How To: Rewiring A Lamp

When my parents moved my grandma into an assisted living facility, my mom asked me if I wanted anything from grandma’s house. I told her that I only wanted her vintage fire extinguisher lamps. Dad promptly sent them to me (used light bulbs and all), and I immediately decided they were long overdue for a rewiring. I am not entirely sure how long my grandparents had these lamps, but I do know they are older than me. The wiring and outlet plug also looks old as well.

Another thing that bothered me was the 2 lamp harps didn’t match. I found new make-a-lamp kits at Home Depot, I know Lowes, as well as Amazon, sell them. Wherever you purchase your kit, just make sure the kit includes the light socket and cord set. Anything else isn’t necessary.

Other tools that come in handy are pliers, screwdriver, wire cutters, and halfway into the project I also learned that wire strippers were convenient as well. Before you can replace with the new lamp socket, you must first remove the old one.

This first step is VITAL…………..make sure the lamp has been UNPLUGGED before doing any work on it. I know, I know…this should go without saying, but there are plenty of individuals out there who would not even think to disconnect the lamp from its electricity source…AND I will not be liable for any possible ER trips.

Take Lamp Apart for Rewiring
Image borrowed from HGTV

After disconnecting the lamp from its electricity source, take a screwdriver and pry the old sleeve off. Underneath you will see the two wire ends that connect power to the socket.

Check Ends of Lamp Wires
Image borrowed from HGTV

Cut the ends of the wire off and pull the cord out of the lamp. Slide the new cord through the lamp until it is out of the top of the lamp. Split the wire into two and strip the ends of each wire about a half-inch from the end so the wire is exposed. Now tie the two-wire halves in a knot. This is called the underwriter know and helps secure the wire so it doesn’t slip apart after it is rewired.

Secure Lamp Pieces
Image borrowed from HGTV

Take the two exposed wire ends and wrap one around each screw on the underside of the sleeve. One is the neutral conductor (the silver-toned screw) and the other is the hot conductor (the brass-toned screw). Secure the screws with the exposed wire wrapped around them. Slide the sleeve back into place and plug in the lamp, screw in a light bulb and turn on the lamp.

These directions could easily be followed to turn just about anything into a lamp…such as vintage fire extinguishers. In all, it took me about 30 minutes to complete, including troubleshooting. I only did one lamp, but now that I have made the typical mistakes, I am sure rewiring the second lamp would take less time.

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