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I had seen plenty of spirit bottles turned into lamps before and during an afternoon at a friends house chatting about lights on his outdoor bar, a little nugget got stuck in my head for an idea about a chandelier involving spirit bottles and a bike wheel........
I think I spent about two days all in putting this one together, but a lot longer acquiring the right bottles!
Step 1: Cutting the Bottle Shades
To remove the bottle bottoms I started off using the scored line and thermal shock method. I made a small jig to score the bottles and then tortured them with my kettle and cold tap. I did five bottles and each one went pear shaped. As you can see in the second photo on this page a a small section always tapered off towards some unseen flaw. Perhaps because the spirit bottles are thicker than beer/wine bottles?
So I decided to try a diamond disc in my dremel, wearing my riot gear (mask and goggles), I slowly cut out a line one each side rotating the bottle so that I didn't go all the way through one side before I had made my way into the others. It worked quite well, I found that a strip of masking tape helped guide my cuts and also reduced the chipping.
After I had cut way the bottoms I clamped down some emery cloth and using water began to sand down the bottoms using an even circular motion. I used 60, 100 and 200 grits, I could have gone further but I liked the frosted edge the 200 grit left.
The sanding was the best definitely the best smelling part of this project, the rhubarb gin bottle smelt really nice!
Step 2: Light Fittings
We had recently taken down a ceiling light in our dining room, so I stripped it down and stole the light fittings, the ceiling mount and took inspiration from its wiring loom. I also noticed a way for me to hang the lamp from the ceiling mount using some threaded bar.
Step 3: Balancing the Wheel
I has and old rear 700c wheel behind my shed, I removed the axle, polished the rim and spokes up with a piece of Scotch Brite and cleaned the grease from the cassette. I also removed the protective tape that covers the spoke screws and cleaned it up with the scotch brite.
The circumference of the wheel is 198cm/78", I positioned the bottles at equal distances tied to the wheel with string to see how it balanced. It didn't. the Bombay bottle is a chunky bugger and also taller than the others. So I devised a method of calculating the weight of the bottle relative to its height. I call it the Bottle Mass Index or B.M.I., I think it may catch on....... I figured that I needed to take off about 50mm/2" from the Bombay to bring to a similar weight of the others.
I got hold of a piece of threaded bar and reusing a cool looking ball nut from the old lamp I fixed the rewired ceiling fitting to the wheel. I stuck it up on my shed roof for a sneak peek
Step 4: Accidents Will Happen
While grinding down the the Dalmore bottle with the wet emery cloth I slipped and chipped a chunk of the flared edge off. I tried a spot of stupid glue and polishing it up and telling my self it added character to the bottle but I had to admit that it was messed up and sacrificed the nice flare in the bottle for the sake of linear satisfaction.
Then it got worse, the lovely Haig Club bottle picked a fight with the Slingsby gin and lost big time. There was no rescue plan. So I took one for the team and spent an evening knocking back the remainder of a bottle of Bruadar.
Best project ever. When you mess up, you drink up.
Step 5: Assembley
I gave the final line up a check over, there was still a difference in some of the weights but nothing massive. I also wired up one of the pendants to make sure that it worked. I've got to admit i did half expect to get zapped by 240 of the national grids finest volts at this point! I'm still here.
I drilled equidistant holes in the wheels rim for the wiring to pass through and then fed the lamp fitting wiring up the bottle necks, through the rim and positioned it over the hub to see how long the pendant cords needed to be with the ceiling fitting in place.
I was still grumbling at myself about the smashed Haig Club bottle, so I took precautions and shredded one of lady shed freaks fluffiest bath towels. After feeding the all pendant wiring through the wheel and into the disc which retained the arms in the old lamp I joined and soldered them. Then I finished wiring it to the ceiling fitting and secured the wires to the spokes with plastic tie wraps and it was ready to hang!!
Step 6: Ta Da!!
I asked my mate if I could hang it in his bar which I helped him to build last year, and he only went and asked Noel Gallagher to come and do the official switch on!! I didn't have the heart to tell Noel that I was more of a Blur fan........
I'm really pleased with how the lamp turned out. The JD honey label looks great as the light passes through it, and the colour of the Bombay and Slingsby bottles stand out well
I did consider putting another hole in the rim for each wire to pass back inside of it so that the pendants hung down on the inside of the rim but sometimes you can over think a thing. I had to adjust the brightness of the photos on my phone as I took them because it didn't depict what they really looked like to the eye.
My mate was really impressed by the fact that the free wheel still spun!