I have made several different lights so far, mainly table lights but also the odd freestanding one.

I make these out of reclaimed items and leftover bits from other jobs. Most of the actual light fittings come from charity shops (the screwed tubes are quite hard to get hold of in small quantities) and I discard the unwanted parts.

The freestanding light I made from a £10 camera tripod from a local charity shop, this is the one I will describe first:

Tripod Light:

Having obtained a tripod quite by chance and with no planned outcome Idecided to convert it as I had a suitable lampholders with a long lead spare.

I decided to leave the top adjustment (glad I did!) so just removed the camera mount.

I then cut off the top of the tube to give me a suitable size hole for the lamp holder – I used an old one designed to fit in a bottle but even a standard one can be adapted by drilling the base out and inserting a short piece of tube, a wine making cork can be installed over this and into the tube.

The wire was removed from the lampholder, passed though a suitable tube sized grommet and fed upwards through the tube.

The grommet was located in the base of the tube, the lampholder was re-connected and the lampholder glued into place with high modulous silicone sealer in the top of the tube.

After the sealer had set (couple of days), I installed a suitable bulb and shade to give the finished job:

The light is shown here in the fully raised position but can be lowered to approximately half that. Total cost for this one was less than £15.

Most of the table lights I have made involve wood in some form, generally unusable offcuts. One I made was from a short branch offcut saved after chain sawing firewood and two others from a hunk of Lakeland slate that had been in my garden for the last twenty years or more.

Wedge Lights:

My favourites are a pair that I made from a left over block of oak we found while exploring a sawmill.

This block was about 200mm square and 250mm high so I marked about two thirds of the way across one of the smaller faces and then chainsawed it slightly diagonally to the bottom face to makeover matching wedge shaped pieces.

I drilled vertically upwards from the wider base of each one with a long 13mm wood bit until I was about 50mm from the top, then switched to a 10mm drill for the last bit. This gave me the correct diameter for two existing tubes that I had from old lights, and a bigger diameter to enable easier feeding of the wire.

I drilled in from the lower back at about 30 degrees upwards with the 13 mm drill until I met the vertical hole.

The tubes were glued into the top and left to set.

The blocks were lightly sanded and wire brushed to give a rustic finish and then the whole lot sealed with Polix Oil (used for hardwood flooring).

After a few coats and letting it dry thoroughly I fed in the wires from the base and screwed on threaded lamp holders.

Total labour time was about two hours for the pair and the cost was minimal as I already had the light fittings and shades.

Incidentaly the tables these lights are on are two I made for each side of the original bed, these will eventually feature on the tables page. They just use up one short scaffolding plank offcut said.

Slate Lights:

These were made because I needed to either use or throw away a large piece of Lakeland slate.

I employed my trusty big grinder with a diamond disc to cut the big chunk into smaller ones, even these smaller ones were deemed too heavy by my wife to move when cleaning so I cut them in half again.

The intention was to have some cut or partially cut faces and some more natural ones, so Iacked away at two blocks until perfection  was achieved   they looked more or less OK and they were stable on a flat surface.

Using a 10mm masonry drill, I drilled centrally from the top right through the blocks.  A groove to hold the wire was cut and chiselled from the hole in the base to the rear face in each.

After a good cleanup I glued the lampholder tubes in place (just a good quality wood glue, it’s been fine!), brushed the slate blocks with slate oil and left them to set

When everything was dry I installed the wires from the base, wired up the lampholders and installed them both before testing.

My final touch was to glue a felt base to each one, to prevent scratching and to hold the wires in the grooves.

photo to follow…

I have made several more lights since and currently have a pair under construction. The construction details are mostly very similar, so Iwill just show some photos to give ideas.

Old branch offcut light


Table leg offcut light


Spare random blocks light – use your imagination at the moment for this!




Author: trebor

I am a retired engineer who likes to keep busy with various projects. I am married with two grown up children and live in Yorkshire the north of England and have lived in my present house since 1978.

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