Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now for something completely different

In the beginning there was... a gift from pottery barn - a pair of wall sconce candle holders.

This post will deal with converting it into an electric fixture.

Step one: drill a hole for the wire to enter through. I'm planning on using the little rubber grommets (local hardware store) you see in the photo to soften the edges. Drilling this hole was the hardest part of the project. Two low and the bit hits the curved iron bracket; too high and the decorative glass will hit the wire. Thin metal is difficult to drill gracefully.

The grommets advertised their need for a 3/8 hole but I second-guessed them and used 5/16 - and was very glad I did. The grommets were a tight but nice fit.

View from top - hole is right beside the candle-holder proper:

Rubber grommet inserted:

When brainstorming this project I browsed the local hardware store looking for the parts that would make it all work. The minute I saw the light bulb socket below I knew all was possible. It is tiny, cheap(!) and simple to assemble. A screw-on cap spears each wire onto a sharp contact - see finished connection two photos down.

This is the socket for a standard candelabra type bulb - something I have never worked with before. It is however just the type of bulb that would look good in these fixtures.

Getting close now: I've clamped the bulb socket in position (between the spring steel tabs that hold the glass on) ready to epoxy it in place.

Here are the two fixtures - I've filled the candle holder with epoxy and the bulb holders dip into the top of it. Looks like it will be a very strong mounting option. I screwed in the bulbs to help me eye in the levelness of the sockets.

Lastly (for tonight!) a couple of ventilation holes. With a 40w bulb the glass was getting a bit hot - though not too hot I don't think. However (since I could) I went ahead and drilled some holes (out of sight from a normal viewing angle) for air to circulate through. I figure with a chimney like that they should draw pretty well!

I'll try to update this when they are finally mounted on the wall!

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