Jury-Rigging a Swag Lamp Socket




Introduction: Jury-Rigging a Swag Lamp Socket

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

This is my wife's favorite place for reading the newspaper.  Unfortunately, the swag lamp quit working.

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Step 1: The Old Socket

The old socket is nothing I have ever seen before.  Home Depot had nothing like it.  The ring on the threaded body tightens against the bottom of the glass shade.  It is all a heat resistant plastic.

Step 2: The Problem

In the photo you see the old socket (right).  The red arrow shows where the metal tip for the threaded base of the light bulb is supposed to contact the bulb.  The threads holding the bulb in place are plastic.  The metal tip has burned away and the bulb would no longer light.

The socket at the left is a porcelain socket we found at Home Depot.  Notice the white metal screw head at the bottom of the porcelain socket.  This will be important in the next step.

Step 3: Move Wires

This porcelain socket came with its lead wires inserted through the hole for the pipe nipple.  Remove the screw in the previous step and take the wires out of the pipe nipple hole.  Attach the pipe nipple holder and screw again. 

Step 4: Mark the New Socket

I laid the pieces of the old socket next to the new socket and lined them up to get a sense of where the bottom of the glass shade would come on the new socket.  The ring is turned onto the threaded body of the old socket about as it was in the fixture before I dismantled it.  Note the red line and the black mark I made on the porcelain socket.  The green line lines up the location of the nut on both the old and the new socket.

Step 5: Make Three Bent Pieces of Rod

The new support for the glass shade will be three bent pieces of 1/8 inch rod.  Each is about 1 1/4 inches long.  I placed each rod in my vise with 1/4 inch protruding above the jaws and bent the rod over with a hammer.  The bent hook on each rod will point outward from the center of the socket.  The old socket is enough larger in diameter that there is room between the new socket and the edge of the hole in the shade.  An automotive hose clamp will hold the rods in place. 

Step 6: Tape the Rods in Position Temporarily

Feed the lamp wire through the nipple holder on  the porcelain socket.  Screw the nipple into the nipple retainer and lock the retaining nut.  Feed the socket and wire through the hose clamp and then through the hole in the glass shade.  Tape the three bent rods at equal distances around the body of the porcelain socket.  I used masking tape.  It will eventually become hot and dry out.  There is not enough to start a fire.  Brass table lamp sockets use cardboard as an insulator.  I could have used a propane torch to burn the tape away after the bent rods are firmly in position.  That would remove all possibility of a fire.    

Step 7: Clamp and Make the Connections

Slide the hose clamp down over the rods taped to the porcelain socket and tighten the clamp screw as much as you can.  Trim the lead wires and make your connections with wire nuts.  If the glass shade does not hang level, you can use a needle nose pliers to grasp the bent ends of the steel rods to twist and push or pull any one of them until the shade is level when hanging from the lamp.

Step 8: Assemble the Rest of the Lamp and Hang

Place the brass colored dome over the connections and clamp.  Screw the large ring onto the pipe nipple.  Hang the lamp.  Pull the wire and chain so they fit well together.

This is not fancy, but we need it to work for us only a couple more years.  The cost was less than $4, which is considerably cheaper than a new swag lamp.

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    3 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have this same swag lamp, I found your site because I was looking for a way to repair my swag lamp because my lamps all match. It burned out and hadn't worked for some time because I could not find the socket needed anywhere. The wires plugged in and weren't wrapped around any screws in the socket base. I was fortunate, I found the same shade ready socket for $3.00 on Colorcord.com just in case anyone should have the same problem and need a replacement.I hope people haven't discarded their lamps,it's really lovely. I just wanted to share the information with you...thanks!

    Rewired lamp 2.JPG
    Phil B
    Phil B

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Your Lego Lamp is far more elaborate than what I did.  I like it.  Thanks, Lemonie.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    It's something of a "hidden horror" (the Jubliee-clip), but it is hidden. A very nice fix, reminds me of my dodgy-lamp (still in use)