Walnut Baluster Lamps

Categories: DIY Projects, LampsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Alberto and I went to a salvage yard in Barnegat, NJ a couple of weeks ago. I love salvage yards because you’re only limited by your imagination. They always have lots of great stuff, and the owners are usually willing to negotiate on the price. This time around we actually saw a big concrete relief of Daffy and Porky Pig dressed as Sherlock Holmes and Watson with a title of “Mystery.” I wish we had a yard big enough for a garden so that we could make that the centerpiece! (Alberto disagrees)

Anyhow…as we were walking through old doors, vintage rod iron pieces, porcelain tubs and sinks, we ran across a few walnut wood balusters. They were square with simple but very classic ornamentation.  Alberto and I both looked at each other with the same idea.  LAMPS!  We bought two of them, and now they make the perfect addition to our bedroom!

Here’s what we used to make the lamps:

  • Two wooden balusters
  • Two 6×6 marble tiles
  • Cabinet door stops
  • Two wood screws with washers
  • Two lamp kits
  • Two lamp shades
  • Clear Polyurethane sealant

This is what we needed to put it together:

  • Drill and drill bits
  • Screw driver (and a cordless screw driver if you have one, but it’s not necessary)
  • Electrical tape
  • Paint brush
  • Fine grade steel wool
  • Wood glue

Let’s make baluster lamps!

  • First, we had to clean the balusters.  They’ve been sitting outside and were full of dirt. We used a very fine grade steel wool.
  • Starting at the top of the baluster, measure and make a mark in the center of the top.
  • Next using a 3/4-inch drill bit, drill a hole about 1-inch deep into the baluster.
  • Next use a 3/16-inch drill bit, and drill a hole at an angle toward the back of the baluster until you break through.

Time to do the bottom!

  • Brush the high gloss clear polyurethane on the edges of the marble tile.  Since the marble tile we chose was meant to be installed on walls, the polyurethane will make the edges look finished.
  • Next measure the tile, and draw a line down the center. Calculate the width of the bottom of the baluster, and determine where to screw the base into the bottom of the baluster.  Generally, you’ll want the screws to be about 1-inch in from either side. Measure again and mark the tile at the same place as you measured on the bottom of the baluster.
  • Using a carbide drill bit, drill two 3/8-inch holes in the tile.

  • Going back to the baluster, measure the depth of the bottom, and draw a line down the middle lengthwise.
  • Next, place the tile on the bottom of the baluster, and make pencil marks in the holes that you drilled.
  • Using a 3/8-inch drill bit, drill holes where the marks meet the center line.  Pre-drilling holes for the screws helps to ensure that you won’t split the wood.

  • Screw the marble tile to the baluster.  I used a washer between the screw and the marble to ensure that we don’t break the marble.

Cocktail Break!

So the Oscars were upon us last night, and we’re craving something a little decadent. Alberto has just the thing: a Hibiscus Margarita!  It was very, VERY good, and perfect for the red carpet! We raced to finish the lamps so that we can sit down to watch the Oscars (and have another Hisbiscus Margarita!)

Light at the end of the tunnel!

  • Screw the nipple into the rubber lamp adapter. We wrapped the adapter in electrical tape to ensure a tighter fit.
  • Thread the electric cord through the angled hole in the back.
  • Spread wood glue around the 3/4-inch hole in the top and thread the nipple over the cord, and press the adapter into the hole.
  • Complete the assembly of the lamp kit components and just add light bulbs and a shade, and you’re done!!

We LOVE these lamps.  I knew they’d look good, but I didn’t even expect that they’d look this great.  This project was so simple, and the lamps make a great impression in the room!


2 Responses to Walnut Baluster Lamps

  1. andi knight collins says:

    omg-ness! this is soooooo cool? so, you make something crafty and then provide a how to? thank you! i am handy but not very creative….. dang, i miss you brent.

  2. click here says:

    i want to get one


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