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Hi Jamie,

I want to build two lamps from some table legs that I found and want to make sure I am on the right track.  I plan to cut the legs to the length I want and build a wooded base.  I have a 3/8 drill bit long enough to drill a hole through the leg.

I guess I need to the know the basics from there.  How do I connect the electrical fixture to the wood?  What are the parts and sizes I need?  I have all the wood tools I need, I just don't know anything about installing the hardware to the wood.

I know this should be fairly simple but I want to order the stuff online and not sure what I need.


lamp diagram
lamp diagram  
Hi Chris,

Lamps are really easy to make, and when you buy a lamp kit - it will come with instructions on how to wire it. I buy my lamp kits at Lowe's. They sell two types - make sure you don't buy the one that's made for making a lamp out of a bottle. Buy the other kind. Also, Ace Hardware sells lamp parts, and I like those better, because they are a higher-quality. But if you buy it at Ace Hardware, you might have to buy the parts individually.

There are a lot of good diagrams available online for how to wire a lamp. Honestly – it's so simple that a 12-year-old could do it. Just Google " lamp wiring diagram" and you'll see what I mean. I'm attaching an image - notice  the threaded rod coming up out of the lamp itself, at the very bottom. That is the key.

That said - there are only two parts that are hard to making a lamp - and both of those things are something that you're going to be dealing with.

The first thing is drilling a hole all the way through the wood. Even though you have a 3/8" bit long enough to go through it, getting it to drill in the right place can be tricky. What I recommend you do is start in the middle on one side of your table leg and drill about half way through the wood. and then flip it over and drill halfway from the other end. If you're lucky they'll meet in the middle. It sounds much easier than it is to accomplish. The bit usually wants to follow the grain of the wood, so if the table leg wood has a severe slope to it, the bit will wander off course. Trust me, drilling long holes in wood is more difficult than it looks.

The second part that you have to do is have a 3/8" rod coming out of your wood.  And it needs to be securely attached to the wood. You only need about a half inch of it sticking out of the wood, but this can be difficult to accomplish. Some lamp makers run the threaded rod completely up through the hole they've drilled, but that means you have to drill a hole larger than 3/8" - it's more like 7/16".  However, I usually don't do that, it's a waste of threaded rod. So I figure out a way to attach the rod to the wood, leaving about a half inch sticking out of the top.

One way is to attach a wooden cap to the top of your table leg. It could be as thin as a quarter of an inch. That way you can run the threaded rod through the cap, fastening it with a thin nut on either side of the wood. Then attach the cap to your wooden table leg. Doing it like this means you only need about an inch long piece of threaded rod.

I don't recommend epoxying the threaded rod directly into the wooden table leg–it might loosen up overtime and your lamp will fall apart.

Okay I hope this helps, write back again if you need more help. But once you get your lamp kit, you'll have all the answers to these questions. Like I said– the only hard part is attaching that threaded rod to the wood. If you plan on making a cap for the top of your lamp, it will solve all of your problems.

Good luck,

Jamie in Vegas

Jamie Yocono
Wood It Is! Custom Cabinetry
Las Vegas, NV  

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Jamie Yocono


Woodworker, Furniture designer/builder, industrial arts educator. Bachelor degree in Furniture Design, and journeyman carpenter, with a 4 year apprenticeship. Currently owner of custom furniture/cabinet shop in Las Vegas, NV. Can answer most woodworking questions EXCEPT those regarding repairs, refinishing, and antiques.


Bachelor in Furniture Design - Ohio University (1980) Journeyman Carpenter, Local 639 Adult educator - Developed adult education woodworking program for the University of Akron, and taught classes there for 9 years. Opened a private woodworking school in Las Vegas, NV and teach private and semi-private lessons. In 2011, I will begin teaching UNLV woodworking classes at my school. Sweet!

Furniture Society

Tile Design and Installation Magazine (Article on inlaying tile into wood)

Journeyman Union Carpenter Bachelors degree in Furniture Design (Ohio University) College of Hard Knocks!

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