If your in the market for a new light you may notice most of them are made of the same materials or follow the same design. Not to mention the price you pay for the unique, modern ones. This tutorial will show you how to build a light that has a unique design, is easy to construct, and fairly cheap.
Step 1: Stripping the Wood
The first material you need is wood. I am using some heart pine from an old chest of drawers for this project, however any wood will do. The reclaimed look is popular and most of the time the wood is free so this is a good route to take. The first step is to cut the boards to length. The size of the light is 18" tall with a 12" X 12" square shape so I cut to the length of 18 inches. After cut to length, I then ripped the board into 1.25" strips and sanded off the paint. The pine is 3/4" thick which is way to thick for the light. Therefore, I cut the strips in half to give me two equal strips that are a little over a quarter inch thick.(pic #4). If you do not have a method of thinning the stock or want to save some steps, then the best solution is use wood already a 1/4" thick such as plywood or Home Depot sells red oak strips that have been sawn to quarter inch thickness.
Step 2: Build the Light's Frame
The frame is just two simple 12X12 squares(pic #2). The wood is 1" wide by 3/4" thick and 12" long. They are joined together with bridle joints(pic #1)
Step 3: Gluing the Light
First step is to glue the frame together and then smothered one side with glue. You then place the wood strips onto the glued frame and evenly space them to allow equal light to pass through. I spaced the strips about 1/8" apart for reference. This step may take a while because you do not want to move the light when the glue is wet. After one side has dried, do the remaining three.
Step 4: Finishing the Wood
There you go, now you have something that resembles a light. Not all the strips were equal length so I have sawed of the overhangs with a very fine toothed saw and removed the excess glue drops. Then the wood is finished with shellac. I love to use oil however it does not show on pine well. Nevertheless, shellac is natural and will leave a nice finish.
Step 5: Building the Light Bulb Frame
I am using a hanging light socket from IKEA that cost about five dollars although you could probably salvage an old one. The socket is nice however the problem is that it needs to be attached to the wood. To attach the light socket to the wood I will be building a metal frame for the bulb from from ordinary wire hangers. First off is to cut and bend the wire to shape as in picture #3, don't forget to add extra length to the wire. After the first is bent, make another that is identical to the first. The two hangers need to be joined together and for that I used brass wire. I just continuously wound the wire around the two until they became structurally one. Next, I cleaned of the hanger's finish and gave it a shine with steel wool.
Step 6: Installing the Bulb
First of all there needs to be holes in the wooden frame for the metal to attach, which I drilled four equally around the light. Next you insert the bulb into the holes and center it nicely. After the bulb is centered, bend over the ends of the extra wire the secure the wire frame to the wood.
I inserted a 60 watt fluorescent into the socket and plugged it in. The light is a hand built, one of a kind piece you can easily show off. Overall, all I had to purchase was the bulb and socket, however even if you had to buy wood it should not cost that much. I would certainly state that the light is unique and hope you agree. If you have any questions or found a better way to attach the socket to the wood, please comment.
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Lamps and Lighting