Copper Pipe Table Lamp





Introduction: Copper Pipe Table Lamp

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My recent experiments with copper pipe projects, like my reclaimed wood and copper pipe clock, inspired me to experiment further with copper pipe. This time I decided to make a copper pipe table lamp. I mean, what’s not to love about a copper pipe lamp? It’s modern, yet industrial, and oh so easy to do-it-yourself.

Watch the YouTube video or read on!

Step 1: Materials

Step 2: Stain the Wood Base

Start by sanding down the piece of wood to a smooth finish. Wipe off all the sawdust and apply a stain of your choice using a foam applicator or a clean cloth. I used my all time favorite: Minwax Early American.

You can use a simple 2 by 6 cut to approx. 9 inches. I had some left over butcher block from my floating shelves project, so I used that.

Step 3: Make the Holes in the Base

Measure and mark a spot 1-½" from the center of the shorter edge of the wood base. Use a 3/4" spade bit to drill almost all the way through, but not quite.

Make a second hole on the side face of the wood block using a 1/4" drill bit. The 2 holes should connect.

Step 4: Install the Threaded Adapter

If you're using an extension cord like I did, start by cutting off the end using your wire cutters. Don't cut of the end that plugs into the wall (yes, I actually did that by mistake once) but instead remove the other end.

The wire will end up being shorter once you've threaded it through the copper pipe, so you'll want a cord that's at least 10 feet long to begin with.

Thread the wire through the small hole on the side and up through the base. Use a small screwdriver if need the help pull the wire up through the larger hole.

You can then thread the adapter onto the wire and screw it into the base. You will notice the fit is snug, so use an adjustable wrench to screw the adapter on.

Tip: Make sure it goes on straight and be careful not to scratch your wood base with the wrench!

Step 5: Cut the Pipes

You need 4 sections of copper pipe: 15", 6", 2-1/2" and 2". Measure and mark the lengths and use a small pipe cutter to cut the pipe. Just keep tightening the knob, then twist the pipe a few times, and repeat the process until the pipe is cut.

Step 6: Dryfit

Thread all the pieces onto the wire and push the pieces together. Start from the longest pipe to the shortest, inserting an elbow in between each section.

Step 7: Wire the Socket

I started by taking apart the lamp socket and spraying the brass pieces with some copper spray paint to match the copper pipes.

You will notice 2 different wires. One should be smooth and the other ribbed. The smooth wire is the HOT wire and should be connected to the brass screw. The ribbed wire is the NEUTRAL wire and should be connected to the silver screw.

Reassemble the light socket by first sliding the cardboard sleeve on, then the metal sleeve. Do NOT throw away the cardboard sleeve – it acts as an insulator.

Step 8: Glue It Up

To finish off, I used some Weldbond to glue all the parts together.

Let it dry as per the instructions, then add the light bulb of your choice. I went with a 60-W vintage Edison bulb. It adds the perfect touch of warmth to this vintage looking lamp.

If you haven't already done so, watch the step-by-step video.

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    14 Discussions

    I wish you people out there would stop calling tubing-pipe and pipe-tubing. There is a big difference between the two.

    I bought 2 lamps a while back. a magnet sticks to them. They have the UL label. They Have 2 prong plugs. I have seen a lot of metal lamps with 2 prong plugs. Virtually all lamps use a metal socket. The vast majority of lamps have a 2 prong plug. without the third prong on the plug, there is no ground.

    The only place there could possibly be a problem is in wiring of the socket. If there are any stray strands, that is covered by the cardboard sleeve, unless you are extremely sloppy.

    I think the problem is greatly overrated by some.

    By the way, I am an electrician.

    2 replies

    If you think the problem of earthing is greatly overrated, I'd hate to live in a house that you rewired!

    I agree with Andrew. I've been a journeyman wireman (electrician) for about 28 years. The lamp, as it is made, shouldn't have a problem BUT in time, when the wires become brittle, you bet your butt you will want to have the pipes bonded and earthed.

    I would use a three prong plug, electrically connect all of the copper and hook the ground to the metal.


    1 year ago

    How is the socket fastened to the end of the pipe?


    1 year ago

    Copper tubing and 110 VAC? Can give a hair raising effect!

    I'm afraid the first thing I look for whenever metal parts meet electricity is a decent, solid earth. The other thing that was missing was the blowtorch. Basically, you have assembled a collection of unearthed metal components. If you want to use glue, you will have to ensure earth continuity between all the individual metal parts and that won't look nice - brass screws tapped into each joint would do. You will also need to prove the safety of the lamp with an installation or portable appliance tester.

    Your copper elbows etc. look like "end feed" components and these need some skill to solder properly, but it's worth learning how. Don't try using a soldering iron and electronic solder - you need a decent blowtorch and plumbing solder (lead-free) and matching flux.

    I didn't read all the steps, but wiring an ES (Edison Screw) lamp holder needs special attention. The centre pin must always be the live (hot) and the screw thread must be the neutral. Your earth conductor must be attached preferably with a ring tag and brass screw.

    I wouldn't risk powering it up until you do something about the earting.

    A metal appliance, connected to the mains, NEEDS to be earthed. It only needs a stray strand of one of the wires to contact the frame and it has a 50% chance of becoming live. Or the cable insulation can get chafed through, over time. For safety's sake you need to use a three-core mains lead and connect the earth wire to the copper pipework and the body of the lampholder. A strain-relief where the mains lead enters the base would also be a good idea.

    1 reply

    Indeed,it's a very very bad idea. All the metal parts should be earthed, which means glue is not a good idea, since in the worst case scenario, a copper part could be live (because of a faulty wire) but still unearthed with the glue acting as insulation. Painted PVC tubing might do the trick. Otherwise consider soldering the copper pipes.

    Beautiful and simple design, I love industrial decor :)