Floor Lamp From Saved Junk




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.

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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 :)

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    That's an awesome way to reuse materials :)


    Reply 2 years ago



    2 years ago

    I love the look of your finished lamp! I may have missed it but how did you sneak the wiring past your lowest bulb? Is there a wire on either side of the metal supports? I think it would look incredible if you diffused the lower bulb by adding some wood veneer! I find that one a bit blinding. Although they always look different in person than in photos. Excellent job, its great to see something like this!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes, the wire is running up the inside of one of the metal supports. I'm planning on going back to the glass shop and getting a piece of metal (lead?) channel that they use for stained glass projects. I'll put it inside the metal support to conceal the wire.

    My daughter told me the same thing about the lower light. I'll probably end up putting something around it to diffuse the light.