a long time ago (like a year?), pierre mentioned one of his colleagues was in possession of an old-school survey stand that seemed to be doing nothing important in the guy’s office. pierre made some inquiries, and turned out all the guy cared about was the camera mounted to it, and he told pierre he was welcome to the tripod base. pierre brought the survey stand home a few weeks ago, and we decided to turn it into a reading lamp for our basement.

oh, electrical. you always get the best of me.

i love light fixtures — especially unique or refurbished ones. (read: not straightforward.) unfortunately, the total sum of my experience with lighting is making encouraging noises while pierre does science-y things like ground wires, complete circuits, and conduct electricity. oh, and i made these lights. somehow. it was a miracle and involved parts ordered off the internet.

but i went very confidently to home depot this morning, and definitely impressed a young guy named “ian” with my electrical know-how. i accidentally let him sell me 28′ of the wrong wire, which then led to an hour of frustration, two bleeding fingers, and pierre having to return it all while i sulked.

my toolbox, above:

  1. ipad — cued to 8 minute video: how to wire a lamp socket
  2. scissors
  3. needle-nose pliers
  4. washers
  5. rubber glove
  6. screwdriver
  7. 60w globe light
  8. chisel????
  9. exact-o knife (so many cutting instruments!)


i was sold a 12 gauge wire — that’s overkill — and then a socket and plug that would accept, at most, an 18 gauge wire (pictured — i got there eventually). i spent a very long time attempting to thread the 12 gauge wire through the bottom of the socket (rubber gloves, needle-nose pliers, scissors, exact-o knife), then a very long time trying to wrap exposed wire around the socket screws. but not before several attempts at removing the insulation, very frustrated at my inability to “not sever the white wire” before realizing the white wire was just a stripe painted onto the insulation to tell me which wire was “hot” and which was not.


with the socket somewhat wired, i turned very belatedly to the plug, realized there was absolutely no way this wire was going to thread through a tiny plug hole, disassembled the whole thing, and sat down in a huff. pierre took the wire back to the store and came home with the right stuff, then kicked me out and put the whole thing together himself in about the time it takes to watch a short video called how to wire a lamp socket.


as far as electrical projects go, it was one of our bigger successes. so globe-y. i like it.


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