I snatched this antique lamp from my great uncles house. I replaced the old shade and stuck it on my bedside table. My bedside table has seen a heavy rotation of lamps over the past 6 months.
It actually works fine. Someone, I’m assuming my great uncle, had done some sketchy rewiring and splicing in order to extend the length of the cord. I can’t turn the lamp on from its switch. So basically, I have to plug it into the outlet anytime I want to turn it on. This whole scene made me a bit nervous.
A few weeks ago, we replaced our bedside lamps with wall sconces, so I almost tossed the antique lamp (and by toss I mean put in the basement with all the other furniture I’m currently hoarding). But, during some furniture rearranging, I fell in love with it in another spot in our bedroom — I’m a sucker for lamp light. The problem was that the outlet is behind a large storage bench, which makes my old standby of plugging it in to turn it on a real pain in the butt. So, it was time to rewire that bad boy. Of course convenience (forget safety) was what finally pushed me over the edge. **Please remember that I am not an electrician. If you have any questions or issues, refer to a professional 🙂
Now, every lamp is a little different, but for the most part these steps are universal and it’s waaaaaay easier than you think! You can get a full lamp kit from your local big box home improvement store, but if you only need a few single parts, you’ll save a lot of money. All I needed was a new cord and a light socket, so that’s what I purchased.
Turn your lamp over and look for the nut that connects the base to the cord pipe. The cord passes through this nut holding the pipe through which the cord passes. You may need to pry off the bottom cover. My lamp just had a piece of felt fabric that was glued to the bottom edges. Unscrew the nut and pull the pipe and cord out gently.
I’m sure your lamp is unplugged, but if it’s not make sure it’s unplugged for this next step 😉 Cut the old cord. In most cases, you won’t be able to get the cord out of the lamp until you cut it.
Now unscrew your old lamp socket from the lamp. If your lamp has additional nuts, bolts or a harp, be sure to keep each piece in order so you can put it all back together the correct way. Pull the socket and lamp out through the pipe. Discard.
Lace your new cord up through the base of the lamp and up through the pipe until it pokes out at the top.
Split top 2 inches of cord jacket off new cord. If necessary, strip 1/2″ of insulation off wire ends (mine were already exposed) and twist wires into small hooks. This will make it easier to connect them to the terminals.
If you’re using a harp, you’ll need to put that back on now. Make sure to add any additional nuts and bolts in the order you removed them, making sure to lace your new wires up through them. remember a lamp is only the sum of its parts (#dadjoke).
Remove the socket cap from the base of your new light socket and lace your wires up through the bottom.
Tie your split wires into an “Underwriter’s knot” — the underwriters knot will keep the cords from slipping inside the socket and cap. Screw your socket cap into the neck of your lamp.
Slide the insulating sleeve up to reveal your socket terminals. Hook your wires around the screws and then tighten them. Slide the insulating sleeve back down over the socket and switch and click the unit back into the socket cap.
Now tighten the nut at the bottom of your lamp and all other nuts and bolts on the neck. Replace your lamp shade and turn your new lamp on!