Edison Lamp




Introduction: Edison Lamp

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In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make what I call the Wood Block Edison Table Lamp. This vintage looking lamp has an industrial yet modern design. I made this lamp from a scrap piece of wood (4x4 cedar post) and readily accessible lighting supplies (see materials in next step). Hope this will inspire you to create your own!

Step 1: Materials

Step 2: Prep the Wood

To get a more professional look, trim off all the rounded edges of your 4x4 using your table saw, then sand the block to a smooth finish. My final dimensions were approx 3 x 3 x 9 inches.

Measure and mark 2-1/2" from the center of the long edge. Do this on the top and bottom face of your block, making a mark on both the left and right sides. You should have 4 marks in total.

Step 3: Drill the 35 Mm Holes

Drill one of the marks on your bottom face with a 35 mm Forstner bit. Don't drill all the way through! You need to drill almost all the way through, but not quite. Use your drill press' depth stop or regularly check your progress if using a hand drill. You should aim to leave no more than half an inch of wood at the bottom of the hole.

Flip over the block so the top face is facing up. On the opposite side from hole #1, drill where you marked, again using the 35 mm bit. This time drill all the way through.

When you're done, your block should look like the pictures above.

Step 4: Drill More Holes

On the last mark that remains, use a 1/2" spade bit to drill through. The hole will connect with the larger 35 mm hole that you made at the last step. Awesome!

The last hole thatneeds to be made is on the side. This is where the wiring will enter the base. I used a 3/8" bit that seemed to be a good size for the fabric wire I planned to use. Note: drill towards the bottom of the face and drill all the way until you reach the 35 mm hole (the one that goes all the way though).

Find this confusing? Watch the video

The last step in preparing the wood is to make a channel between the holes on the bottom face. I used my router table for this with a 3/4" straight bit.

Step 5: Wiring

Now that all the holes are made, we can start assembling the lamp.

Start with the toggle switch. Remove the outer ring and the "on/off" plate, then slip the switch up into the smaller 1/2" hole from underneath. Replace the "on/off" plate, and screw the ring on tightly.

Next, simply slip the porcelain socket into place from above. It will be a nice snug fit.

Grab your extension cord and some wire cutters. Cut the wire just before the "female end" (i.e. the piece where you can plug other stuff into). Slide the end through the small hole you made on the side. Note: use your wire strippers to remove about 3/4" of sheathing from the extension cord's wires.

If you look closely, you will notice that the 2 wires are different: one is smooth and the other one is ribbed. The smooth wire is the "hot" wire and the ribbed wire is the "neutral" wire.

Start with the smooth "hot" wire and connect it to one of the leads from the toggle switch using wire connectors. The connect the other lead wire from the toggle switch to the black lead wire from the socket. Finally, connect the white wire from the socket to the ribbed "neutral" wire.

Step 6: Final Touches

To give your lamp a more polished look, cover the bottom with a piece of adhesive felt. I used red to match my fabric extension cord. Tip: you can use a piece of duct tape instead to keep the wires from coming out.

All that's left is to screw in the vintage light bulb of your choice. I used an over-sized vanity tungsten bulb. I just love the look.

If you haven't already done so, you can watch the build video


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    14 Discussions

    Why was the block of wood not included in the "Materials Used"? I would reattach the strip of wood you cut off, back to the bottom of the block of wood, for a more complete "block of wood" look. Go a step further and add a dimmer feature with an old bakelite look dial. Use a cloth wrapped, but new modern power cord if they're sold somewhere? Stain it with an antique look stain too. I might just have to do this project now! Thank you for sharing.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Nice woodwork, I really like the look of the product. However, I suggest that you should somehow block the mains extension cable to be pulled out from the block accidently, to prevent the wires get loose and touch the switch body > hazard?

    1 reply

    I agree with this point, that was an oversight on my part. I would make a knot with the 2 ends of the extension cord so it can't get yanked out.

    Great idea... just one question.... why is this called an Edison Lamp.... when you are clearly using a light bulb created by Tesla?

    6 replies

    hmmm, well I guess that could be a whole debate! So I guess my answer is that Edison bulb is the popular term for the type of vintage light bulb I used.

    That shows y'all live on the left side of the Pond :-)

    On the right hand side, it was Sir Joseph Swan who claimed priority, won the patent battle with Edison and was made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. Eventually the rivals merged their UK businesses, and Ediswan screw-fittings for bulbs are coded ES even to this day.

    Great design, thanks! David (England)

    Light bulb with vacuum atmosphere and carbon filament was invented before Tesla was even born. The first patent for it was granted in 1841, and Tesla was born in 1958. Live with it.

    Actually, Tesla was born in 1856, and died in 1943. The first light bulb was created in 1802, but Edison created the first bulb that was sturdy enough for the masses to use.

    1856 of course, my mistake. And the history of the electric bulb development is quite complex, so probably diymontreal is right - better stay with the popular term, that is easily recognised.

    Tesla was born in 1856... maybe we should call it the "Frederick de Moleyns Lamp" ... doesn't quite have the same ring does it?

    Nice instructable. I've always liked Edison bulbs...they're cool in a hipster sort of way ;)

    Awesome! fab stuff

    That looks great, I really like the use of adhesive felt.. I'll try and remember it for future projects that need covering up