Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mid-Century Table Lamp Rewired and Washed

We came across this lamp the other day in one of our old warehouses. It is a nice old Mid-Century era table lamp with two (left) metal cone shades and swivels. The original lamp had three shades but that is not going to stop us from re-purposing this lamp.

First thing that strikes me about this lamp is the dirt. It is really nasty and needs a good cleaning. More that some Swiffer or 409; a real bath. The rewire is a perfect time to dip these lamp parts in some warm soapy water and give it a little scrub. 

Making a list of the lamp parts needed for this repair include: 

12 Foot of Rayon Covered Lamp Cord (Just a Preference for the Plug Wire)

1 Large Plug for Large Round Wire (like the Rayon Cord above)
6 Foot of SPT-1 18-2 Lamp Cord (can be recycled from other projects, no plug needed)

1 - 7 Inch Round Felt Pad for the Base

First, disassemble the lamp. Turning the lamp on it's side you can see the wiring and wire nuts. Some lamps might have a felt bottom or covering that would need to be removed. Disconnect the wire nuts, untie the knot, and pull out the old plug wire. 

Next, we cut the old lamp cord next to the post nut and take each post off the lamp.

Now we remove the old socket and shade from the poles. The socket is attached at the top of the shade with a nut and the swivel connects to the shade with a 9/16 inch nut inside the shade.

Cutting the old cord from the shade is the easiest way to remove the shade from the swivel. 

Next, we remove the swivels from the posts. These swivels had a set screw in the post that is now rusted and not removable. We are going to carefully drill out these old set screws and unscrew the swivel from the post. 

Now the old cord can be pulled out of the post.

The old cord is removed from the lamp and all the parts are separated. It is time for a wash and dry. Using warm water and some dish liquid soap the parts are washed like dishes in a sink. I let them set and completely dry before we start putting everything back together.

To reassemble this lamp, we start with putting the post back on the base. We re-stack the large heavy washers; in the lighting industry these are known as loaders and work as a bottom weight to keep the lamp from tipping over. 

Next, we tighten down the nuts on the bottom of the poles and feed the new STP-1 wire up the lamp posts from the base. The old swivels slid over the lamp cord and screw back in the lamp poles.

To keep an authentic look, we are reusing the heat sleeves from the old lamp cord. They simply slide over the cord. 

The cord is split, stripped, and the old shade slips over the cord and connects to the swivel. I reused the old rusty 9/16 inch nut, but they could be replaced. 

The socket is attached to the lamp cord. To be Polarity Correct, the smooth wire connects to the brass screw and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw terminal. Then remove the new nut from the socket and slip the top of the socket through the hole in the shade. Carefully tighten the nut on the switch with a wrench. 

With a strong friend or bench vise, pull the lamp cord slack back down the lamp base. Be careful not to snag or scrape too much of the wire sheathing off. Repeat the steps for each lamp pole. 

Now we move to the base of the lamp and attach the final cord and plug. For this, I chose a Rayon Covered cord. The hole needed to be widened and we added a bushing to the hole in the base. 

The new cord is pushed in the new bushing and a knot is tied in the cord. The Rayon has a tendency to fray so I used some electrical tape on the cord to hold the Rayon in place. The plastic sheathing is stripped back and the wires are stripped. The black wire connects to the smooth wire and the white wire connects to the ribbed wire. Wire nuts are recycled from the lamp to join the wires together.

The plug is attached to the other end of the Rayon Cord. I marked the hot leg of this lamp since the plug is not Polarity Correct. This black marked prong goes in the small side of the outlet. 

Finally we add a felt bottom to the lamp so it will not scratch the table top. 

With shades and cords and socket back in place it is time to test the lamp! 

Very nice. Total time: 3 Hours, total cost < $30. 

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