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Tips and Techniques For  Do-It-Yourself Lighting Project

For over 25 years we've been in the Lamp and Lighting Restoration and Repair Business. During that time we've had the pleasure of updating, rewiring and restoring hundreds of  pieces of lighting for our local customers.  We've also helped a growing number of customers find the right Lighting Supplies for their home Do-It-Yourself  projects and repairs as well as offering a few tips and techniques on how to get the job done.And now, for our On-Line customers, we've included this page to offer a few of these Tips & Techniques as well. However, if you still aren't  sure what part you need or have  questions about your particular lighting project, feel free to send us an email at or give us a call at: 

(864) 314-8416.

Is Your Socket Safe?                 

A faulty lamp sockets can be very s. Incandescent light bulbs generate a lot of heat, much of which is transferred to the socket itself. Over time, and with repeated use, this can lead to a faulty socket.  If your socket looks like the one on the right, IT IS NOT SAFE! Replacing an old socket with a New Socket is easy to do and will give you peace of mind from a safety standpoint.

About Wiring

If you are rewiring a lamp or chandelier, you will need to use an 18/2, SPT 1 cord.  This is an 18 gage wire with 2 cords inside a plastic sheath. An SPT 1 wire is a little slimmer and slicker than an SPT 2, making it easier to snake through slender arms of chandeliers. This is usually sold by the foot or in precut rolls at most hardware stores. When attaching the cord to a new socket, make certain that the "hot" wire (which is usually black or red) is connected to the brass colored terminal post (brass colored screw head) on the socket. Also, make certain that the "neutral" wire (which is usually white or has a white stripe) is connected to the silver terminal post (silver colored screw head) on the socket. Cords that are the same color will usually have a ribbed indentation on the "neutral leg" of the cord. Be sure to wrap the cord clockwise around the terminal post, which will turn in the same direction when tightened


Canopy Variations

A Canopy is the round plate at the top of a chain, cord or tubing of a light fixture that mounts to the ceiling and covers the electrical junction box. While there are some exceptions, most canopies will be of one or two styles.

The canopy  pictured above has a Screw Collar in the center.  The chain from the chandelier or pendant light connects to the screw collar from the bottom.  The screw collar is threaded on the outside so that when the collar is tightened, the canopy will fit snugly to the ceiling. The inside of the screw collar is also threaded so that a small threaded metal rod (known as a "threaded nipple")  can be inserted. This threaded nipple is then connected to a cross bar that, in turn, screws into the electrical junction box. 

 The Canopy  pictured here is made and mounted just a little bit differently. In addition to having a hole in the center, it also has two smaller holes on each side of the larger one.  While the chain is still attached to a loop (similar to the screw collar) it does not have a threaded nipple. Instead, the canopy is attached to the cross bar (referred to in the illustration below as a "fixture strap") with 2 screws. It should be noted however, that the two screws should first be inserted from the top of the crossbar and then down,  through the canopy (instead of the way they are pictured below). This way, instead of the head of a screw showing, a decorative cap nut can be placed on the threaded end of the two screws used to mount the canopy onto the crossbar.   

Making a Pendant Light                              

How to Replace and Measure Candle Covers

Replacing dirty or unattractive candle covers is an easy and relatively

 inexpensive way to really dress up a lamp or Chandelier.

The first thing you want to remember before attempting to fit or replace a candle cover or any of the parts on a lamp or fixture is that you must always disconnect (unplug) the lamp or fixture from any source of electricity before removing the cover or insulator. Simply turning the lamp “off” will not protect you from an electrical shock.

The second thing you want to remember when attempting to fit or replace a candle cover on a lamp is that you must always plan to include the U.L. listed cardboard insulator that covers the socket terminals (see Fig. 1). Failure to include the insulator may create an electrical hazard.

If the cardboard insulator is worn or brittle from age, please see our "Lighting Supplies" page for a replacement . If the wiring or socket appears damaged in any way you will probably want to replace the socket and all of the wiring connected to the socket.

Do not re-connect to electricity any lamp or fixture with a damaged wire or damaged lamp socket.

The next thing to do when replacing a decorative candle cover is to determine the correct candle cover size for your lamp. To do so you must carefully measure for the correct diameter and length.

Remember, before you measure for the socket diameter you must first install the cardboard insulator and measure the outside diameter of the lamp socket with the insulator attached (see Fig. 2). 

This Socket has an outside diameter, including the cardboard insulator, of 3/4” and will probably require a “candelabra” size candle cover with an inside diameter in the range of 3/4” to 7/8” (see Fig. 3)

If the outside diameter of the socket is in the range of 1 1/8” or 1 1/4”, then your socket is probably a standard size and will require a standard size candle cover with an inside diameter of 1 1/4” to possibly 1 3/16” (see Fig. 4).

You will, of course, want to estimate the height of the candle cover that you require before you order. Often, candle covers are manufactured in height increments of 2”. In the event that your height requirement is, say 5 1/2”, you may carefully trim the base of a 6” cover to create a cover of the appropriate height.


If, after measuring your candle covers, you find that the new ones that you have chosen don't come in the exact size that you need, don't worry. All of our candle covers can be trimmed to fit your socket. Just choose a size that is slightly longer than you need and use a sharp serrated knife, hack saw, scroll saw or rotary tool with a cutting wheel and trim to the exact size you need. 


This Fiber Paper Candle Cover was cut on our Scroll Saw.