Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jack Daniels Bottle Makes a Nice Man Cave or Rec. Room Lamp

We have made lamps for customers out of many things: antique candy tins, cowboy boots, firearms, porcelain animals. Now we can add liquor bottle to the list. A guy in our shop said he had an over-sized Jack Daniel's bottle he had been working on for some time. It was now empty and he wanted to make a lamp out of it. Something that would fit in a game room or man cave type room. We came up with an idea to put some recycled LED Christmas lights in the bottle and use a 3 terminal socket to power the lamp.

Important note: We first attempted this project with traditional incandescent Christmas lights and they were getting too hot inside the bottle. We had to switch to LED lights for the heat to be reduced. Do not use traditional Christmas light bulb in a confined space like this bottle. 

Since we are building this lamp and not repairing, we will need most new lamp parts. Instead of buying separate pieces, we just used the nickel turn knob make a lamp kit. It comes with a 3 way socket, cord, nipple, nut, neck harp and harp base (most everything you need to build a lamp). For our project, we need a 3 terminal interior socket, so we add that to the list. We will also need to modify the socket cap with a side outlet. So we punch a hole in the socket cap and add a bushing to the hole.

3 Terminal Socket

Snap in bushing

First, we start by washing out the bottle. Rinse, soap, repeat. This was a container for liquid and we need it to be clean and dry. Next, we start stuffing the LED Christmas lights into the bottle. The plug goes first. It had to be trimmed to fit in the hole.

Using a dowel, we continue stuffing the lights into the bottle.

Now we can see what the lights will look like.

This bottle will serve as our lamp body. Next, we attach the socket to the lamp. For this bottle, we are reusing the cap. There is enough space for our threaded rod and nut. The cap closes tight enough to hold the socket, harp, and shade in place. We start by drilling a 3/8 inch hole in the middle of the cap.

Now we add the hardware to the cap.

Now we are ready to start wiring the socket. The wires from our cord set will come in from the side outlet hole in the socket cap. The wires from the LED Christmas lights will pass through the threaded rod to the socket interior. Tie a UL knot in both the cord set and the LED Christmas light sets.

Next, we connect the wires to the socket interior. Starting with the wires from the cord set, the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw and the smooth wire connects to the brass screw. On the LED Christmas light wires, one wire connects to the black screw on the socket and the other wire connects to the nickel screw (nickel screw has two wires around it 1 from the cord set and 1 from the LED Christmas lights).

The cords are pushed back into the lamp and pulled out the side of the socket so the socket interior can set properly in the cap and shell. The socket shell slides over the socket interior and is snapped into the socket cap.

Pull up on the socket shell to make sure it is firmly seated in the cap. Now we are ready to add a bulb and test the lamp.

We top it off with a parchment color mica shade.

Lamp complete. Total time < 1 hour Total cost < $20.00

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Porcelain Urn Lamp with Roses and Broken Socket

A customer brought in this porcelain lamp the other day and said they wanted it fixed. The socket had come loose and was hanging from the lamp. The customer said the lamp was special and wanted to update the socket with a solid brass turn knob socket.

Cue theme song: Welcome to Antique Lamp Supply. These are real lamps with real issues. What you are about to witness is not a miracle but simple, pragmatic lamp and lighting repair. With the right tips and techniques, you can and should try this at home.

Cut back to the lamp: First thing, we need to do for any lamp repair is a simple inspection and make a list of all the lamp parts needed for the repair. In addition to the new socket, we will also need a new cord set with a molded polarized lamp plug.

This lamp is partially disassembled. Knowing we are not going to reuse the cord or socket, the cord is cut just below the socket and pulled out the lamp body.

Pulling the cord out of the lamp we find a threaded neck. This is the piece that came loose from the bottom of the socket. It is a decent choice considering

  1.  we are working with porcelain and do not want to tighten the threaded rod with a mechanical tool (wrench), 
  2.  it has a wide surface area at the top so the pressure is disbursed on the porcelain.

With the lamp completely disassembled and the cord removed we start to put things back in order. First, we push the lamp cord up the lamp in the same path it came out. Remember the threaded neck!

Next, we prepare the socket cap and harp base. Since nothing is wrong with the neck or threaded rod, we will reuse them.

Using a premium socket and screw collar cap and shell, remember the collar goes below the socket cap.

Tighten the neck below, inside the lamp, on the threaded rod. Pull the lamp cord up the socket. Attach the socket interior to the lamp cord by tying a UL Knot in the cord. The smooth wire connects to the brass screw and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw for polarity.

The socket shell slips over the socket interior and the screw collar secures the socket close.

A bulb is added and the lamp is tested.

Back to great. Total cost <$30 Total time <20 minutes

End scene. Roll credits.