introduction: Turning Old Space Heater Into Wall Lamp (Kind of Restoration Project)

Hello! It's me again. It's been a long time since I'm last time posting but I'm back and here's my new project on which I've been working for much longer than I'm comfortable to admit. Long story short, I turned an old soviet space heater into this rather nice wall lamp for my room. Heaters of this kind were pretty common at some time and basically they use the same socket for the heating element as a regular lightbulb, so quite brobably you would be able to find one for yourself and convert it into a lamp, cause, let's be honest, actually using those as heaters is not everyone's kind of suicidal.

So, without further ado here's how I did it.

Step 1:

To begin I took an old heater and examined it to figure out what exactly should I do to convert it into a pretty lamp. The heating element and protective plate on front were just to go away and the wireing should be undone. Some details were deamed unusable, but luckily those are of kind that can be easily replaced.

The whole thing was disassembled and prepared for cleaning.

Step 2:

I used some soapy water and some scrubbing to clean the metal parts.

Step 3:

The heater had some rusty splotches here and there and initially I planned to just rub them well with some scotch brite to remove loose material and leave the whole thing like it was to preserve authentic rustic look, but after washing most of the original paint came loose it became obvious that I'd have to repaint the whole thing anew.

Probably I should have remove the paint before derusting process but I'm an idiot and idiot do things in their special way. So, to derust the parts I used citric acid. It works just like white vinegar but it doesn't smell and where I live it's cheeper to use CA then vinegar and it's a common food product you can buy anywhere. Anyway, you just submerge your parts in water and add the powder. Leave it for from a couple of hours to couple of days depending on conditions (solution concentration and ammount of rust).

After derusting take the details out and rince them well with water.

BTW, you may want to collect the remaining used CA solution for future, I'll come back to it later.

Step 4:

Then I used a paint stripper to remove remaining paint, after which I cleaned everything with solvent.

Step 5:

To paint my parts I protected the bits I didn't want to be painted with masking tape and applied a couple layers of base first. Few coats of silver paint followed.

Step 6:

And it's time to work on the basis. This heater is meanet to be hung on the wall as it is but I decided it wouldn't make for a great design object, so I decided to add a wooden basis that would be attached to the wall.

Well, you might notice a certain continuity errors in my pictures since I was working on these parts of project in parallel, but may it not concern you. This is not because I'm an idiot it just narrative wins this way.. I guess.

Anyway, I dug in my library of wood scraps and found this wide pine board that I deamed worthy my intentions and after spending some time figuring out ovwral design and desired proportions I had all neccessary guidelines layed down.

Step 7:

The shaping of the board then followeed. I mostly used handtoolls which increased my Strenght and Dexterity by 0,25.

Step 8:

I used my homemade router table to round the edges of the board panel.

Step 9:

When the basis board was shaped into condition it was time to mark out the position for the mouting holes and other stuff. The sacred geometry I applied here is so sacred that my subconsciousness keep memories of it deeply suppressed to protect me from insanity i.e. I don't remember.

Step 10:

I drilled a recesses for washers...

Step 11:

...and did other stuff.

Step 12:

Also I drilled a round hole through the wooden basis board and perfectly centered one through the basis of the heater. This how the lamp wire is going to connect to the power wires coming from the wall.

Step 13:

Ok, so, now we can return to the citric acid solution we used to save previously after derusting the metal parts. Here I'm going to use it to stain my wall board. Basically it works the same way as the stain you would make by pouring a steel wool with vinegar and leaving for a while - it's ptactically the same stuff.

To be honest the solution I used in this particual project wasn't too strong so I used some from previous batches, but it doesn't matter. I'm kind of inclined to make more in-depth tutorial on this cause, although this method is kind of covered all over internet, there's some bits and tips I believe I can add to story... I think.

Anyway, you take this solution and apply it onto the wood and it turns... well... it depends on kind of wood you;re using. Since it's pine in my case - I know It'll turn brown, which is exactly what I needed (oak, for example will turn dark bluish grey). One thing to consider is that you won't see the result emmediatelly - it'll take a few hours before you see the color of the wood changed. And it'll take about three days to see the final result. After that you can add more coats or leave it as it is.

So this is how I toned the piece and to finish I used boiled linseed oil.

Step 14:

And now let's... switch... to another part. The part where everybody hates me for terrible puns and where I'm also installing the switch into my future lamp. Cause it needs a switch since originally the heater was ON/OFF-ing by PLUG/UNPLUG-ing.

From a piece of aluminium profile I'n cutting a rectangle to fit into that thing that holds the reflector. Then I'm drilling a hole to accomodate a pull switch... and installing the switch.

Step 15:

To secure the detail I used a product called Cold Weld which is basically a type of two component epoxy putty.

Step 16:

I wanted to have something on the end of the pull chain for the switch. Cause it makes sense. So I found some old metall keyfob and after drilling some hole I was able to put the end of the chain into cavity and secure it with Cold Weld puty afterwards.

Step 17:

Before assembling the whole thing I wanted to refresh the reflector surface by giving it a nice buff with a buffing wheel, buffing compound and... buffing action.

It turned up well.

Step 18:

Luckily I had some scraps of this nice twined wire which was perfect for this project. The whole wireing is plane simple and I hope it doesn't require in'depth explanation. Anyway I hope the photos make it clear enough.

Subsequently I'm assebling the lamp.

Step 19:

And this the piece of wire that was sticking from the wall like this fro last 15 years.

At this point the lamp is ready to be installed and firstly I'm drilling some holes in wall to screw down the wooden panel. I didn't photograph it but I used a spirit level against the side of the board to position it vertically.

After the board is installed I've connected the power wires (obviously I've TURNed the ELECTRICITY OFF FIRST).

Step 20:

I used 4W filament LED lamp and it works just fine.

I'm glad I finally have that lamp in my room, I like how it turned out... maybe juuust a bit too bright but I wasn't able to less powerfull lightbulb... at least where I was looking for. Anyway, this is it for now, thanks for your attention, and 'Do it little person, turn on my burning thing!'

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