How to Build a Table Lamp Kit
A table lamp kit can provide you with the tools and hardware necessary to build a functional and attractive light fixture. Whether you’re making a simple lamp for your kitchen or an elegant floor lamp for your dining room, it will help you create the look you want.
The simplest table lamp kits require just a wooden base and a few basic hardware pieces. They also allow you to personalize the lamp to suit your taste and decor.
Choosing a Solid Wood Base
When you’re ready to turn a lamp, choose a piece of wood that is at least 6 inches wide and a good length for the base. A narrower base will provide a tighter fit for the lamp socket, while a wider one will allow the wires to run more easily. You can find bases made from different types of wood and sizes, from small to large.
You can also use a glass or ceramic base for your lamp. These are available from most home improvement stores and can be painted to match your furniture.
Once you’ve chosen a base, make the holes for the hardware that comes with your kit. The kit should have a nipple that fits snugly into the hole and a knurl washer to secure it. The nipple is the part that attaches the lamp socket to the base.
Depending on the size of your hole, you may need to add a rubber adapter. These come in many shapes and sizes and will be the part that connects the nipple to your base. The rubber adapter is important for stability. It holds the nipple in place, preventing it from sliding off the ring and causing the lamp to fall over.
To turn the base, you can use a skew chisel and a 1-1/4” to 1-3/4” spindle-roughing gouge. These can help you create a slender base that tapers from thick to thin or a taller one that is more like a traditional lamp. A skew chisel is also helpful to shape the lamp’s contours, while the spindle-roughing gouge is used for shaping tight coves on finials and other hardware.
Before wiring your base, weigh it thoroughly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the wiring post. If your base is a container, such as a wicker basket, you’ll need to drill an opening in the bottom of the container to accommodate the threaded rod and switch. Then, wire the base using a quick-clamp plug and a continuity tester (available at hardware stores).
Assembling the Hardware
After assembling the base, you need to attach the cord and socket to the harp and nipple. The cord must be long enough to reach the drilled hole in the base. If you have a longer cord, tie a loose knot to keep it from falling out of the hole. You can also use a cord clamp to attach the cord.
Wiring Your Lamp
The cord in your kit will include a quick-clamp plug and polarized plug. This enables you to quickly attach the lamp to the harp without having to remove the harp from the base. The insulated wires in the cord are separated for about 4 inches, and you must cut one of them so that it can connect to the two screw terminals on the lamp switch.