- Ideas & How-Tos
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Fashion lighting in the plumbing aisle? Screw together galvanized pipes to create a stylish floor lamp with a faux aged finish.
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For tools, materials, and instructions to finish the lamp base and the pipe body of the lamp, see the separate stories on applying decorative wood finishes and applying aged metal finishes. The parts shown here were left unfinished for photography.
From the 1 x 10 x 48 board, cut a piece 9-1/2 inches long to form a square. Measure 1 inch in from the edges and ends, and lightly mark where the lines intersect at the corners.
Clamp the square board to a piece of scrap wood. At each marked intersection, drill a 7/8-inch hole. Find the center by measuring between diagonal corners, and drill a centered 1-1/8-inch hole as shown.
Center the flange on the board over the center hole and mark the mounting screw locations. Drill 1/8-inch pilot holes at the marks.
Thoroughly scrub all of the pipes and fittings using trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a grease-dissolving detergent, and let dry. Use painter’s tape to mask off the threads of the flange and apply a metal finish of your choice to the flange and eight pipe caps -- but not the close pipe nipples. (The aged painted metal finish is shown on the completed lamp. The parts shown below were left unfinished for photography.) Also, finish the heads of the #10 x 3/4-in mounting screws.
Screw the flange onto the base. Insert the close pipe nipples in four pipe caps, place them in the holes in the base, and screw on the caps on the other side. (All parts are shown unfinished for photography.)
Use the coupling to connect the 30-inch pipe to the 18-inch pipe. Mask the bottom half of the threads on the bottom end of the 30-inch pipe.
Pass the raw end of the 12-ft cord through the base and flange from underneath. Then tape the end to a narrow dowel or stick and use that to guide the cord through the two assembled pipes. Pull about 5 feet of cord from the end of the 18-inch pipe.
Screw a 45-degree elbow to a 3-inch pipe. Thread the cord from the 18-inch pipe through the elbow and then the 3-inch pipe. Attach a 5-inch pipe to a 45-degree elbow. Thread the cord through the pipe and elbow. Next, attach a 45-degree elbow to a 10-inch pipe and pass the cord through that pipe and elbow. Last, attach a 45-degree elbow and a 90-degree elbow to a 3-inch pipe, pull the cord through, and attach a 3/8-inch-to-1/8-inch brass fitting to the 90-degree elbow. Feed a couple feet of the cord through the brass pipe fitting.
Connect the subassemblies for the neck, taking care to keep the cord from twisting inside the pipes. Loosen each connection slightly and apply thread-locking fluid to the elbow and pipe threads before retightening them. Finish this and the next step within 10 minutes to keep the thread-locking fluid from setting before you’re finished.
Lay the top section on a flat surface and fine-tune the fit of the pipes in the elbows until the whole assembly rests flat. Allow it to sit until the thread-locking fluid cures. Then connect the top half to the pipe base assembly, but don’t connect it to the base flange yet.
Separate the light socket halves and thread a 1-inch socket nipple about 1/4 inch into the top of the fixture. Pass the end of the cord through the lampshade frame center hole and through the socket nipple and socket. Screw the top of the fixture into the brass pipe fitting to hold the shade in place.
You can install a shade with a different style and color, but check that your choice will fit the opening at the top of the lamp.
Connect the ends of the cord to the contacts on the lower portion of the lamp socket and reassemble the socket. Carefully push and pull the wire back through the pipes as you bring the socket halves together.
Add a bulb to the socket and plug it in. Estimated cost: $137 with the finishes shown.
To use the lamp on hard-surface floors, attach adhesive-back felt pads to the bottom pipe caps.