I found an relatively new lamp in a trash pile one day. As you can see, it is quite attractive except for its glaring silver duct taped cord. Heck, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. In my case, a lamp for a needed reading area.
Normally, I would have scooped it up and ran to the nearest lamp shop to fix it. Last winter, I took a home improvement course at a local college where I learned to solder plumbing, frame a wall, tile a floor, wire a three way switch, and use a miter saw to cut molding. I was in heaven. Unfortunately, each session was a different lesson so I became knowledgeable in all building aspects but a master in none. (Didn’t just hear a collective sign of relief from the building industry that I wasn’t going to hang up my builder’s sign?)
My husband suggested that we fix the lamp. Hesitantly, I agreed since fixing electrical items still scares me. I always envision myself looking like the cartoon character who put his finger in the socket. But then again, I pondered, how hard could it be?
Thank goodness for the internet. I found the above video that was pretty self-explanatory on how to fix a lamp. With my You Tube video in my pocket, I was off to Home Depot to acquire a new cord and light socket.
At the store all they had was a gold socket. My socket was silver. A little glitch but my knight in a Home Depot uniform save me. He explained that many people have the same issue and like magic, he showed me how to disassembles it and replace the cover with my silver one. Easy peezy.
The Big Day
So came the big day. I started to follow the instructions by taking off the screw from the socket but I could not pull the old socket off. Word of advice, put the small screw somewhere you can find it again. It is really small and can get lost very easily. I know because I dropped it a few times.
After stating a few explicit words when I couldn’t find it, I learned from my mistake to put it in a very obvious place. On top of the felt which was previously on the bottom of the lamp. It won’t roll off the felt.
Now on to the next step. Cutting the plug housing. The cord which had duct tape on it was too big to go through the hole at the base of the lamp. Instead of leaving six inches at the bottom to attach the new cord to the old cord, I had to cut it right where the duct tape was. It was impossible to remove the duct tape.
When I cut the old socket off I notice that there was very little cord for me to work with. See below how someone had duct taped the entire cord.
I was praying that this would not cause a problem when I tried to thread the new cord through the lamp.
The next step was to splice (remove) the casing around the lamp wires. I hate doing this and am absolutely terrible at it. Some people are good at somethings and bad at others. I think I am pretty good at a lot of thing but for some reason I can’t splice. It is painful to admit, but it is true. I do have flaws. I am human. (Say it ain’t so, Anna)
No matter how many times people show me how to splice, I draw a blank. An hour later, I finally got the casing off and tied the old and new wired together. (I was determined.) By the way, the wire on the new Home Depot cord is already spliced for you. So, I only had to splice the old wires. I was wondering if it had been easier to put some electrical tape around the wires and just pulled it threw the lamp base given that I did not have to splice the new wires. Would this have worked? Just a thought in hind sight.
As I started to take the wires through the lamp, I lost the lamp wire at the top since it fell down the tube of the lamp. Sign. I felt like Charlie Brown at this point. This was going to be a long day and I hoped that I did not regret taking on this project.
A dark cloud ascended upon me at that very point. Someone how deep inside me, my father who is a DIY’er channeled through me and gave me the insight to twist the lamp apart to find the wires in the lamp. (No applause needed at this point. Just doing my job.)
I was so proud of myself as I brought the new wire up the lamp and twisted the lamp back together. (If you want to clap now, this would be time. An internet pat on the back or hug will suffice too.) I was definitely on the road to become a weekend warrior.
Next step. Make a Underwriter’s Knot. A what? I watched and watched and watched some more. I tried, and tried, and tried and then watched some more. I was never a green scout. And yes, I can be kind of dense at times.
Finally my husband who watched the above video a zillion times with me, finally tied the knot. See here for a better illustration. (Just click on the illustration for a better view.) In the video the actress covers up part of the loop so you miss some of the information.
Whew. Huston, we have an Underwriter’s Knot. We are good to go. Uh, Huston, we have a problem. My DH (darling husband) tied the knot and I could not thread the excess back into the lamp. I had no idea how the actress in the above video did this unless her lamp hole was much larger than mine. (As I was proof reading the article, I read the last line and I want to assure you, I am not making any sexual innuendos. It is the G-d’s honest truth.)
So, there goes a lost hour. I had to take apart the knot and we tried to make a new knot as close as possible to the socket cap. No go. The lamp did not have a knot in it in the first place so I am hoping that it was okay not to tie a new in. (DIYer electrical people, you can jump right in and comment…)
Onto the neutral and “hot” wire. (Okay, again, I am not trying to be immoral. There are neutral and hot wires. And no, they are not sexy wire. Please. Get your head out of the gutter, people.) The video provides a good explanation of how to know which wire is hot and which is neutral but if you want a more detailed illustration of how to put the wire on the terminal screws, see here.
So far so good. Next was to screw back the tiny screw at the bottom of the socket. I can’t believe how easy it was to come out and now I can’t put it back in. It was late and I decided to try in the morning with more light.
An Illuminating new day…
Morning dawns and I race down to my lamp to find that the screw was in the lamp. My DH explains that his friend showed him a trick how to put the screw in. The law of gravity. Huh, the law of gravity, I shrugged. Simply tilt the lamp so when you put in the screw it will stay in. See the picture above. Brilliant idea!
I twisted in my light bulb (CFL, of course) and the light turned on. Huston, we have a go. I could not help to notice that the light socket is a little rocky and does not seem as secure as I wanted it to be. Again, looking for comments. Is this okay?
Onto gluing down the fort. I whipped out my handy glue gun since I am a pseudo crafty person. (I think I am but no one wants to tell me that I am not.) Reattaching the felt or cutting a new piece is the final step. Since all of my loyal readers know, I am the reuse woman (see all my nifty reuse ideas.) I fired up the glue gun, glued down the felt and wa lah, fixed lamp! (A whole day later, but heck, I finished.)
By the way, if you are an agent for a television show, I will gladly come in for an audition for HGTV or the DIYer channel. You know where to find me…
Join the Conversation:
- Have you rewired a lamp? Any tips?
- what have you fixed lately? Send me some pictures and I will feature them on the site.