Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brach's Candy Tin Made Into a Table Lamp

Lamps can be made from almost anything. Often people come into our shop and say "Can y'all make this a lamp?" Most often the response is Yes. One customer brought in an antique Brach's Candy tin and wanted to make it a table lamp. With the right tools and knowledge anything is possible.

Anytime you turn a product into a lamp you have to think about whether the item is going to serve as a structure of the lamp or be an accent piece. A few post back we made a lamp using a Porcelain Rabbit. In that lamp the item was used as an accent piece and placed on a base with a bend tube for the lamp body. For this lamp we will use the candy tin for the lamp body.

First thing we do is inspect the tin and make sure it is fairly sound to serve as the lamp body. Them we made a list of our lamp parts needed: lamp base, socket, neck, harp base, threaded rods, nuts, washers and lamp cord.

Next we plan for the lamp design. In this case we will not run a rod through the lamp but have the socket attached to the tin top and the lamp base attached to the tin bottom. Since the tin top has a screw lid, we tighten the lid and use tape to mark the closed position.

Next we mark the lid and drill a hole for the threaded rod on the lid.

The threaded rod is attached to the socket cap. Then we slip on the harp base and the antique brass neck. This threaded rod is attached to the tin top with a large washer and nut.

Next we move to the base of the tin where we mark and drill a hole.

We attach a threaded rod to a crossbar and line it up with hole using a graduated steel rod.

Then we attach the lamp base to the threaded rod and tighten the nut on the threaded rod. Note: This base had a wire hole for the lamp cord so it had a front side and a back. Make sure you orientate the base on the lamp before you make the final turns on the nut.

Next we feed the lamp cord up from the base of the lamp to the socket.

A UL knot is tied in the cord and the cord is attached to the socket interior. The ribbed wire goes on the nickel screw and the smooth wire goes on the brass screw. The socket shell is slid on the socket interior. The socket is aligned with the harp base and the shell snaps into the socket cap.

The lamp cord slack is pulled back down the lamp. The tin top is reattached to the tin. The taped markings are aligned.

The tape is removed, a bulb is added, and the lamp is tested.

Excellent. Total Cost < $32.00 Total Time < 1 hour.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Best Light Bulb is Up to You

Electric lighting has been around for over 100 years. With changes in bulb technology, there are more bulb choices now then ever before. When choosing a bulb for your lamp there are only two real factors to consider: what fits and what you like. There are styles, colors, and efficiency, but all of those fall under what you like. We will tackle one question at a time.

Does it fit? 

Most bulbs sold in the US are E26 screw type bulbs. This means they are Edison base (E) and 26 mm in width. Other common bulb base sizes are the E39 bulb for Mogul sockets and E12 bulb for candelabra sockets. If you live certain areas, some new fixtures are required to have a GU bi-pin type bulb. You will know it when you see it.

Do you like it? 

After you know the fit type you can decide on what you need from a bulb. Thanks to the vast market and the internet, there are different bulb styles, color output and efficiency and a mixture of all three in one bulb. 

Incandescent bulbs are the traditional bulb with a wide range of brightness from 25 watt to 100 watt. Most of the traditional incandescent bulbs had only one color scale at about 2400K. They are very inefficient with a high heat output. 

Mass produced Compact Florescent (CFL) bulbs hit the market in the early 2000s and were an alternative to the inefficient incandescent bulbs. These mostly had a spiral type glass tube on the top. It was the first time color was an issue and many bulbs were produced and had a cool white color of 5000K. Manufacturers were able to modify the bulbs to get a warmer glow. These bulbs were also advertising longer life span to offset the high cost. For a comprehensive study on the CFL market growth and decline, please read Compact Fluorescent Lighting in America:Lessons Learned on the Way to Market

Light Emitting Diode (LED bulbs are the latest attempt to curb energy consumption while producing light. Many early attempts at LED bulbs were not successful due to high production cost, cold color output, weak lumen output and directional lighting problems. Thanks to consumer demand the most recent LED bulbs seem to be a good fit for an alternative to the incandescent bulb. 

Vintage, nostalgic, Edison, carbon filament, and antique are some of the word used to describe the reproduction style bulb of early lighting. These bulbs are nice for the space where the bulb is exposed but have a high consumption for the amount of lumen produced. Most recently there have been LED versions of this style bulb but the initial cost mean a long burn time to make up the savings. 

LED style Antique Bulb
Specialty bulbs like flicker flame and silicone tip bulbs are more fashion than function. They are definitely designed to be seen and make a statement rather than produce light. These bulbs are perfect for decoration and prop settings. 

So whether your needing light for a kitchen, bathroom, closet or haunted house, remember there are so many bulbs to choose from and once you know the base type or size you can start to make the decision on what you like. Complete lighting parts stores like Antique Lamp Supply offer a large selection of bulbs and can help answer any question you have.