How to Wire a Turned Wooden Lamp





Steps on how to wire a turned lamp.

This instructable assumes you have a turned wood lamp base (or something similar) already made and finished.

If you haven't ever turned anything on a lathe, I highly recommend it.

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Step 1: Materials and Tools

You'll need the following materials:

- Lamp Socket, I get mine from Grand Brass
- Lamp Harp
- Check Ring
- Threaded Nipple (that's what it's called)
- Electrical Cord
- Turned Wooden Lamp Base

You need the following tools:

- Wire Cutters
- Wire Strippers
- Phillips Screw Driver
- Custom built Hand Tap

Step 2: Insert the Threaded Nipple

The wooden lamp base should have a through hole drilled through it (11/32"). Use a custom built hand tap to thread the wooden lamp base. Screw the threaded nipple into the base. Leave about 1/2 inch showing.

Step 3: Insert the Electrical Wire

Fish the wire from the bottom up. You may need to tape the wire to some string or a thin stick, if the through hole is not wide enough.

Using the wire strippers, expose about 1/2 inch of copper at both ends.

Step 4: Add Ring and Harp

You don't have to add the check ring if you don't want to. But I've found that the lamp not only looks better but it makes for a more robust base for the harp and lamp socket. And you don't need to add a harp if your intended lamp shade does not need one.

Place the check ring over the wire and threaded nipple.

Remove the base piece of the harp and place it over the wire and threaded nipple.

Step 5: Add the Lamp Socket

I can usually get my hands on some electrical cords (every first of the month somebody throws away a lamp on my block) and I get some good deals on wood. But I will always pay for top of the line lamp sockets. The best I've ever worked with are from Grand Brass (trust me they are the best]). The model I'm using here has a built in dimmer, and is so worth the money.

The lamp socket is composed of 4 parts: the ring, the bottom socket cap, the socket interior, and the socket shell. Place the ring over the wire and threaded nipple. Screw on the bottom base to the threaded nipple. Tighten the set screw when the base is secure.

Tie the ends of the wire into what is known as the underwriter's knot, this prevents it from being pulled back through the lamp.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to find the hot and neutral wire (the neutral wire often has ribbing on it). Connect the neutral wire to the silver screw on the socket. Connect the hot wire to the gold screw. Tighten the terminal screws, making sure all of the wires are under the screw head.

Place the socket shell over the socket interior and tighten the ring.

Step 6: Let It Shine

Reattach the harp back to the harp base. Insert a light bulb and plug er' in. You could add a shade, but why would you, that socket looks great.

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    14 Discussions


    Hi, These look really nice.
    In the bottom of the base do you add feet or carve a channel for the cable to run under the lamp so it doesn't sit on the cable and wobble?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Dear blightdesign,

    Do you know if there there are any code or standards that require some type of jacketed wire or other insulation over the lamp wire when the wire is going through a wooded lamp?

    If so, what type of wire/jacket would you use?

    Thank you


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, I've following your site for awhile now and your projects are simply inspired!, please keep up with the instructables for your future projects. I fully intend to get a lathe simply because of some of the wonderful works you have turned.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Aha! a completed one, very nice, i love the look. Explain the lamp harp? is it just for putting the shade on?

    5 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yup, you can get different length harps for different sized lamp shades. You'll need a finial too.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    wow, lamps just reached a whole new level.. Truth is, i kinda like the look of them shadeless.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I do too. I think as long there is not too bright a bulb being used they look cool shadeless. Sort of architectural