Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hot and Neutral

Yesterday I posted photos of my salvaged pink hanging light. It needed a cleaning, paint stripped off the metal (why do people just paint over light bases when they paint their ceilings anyway?), and new wiring.

I took the light apart and started cleaning. Then made a few calls and located a small vintage lamp repair shop called The Lamp Mender (in Bloomington 9911 Lyndale Ave S.) that sold cloth covered wire. I went with the black cloth. I managed to replace the wiring (I think) and add a grounding wire (I think).  It took me a long while to see the oh-so-light markings on the cloth that indicated the neutral vs hot wires...and then an equal amount of time to try to figure out which was the "brass" screw on the socket.

After stripping the remaining white paint off of the base, I decided to protect the metal with 3-in-One oil. I used the same approach on my kitchen hardware after I cleaned it. I hope that the oil will allow the metal to develop a nice patina.....right now it gives it a nice glow.

After some debate, I decided to paint the socket cover. It was originally a very light pink and the paint I used closely matches the original color. I cleaned the chain, but left the patina. For whatever reason, my house attracts pieces with mixed metals - the base on this light is steel, the chain is brass.

The next photos of this light you see it will be (hopefully) hanging in my bedroom. It looks a lot more impressive with the pink, three chain, glass shade.


Ryan said...

I have a really similar light fixture that I have yet to refinish. The wiring on mine was still in good condition, so I had it up (in a previous apartment) for 2 years. The ceiling plate on mine is also steel but has an original white/cream paint finish. it is all chipped so I should take the thing apart, rewire and repaint too.

Amy said...

Can't wait to see the photo of this hanging in your room.

I'm about to do my first rewiring project too, but it's a floor lamp. Was it scary when you first hooked it up?

StuccoHouse said...

Ryan - It was surprisingly easy to do and looks a lot better.

Amy - I'll try to get it hanging soon. Rewiring was very easy. This light only has one socket. The biggest challenge I had was trying to figure out how the cloth covered wire worked (both wires were embedded in the cloth)...and then which was hot & which was neutral. Then which was the "brass" hot screw and which wasn't (I have my figures crossed that I got that one right). This Lamp Mender owners were very helpful and pretty much talked me through things.

I know anyone that anyone that rewires lamps regularly is probably chuckling. But, in my defense, anything electrical makes me nervous.

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