Wall Light With Interchangeable Front

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About: I am a software engineer with a background in bridge engineering. In 2012 I bought myself a table saw and started to get in to woodworking which now takes up quite a bit of my spare time. I like to make anyt...

I have a few wall lights in my front room which were there when we bought our house. They aren't really to my taste so I decided to make some replacements for them. They are not the main lighting for the room so don't need to be super bright.

I had seen lamps and such which have patterns created by holes in the shade so went with this kind of idea. I have woodwork tools so I was naturally drawn to a wooden wall light and thought a box shape with holes in the front would look good so went ahead with that idea.

Step 1: Remove and Harvest Part From Existing Wall Light

I wanted to reuse all the existing electrical parts so I didn't have to buy anything additional.

Firstly I needed to remove the wall light to see what I was working with. I switched off the electricity to the lighting circuit, opened up the light and disconnected the mains wires with the light (keeping the plastic connectors attached). Once I'd done that the electricity could be turned back on and the light fitting inspected.

With some unscrewing of various parts I ended up with the light all in to bits and got the bulb holder with attached wires which I was reusing.

Step 2: Cut the Wood

I had some brown oak board left from a previous project so decided to use that.

The wood for the light box itself doesn't need to be too thick so cut one side part and one front part. I then re-sawed the side part in to two to about 12mm (1/2") and re-sawed the front part to make a 3mm (1/8") thick and 20mm thick part. I then took another piece of wood to the size of the front and re-sawed it in to multiple 3mm thick parts which I would be able to create more patterns on which I could then swap when I wanted a change.

I also need a couple of small parts, one for the lamp fitting and one for the electrical connector.

Step 3: Construct the Box

Once all the parts had been cut I sanded what will be the internal sides of the box. I then drilled a hole for the mains wires and a couple of fixing holes.

I cut a dado (groove) in to the front edge of the side pieces which would house the interchangeable fronts. I used a 3mm (1/8") router bit on a router table the full length of the pieces. I then cut a small bit of wood to wedge in to the bottom of the groove which would act as a stop to the front piece.

I drilled a 20mm (4/5") recces in to a small piece of wood where the bulb holder would be housed and drilled a vertical and horizontal hole though which I could pass the wires. I then hot glue gunned an electrical connector to another bit of wood.

I then glued and clamped the side pieces and two smaller parts with the wires already connected.

Once the glue was dry I sanded all the parts up to 240 grit and added a couple of coats of danish oil.

Step 4: Create and Drill Patterns on Front Piece

As the box was drying I then started to draw patterns on the front parts.

Once I was happy with the patterns I marked the drilling points with a bradawl and drilled the patterns on to the wood with a variety of drill bit sizes.

When they were finished I sanded each of the fronts up to 240 grit, followed by a couple of coats of danish oil.

Step 5: Attach Lamp to Wall

Now that all the parts were ready I turned the electricity off again, fixed a backing plate to the wall and attached the three sized box to the backing plate. The mains wires were then attached to the connector, put an LED bulb in to the bulb holder and turned the electricity back on.

As all was good the only thing left was to add one of the front parts on and admire my handy work!

I am very pleased with the result and I think is far better than my old wall light.

If this instructable has helped at all please vote for me. Thanks!

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