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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Valence Project ~ Light Fixtures

Hey! You know what this lighting valence needs? How about some lights!

I have been puzzling for some time now with how exactly I was going to install lights into this thing. I mean, lights are one of the major reasons for building this lighting valence in the first place after all.
One major stumbling block is that I'm not a certified electrician. The highest voltages I have ever dealt with is about 15VDC, you know, model railroad motors and whatnot. So its with some intrepidation that I design and build a 110V layout lighting system.

I'm interested in using the round bulbs that were popular with the old wooden streetcars and carousels during the early 20th century. But my walls and ceiling don't have space for wiring inside because, well, there isn't any inside. Just 1/2" plywood at best. I looked into using white, round bulbed Christmas lights. Just attach them to the ceiling and plug them in. Easy enough. But it just lacks that elegance I'm looking for. So I looked at how they were constructed and then headed off to the store to see what I could find.

 After MacGyvering my way through various home improvement stores, this is what I have come up with.

 I found a plastic candelabra cleat and the round bulbs that come in the candelabra size which is about the right size for this project. But the wiring is exposed, which doesn't seem like a good idea to me. So mounting the cleat directly to the valence out. I need some sort of housing for the cleat.

 A brass doorknob back plate! Looks like the stem of the cleat will slip right through the hole. But it didn't. I had to grind off about 1/16" with the Dremel tool. Then to close off the bottom... a sliding wardrobe door  brass pull! And here is how it all went together all nice and neat:

1. Wardrobe door pull. 2. Candelabra cleat. 3. Doorknob Back Plate. 4. Bulb.

The base is constructed of 2.5"x.25" trim wood and .75"x.75" angle trim from the moulding dept.

Then a hole was drilled to accommodate the light fixture.
Here is the completed lighting assemblies. The spacing of the bulbs coincide with the clerestory windows. Now all that's needed is wood treatment, staining and varnishing. And...

Wow! You would think I knew what I was doing or something. Now all that"s left is somehow wiring all this up in a safe and appealing way. But so far its looking just fine. Sure beats Christmas lights. Yes sir! Sure beats Christmas lights!