- Ideas & How-Tos
Choose Your Savings
Build a height-adjustable lamp that's as up to date as its economical LED light source. Our DIY plans make it easy to wrap up the project in a weekend.
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We designed this lamp to work with an LED light source that uses a fraction of the electricity needed by an incandescent light. To avoid excess heat buildup, do not replace the LED fixture shown with an incandescent or compact fluorescent light.
On the base back (A), drill four countersunk shank holes where shown (Project Diagram, Drawing 1 and 2). Note: Avoid drilling the holes any closer than shown or the screws will interfere with the lamppost.
A "shank hole" and "pilot hole" refer to different diameters serving different purposes. The 3/16-in shank hole is wide enough for the screw shank -- the smooth part -- to grip loosely and move through the back with little resistance, the 1/8-in pilot holes are sized for the #10 screw threads to grip wood firmly into the front without splitting it. The wedge shape of the screw head in the back and the grip of the threads in the pilot hole in the front act like a clamp and draw the parts together.
Glue and clamp the front (B) centered against the back.
Allowing the glue to set before diving a screw will ensure the parts do not move when the screws twist into the fibers of the wood. The key is to apply just a few beads of glue for a bond, but not so much glue that the parts want to slide all over.
Use the shank holes to drill 1/8-in pilot holes in the base front using an extra-long bit (Photo 1). Allow the glue to dry for one hour, then drive the screws though the shank holes into the front (Project Diagram, Drawing 3).
Use a 15/16-in spade bit to drill a hole into the back (A) for the conduit lamppost. Use a square to help you hold the drill and bit vertical; drill the hole 2-in deep (Project Diagram, Drawing 3 and Photo 2) for the lamppost � attach a length of painter's tape to your bit to help you drill to the proper depth. Then glue and clamp the three base feet (C) in place. Inset the feet 1/2 inch from the ends of the front and back and centered on the width.
Smooth the assembled base with 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper and lightly sand over any sharp edges using 180-grit sandpaper. Wipe clean and apply a coat of primer. Sand smooth with 220-grit sandpaper and apply two coats of paint (we used Valspar Signature in Kiwi Splash).
Cut the shade sides (D), top (E) and one end (F) to length (Project Diagram, Cutting List). Mark the length of the remaining end and the bottom (G) on each end of a 12-in long board (Project Diagram, Drawing 5 and 6). Drill a 5/16" hole as shown for the T-nut in the end, and then cut the end to length. Set the remainder of the board aside. Hammer a T-nut into the hole (Photo 3).
Glue the ends to the top with the ends and edges flush. To drill the holes through the shade parts for the lamppost, (Project Diagram, Drawing 5 and 6), stack and clamp the blank containing the rough length board containing the shade bottom (G) on the shade top (E) with the edges flush and against one end (Photo 4) and drill the 15/16-in hole through both parts. Drilling the two holes at the same time will help keep the holes aligned and allow the lamppost to slide through easily. Remove the bottom blank, drill the lamp cord hole through the bottom, and cut the part to final length.
Glue and clamp the bottom to the end with the T-nut and attach the sides to form the light housing (Photo 5).
Sand the shade smooth and wipe clean. Lightly sand the button cap that will go on top of the lamp pole. Apply primer to the inside and outside of the shade and to the cap, let dry, and smooth with 220-grit sandpaper. For the inside of the shade mask off the inside surfaces and apply a white gloss spray paint. Now apply two coats of paint to the outside surfaces of the shade and to the button.
Thread one end of the lamp cord through the hole in the shade bottom (G) and wire it to the LED light according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Position the LED light (Photo 6) centered between the shade sides (D) and against the shade end (F) opposite the shade bottom (G). Screw it in place and test it.
Cut a piece of 3/4-in EMT conduit to length for the lamppost and file off any burrs around the outside. Use 220-grit sandpaper to create a brushed finish along the length of the pipe and remove any factory printing. Wipe clean with mineral spirits.
At one end of the conduit, apply clear silicone sealant around the inside of the hole and push the painted wood button in place.
To paint small objects, twist the items by hand onto the tip of a screw that has been driven through a scrap (Photo 8).
Add silicone sealant in the hole in the base back (A) and insert the conduit lamppost until it's firmly seated. Slip the shade onto the conduit and adjust it to the height you want. Thread the thumb screw into the T-nut and tighten against the lamppost.
If desired, add an in-line switch to the lamp cord or install a remote switch. Then position the completed lamp beside your favorite chair, adjust the height, wrap the cord around the conduit and switch it on. Now you can save energy while you catch up on your reading!