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Lighting Design/Build Hardwired Pendant Light


QUESTION: Hello Tony!

I would like to build a vintage style pendant light to hang from an existing junction box.

Here is an example (except this is a swag wall plug-in):

The junction box is metal and has 3 wires, hot, neutral, and grounded.

I found a website that sells the vintage style parts I want but I'm unsure which cord and socket to get.

Do I need a grounded socket?
Or should I use a lamp socket? (I assume they don't have a place to secure the grounded wire)

I want the vintage style twisted wire.
Do need the 18/2 or 18/3?

Thank you,

ANSWER: you need to use 2 wire black and white in the box and attach the green to the box. you then can use an 18/2 wire to hang the socket.
some sockets with switches have a place for the green wire. so buy the socket first and check it out. then proceed with a 3wire cable.
good luck
Tony c

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply, Tony!  I'm very nervous about building my own, I realize the dangers, and I can't thank you enough for your guidance.

Let me make sure I've got this right and clear up a few more things with some questions.

1) Attach the ground wire (green) from the junction box to the pendant mount cross bracket that is attached to the junction box.

2) Connect the neutral (white) wires together. 18/2 wire to junction wire.

3) Connect the hot (black) wire together. 18/2 wire to junction wire.

4) Connect 18/2 wires to socket. Black wire to brass screw and white wire to chrome screw.

HOWEVER, if my socket is grounded, then I need a 18/3?

After connecting the 18/3 to the appropriate socket points, then what would you do with the ground wire in the 18/3 at the junction box? Does the 18/3 ground attach to the junction's ground? Or do I just cap the 18/3 wire?

p.s. I have no affiliation with
As a matter of fact I'm a little put off with them because I wrote to ask if they would make sure the parts I planned on ordering would all be compatible.  They told me they don't offer project consultation. Maybe they are worried about liability or perhaps my small order is of no consequence to them.

Thank you again Tony!

1 Correct
2 correct
3 correct
4 correct
I was looking at those sockets they are not grounded and even with a switch they wont need a three wire so forget it all together.

So when you connect the green wire to the junction box really does nothing for you at the socket, this is the way it is supposed to work. not everything is grounded in the world.

go to
this is mfr that has been around forever. they have just what you want to build. they do use a Covered cord instead of individual wires. type of cord is called an "SO"
Tony Carango

Lighting Design

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Tony Carango


i can answer all kinds of lighting questions but for stage lighting


i have 40 years in the business of architectural lighting design and am a Certified Lighting Designer

International Assoc of Lighting Designers, Illuminating Eng Society of North America

i have been an instructor of interior lighting at Arcadia University for about 16 years, I also gave a course for Drexel University, as weel as being a guest speaker at Various seminares for energy efficiency.

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