This project was inspired by a fun DIY post we saw here. (We are not professional electricians and highly recommend buying a lamp kit like this one if you're not familiar with wiring. We also took a gander at Martha Stewart's safety tips for rewiring a lamp—you can read more here.)
Five Safety Tips from Martha
1. Always unplug a lamp before working on it.
2. Use only tools with insulated handles
3.Use light bulbs that are the proper wattage for your lamp or light fixture.
4. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Wear rubber-soled shoes when making electrical repairs.
5. Loop wires clockwise around terminal screws; this will keep the wires from coming off as the screws are tightened.
At Dunn Lumber we stock two different kinds of douglas fir: a green-cut and a clear vertical grain. If you're not sure what the difference is, take a look at our blog on the subject. Either can be used for this project; you'll just end up with two different looks at the end. There is though a third option, which happens to be the one we used. We special-ordered a kiln-dried douglas fir block. The quality (and therefore the price) lands right in between the two in-store options, and has those nice square edges of the clear grain which we love. If you want to special-order your own block, any Dunn Lumber employee will be able to help you.
Begin by using a 1 1/2 " drill bit to drill a hole in your block of wood. The hole will need to be deep enough to hold the light socket. We drilled our hole 3 inches deep and used a piece of tape on our drill bit to help keep track of the depth.
Next, grab a 5/8" drill bit. Measure 2 1/2 inches from the top of your block and drill a hole. you'll want the hole to reach into the other hole you drilled using the other bit.
Now, it's time to sand. Make sure you sand both holes so they are smooth and won't catch on any wiring.
Next, it's time to wire the lamp. Again, if you're not comfortable with wiring the lamp, buy a kit! And whether you've done it before or not, take a moment and reread these safety tips! Some cords have two wires and some have three. The third wire is the grounded wire. We used a cord with two wires, but make sure you match it to the number of wires in your light socket.
First, you'll need to take off the insulation plastic. You can gently use a pair of scissors to strip of the white outer case. Expose about 1 1/2" of the inner wires (these will still be wrapped in plastic). Next you'll need to strip the wires so the copper is exposed. Use a pair of wire strippers to cut off the plastic casing. You'll need to expose about 1/2" of copper.
You'll be connecting the wires from the cord with the light socket wires. Pair the wires together (believe it or not, but matching colors isn't actually important!) and twist a wire nut over the ends to connect them safely and securely. Make sure all the exposed copper has been hidden inside the plastic nut.
Alright! Now it's time to thread the other end of the cord through your block of wood and secure the socket in place.
First, detach the plug casing and thread it onto the wire. You'll attach it after you've secured the wires, but if it's not already on the cord you'll be in trouble. Now you'll attach the wires to the plug. With a screwdriver, loosen the screws on the plug. Twist together the copper wires to keep them together, and wrap around each of the screws in a clockwise direction. Tighten the screws, making sure all the little wires are tucked in. (This may take a couple tries.) Finish by snapping the plug casing back into place.
Now, screw in your bulb and enjoy the light!