Angie's How To Rewire a Thrift Store Lamp

Date Published: Oct. 7, 2014
by:

Difficulty:20%
Time: 45 Minutes

Featured author: Carrie Waller is a writer, designer, stylist and blogger for Dream Green DIY living in Lynchburg, Virginia with her husband, John. With a background in studio art & art history, Carrie is always eager to soak up the newest home design trends. 

As a purveyor of thrift store treasures, I tend to come home with pieces that need a whole lot of love and attention—from furniture in desperate need of refinishing, to art that could stand to get reframed. My most recent purchase involved a vintage lamp that, happily, sported a beautiful brass finish, but unhappily, came with a broken plug. The good news is that it was nothing that a little TLC and DIY action couldn't fix. Read on to learn how you, too, can rewire a secondhand lamp to make good as new!

Tools & Materials Needed 
Second hand lamp
Screwdriver
Lamp socket
Electrical wire
Non-polarized plug
Wire stripper
1Discard the old socket.

Loosen the set screw on the socket at the top of the lamp, then unthread the socket entirely. To separate from the lamp, you'll need to loosen the terminal screws and remove the wires. After that, you can pull the wire out through the bottom of the base of the lamp. You may need to remove the cover on the underside of your lamp to access the wire output depending on the design of your lamp. Finish by pulling the lamp shade harp off of the lamp.

2Cut off old plug.

Use a pair of wire cutters or a wire stripper to cut off the old plug. To do so, simply snip right through the wire at the base of the old plug. As long as you have inspected the original wire thoroughly (tip to tip) and don't see any damage, it's okay to reuse. But if you see any cuts or exposed wires, discard and use a new wire. In our case, we were able to reuse the original wire after cutting off the broken plug.

3Rethread the wire.

Lift your lamp base and slip your new or refurbished wire into the opening. Push up through the base until the wire comes out through the top of the lamp.

4Prepare new wire.

Next, use your finger tips to gently pull the two sides of the wire apart, and then use a wire stripper to strip insulation about half an inch from the ends of both wires. Then, use your finger tips to twist the exposed wire to prevent fraying.

5Attach new socket.

Separate the halves of your new socket. Slip the now-prepared wires through the new socket base and thread it onto the lamp. Tighten the set screw to secure.

6Attach wires to new socket.

Grab the top half of your socket for rewiring. Run your fingers over your wire—one side should be ribbed, while the other is smooth. Loop the smooth wire around the gold screw and tighten. Then, wrap the ribbed wire around the silver screw and tighten. Bending your exposed wires into a hooked shape beforehand will make this step easier to complete.

7Connect the socket.

Pull the excess wire out of the bottom of the lamp base as you simultaneously push the top half of the socket onto the bottom half. They should slip together with a bit of wiggling.

8Wire new plug.

Loosen the set screw in your new plug to open. Next, repeat the same process used on the top end of the lamp—the smooth wire is exposed, twisted and screwed around the gold screw, while the ribbed wire is exposed, twisted and screwed around the silver screw.

9Close up new plug.

Ensure that the wires are separated around the set screw in the plug and then close the plug around the wire. Tighten the set screw in the plug to finish.

10Plug it in.

Add a light bulb to the lamp, reattach the harp and lampshade and plug your lamp into an outlet to test—and ultimately enjoy!

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DISCLAIMER: The content of this how-to consists of my own personal opinions and experience. Always contact a professional electrician if you have questions/concerns. Complete the process at your own risk and always use common sense to maintain your own safety and that of your home!

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