Introduction: Natural Wood Light Fixture
In this instructable I will show you how to turn a plane slab of wood into a beautiful light fixture. I will try to to keep the level of this project adjustable, meaning you could make it at a workshop with heavy machinery and at home with relatively common tools. This is a fairly low budget project and the final cost will mostly depend on how much you choose to spend on your wood slab.
Bill Of Materials:
wooden slab - any type and size you like, I think a long narrow piece with the original trunk edge is best (like mine).
light housing - I used three E27 light housings but you can use more or less and different sizes (just make sure you get matching bulbs).
LED Edison bulbs - three E27 bulbs for a cool antique look. you can get regular looking bulbs too. you can also use non LED bulbs but LEDs use less power and last much longer. *
chain - I got two chains, 1 meter each, of a galvanized 4 mm link chain.
others - some wiring (preferably the color of your chain or clear) and wire connector, 6 hook screws (4 for the slab, 2 for the ceiling), varnish for the wood +cloth or brush to apply it (optional).
You should be able to find all these things (except for the wood) at your local hardware store but it's all also available online.
*In the pictures you can see I used regular IKEA LEDs because my Edison bulbs haven't arrived yet. I will update the pictures as soon as they get here
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Step 1: Prepare the Wood
This is the hardest part of the project, especially if you aren't working at a workshop.
First cut the slab you want. Use whatever saw you have available that is easiest to use (table, band, chain or if you must - hand). Once you have the desired piece its time to straighten it out. The easiest way is using a planer table but you can also use a hand planer or even just sand it down manually (it might be a lot of work if you didn't get a clean cut on you slab). Remember, you really only need one side to look nice since the other side is facing the ceiling. even the nice side doesn't have to be perfectly flat, as long as you like the way it looks your good.
Make some measurements and draw a center line on the top side of the wood. Mark the centers of the holes where the housings will go, you wanna keep them evenly spaced. Depending on the tools you have available drill holes for the housings. if you use a cup drill bit you should drill a small hole first to help making the big holes easier. You can also get housings that sit on the wood and not in it and then you just have to drill small holes for the wires to go through.
Once the housings are in place and you are happy with the way it looks you can (but don't have to) apply a finish to your wood. Again, you only have to make the bottom look nice since the top faces the ceiling. You can use the top to test out how your varnish looks and see the difference between colored varnishes and shiny or matte.
Step 2: Wiring
Cut 3 pieces of wire long enough to reach from each housing to a convergence point somewhere on the side (far from the edges so it doesn't show later). Expose the tips of all the wires at both ends. Screw each wire into a housing as show in the pictures (it doesn't matter which wire goes where but its better if you consistent). Connect all the other ends of the wires to on one side of a connector. On the other side of the connector attach a long piece of wire that you will later connect to the ceiling, leave yourself extra wire. You can staple the wires to the wood so they are lying flat and wont be seen later.
I recommend you attach a temporary plug to the end of the wire like I did and test out you wiring before you hang the light up. This gives you the options to fix any problems easily.
Step 3: Add Chain
You can choose to do this part differently than I did but the basic Idea is still the same.
Mark 4 spots where the hooks will go. You want them to be evenly distributed in relation to the housings and as far from the center as possible. Leave some room so that you're not working on the very edge and so the hooks aren't very visible later on. In retrospect you might want to sync the space between the hoot with your chains so that they fit nicely together.
Drill small prep holes for the hooks (NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH) and screw the hooks in. prep holes help you put the screws in straight, in the right place and prevent the wood from cracking
Attach the chains to the hooks and test out different variations. In the pictures you can see I used carabiners to create a loop in each chain but ended up looping the whole meter because I wanted the light fixture higher up. Test different option now so that you don't have to do this while everything is already hanging from the ceiling
Drill hooks into the ceiling with a wall plug evenly distanced from where the wires come out. I used 2 hooks instead of one so I could easly prevent the whole thing from twisting and keep it aligned with the room. Hang the light fixture from the ceiling hooks in the configuration you chose, take a step back and see if you like it. If you want to make changes this is the time, later it would be harder (not impossible).
You may want to get (or make) a cover for all area where everything connects to ceiling so that it looks cleaner but that's up to you.
Step 4: Finish
######## Warning!!! ##########
This part requires dealing with high voltage electricity. make sure you know what your doing and call a professional if you need help. I take no responsibility for anything that may happen.
######## Warning!!! ##########
Go to the main fuse box and shut down the power to the entire house (better safe than sorry).
Make sure you're wearing shoes with insulating soles (sneakers or boots should be fine).
Start by attaching you long wire to the wires coming out of the ceiling. The colors dont matter but if you have 3 wires you have to leave out the "ground" (it's color should be green+yellow) .Run your long wire through one of the chains so it not flapping about and cut off any unnecessary ends. Connect the other end of the wire to the connector on your light fixture. Screw your bulbs into the housings. Once everybody is clear you can turn on the power and test the lights.
Congratulations on your new light fixture. Hope you enjoyed making it.