Thursday, October 3, 2013

DIY Brass Lindsay Adelman Chandelier - PART TWO

If you're just joining me on this chandelier journey from hell FunTown, this part TWO of THREE. (For the record, I'm kidding. Building this was way fun and relatively easy.) If you're just joining us, you can catch PART ONE right here, where we discussed the parts that you'll need to order and the tools that you'll need to put this beauty together:

Due to the sheer volume of photos (and the lack of electricity for great lighting), these photos are not as blog-worthy as I'd like. But I assure you that my iPhone pics will get you through this just fine. Jumping right in...

1. The first thing we had to do was deal with a rogue junction box in our ceiling. It was meant to hold up a ceiling fan, so there was a good 1.5" hanging down from the ceiling. No bueno; our ceiling canopy was nowhere near this deep. So we bought a shallower circular one at Lowe's and changed it out before we started building (this may not be an issue for you so we didn't put it in the parts list. If you need it, the link is HERE.)

2. Cat helpers always say they want to help but then they just lay down. Don't be fooled.

3. Here is a picture of our parts laid out. Wrinkled work sheet is optional, but my walnut tabletop was not about to get chandelier gouges in it. The complete parts and tool list can be found in PART ONE.

4. At this point you will want to basically do a test-run assembly of your chandelier before you get to any of the wiring. The assembly process took me all of three minutes; I knew what design I wanted and just pieced the individual components together until I found what worked. But you may want to take some time to play with the proportions and figure out where you want the arms to stick out. This part is very interpretive. It helps to have two sets of hands here, so one person can hold it up while the other person adjusts and tightens as necessary. This also helps ensure that the light is balanced correctly once the light is hanging on its own. I highly, highly recommend taking some pictures of this process so you don't forget your configuration when you disassemble it for the wiring.

4b. I'm serious--take pics of your configuration.

5. At this point you'll need to disassemble your chandelier so you can begin your wiring journey. I found it helpful, when possible, to keep the parts in my general desired shape, especially since those brass tubes are different lengths and there are just too many moving parts to keep everything straight. In hindsight I would maybe even consider a labeling system if you're so inclined, but we obviously did it without one.

At this point we start using our black and white wires to connect all the arms of the chandelier to the central body. You can refer to Ms. Adelman's general wiring diagram for an idea of what goes where:

6. Each light socket will require a black (power) and white (neutral) small-gauge wire. The black/white pairs will snake from each socket, through the hollow tubes and fittings, and into the central hub (the "cluster body"). 

7. Beginning at the socket end, tape a wire pair together to form a pointy end; it will be easier to route through the tubes and joints. When you have snaked a pair all the way to the hub, pull a minimum of 3" out of the hub and tape it to part of the assembly so it won't pull out. Back at the socket end, cut the wire pair 3" beyond the tube end. Tape the wire to the tube as shown above.

When you're watching your mother-in-law route the wire through the joints (above), loosen the adjustable joints with a screwdriver and straighten them to make the threading easier. Final adjustments or reconfiguration of the chandelier can be made any time after final assembly.

As described in Step #7 above, all wire routes will end at the hub/cluster body. The pic above shows the combined groups of wire pairs taped to one leg of the assembly.

Routing through the joints is tricky, especially the 2-into-1 joints, but I promise you it will work. My best advice is to take your time and don't force anything. Unscrew the joints to check the progress of a route if necessary.

9.  Once all socket ends are successfully routed to the hub and securely taped to the tubes, it is time to wire the sockets. The diagram below is very helpful and should be studied carefully before beginning, and will help you remember the correct order for all the steps. We were a little too cavalier, and several times we wired a socket without first installing the socket cup (which means you have to undo and re-do everything you just did). Moral of the story: create a checklist for each socket installation.

10. The wire pairs should be stripped with the proper gauge strippers. If you have never stripped wire, we recommended you watch a Youtube video first and practice on extra wire from the project (this is not the time to practice on the job). Strip each wire 1/2" from the end and twist the tiny wire strands together to create a solid single strand. Be very careful not to cut through the wire as you only have  about 3" to work with.

11. The stripped/twisted wire pair should then be lightly twisted around the socket screws as shown in the pic above. Be sure to place the black (power) wire on the brass screw/terminal. The white (neutral) will be installed with the silver-colored screw/terminal.  

Be sure you have installed the slip ring and socket cup (in that order) prior to feeding the screws/wires through the top threaded socket ring, as shown above.

Screw the wired screws into their respective terminals and give it a last check before continuing (its easier to make a final check here than when one of the sockets doesn't work at the end). The wires should be securely fastened to their terminals with no wild strands.

At this point, Ella jumped in a shopping bag and work straight up ceased for about 5 minutes while I carried her around (refer to Part One for my advice on kitty helpers). Jake found this only borderline amusing.

12.  Slip the brass tube down into the top threaded socket ring and screw firmly into place. Wrap the exposed screw terminals and wiring with electrical tape. In our case, the tape also acted to prevent the socket cup from sliding too far down on the socket and hitting the round bulbs. You'll want to test fit a round bulb in the socket at this point and see if your socket cup is too shallow and contacts the bulb. If it's touching the bulb (thus preventing the bulb from screwing in completely), just add more tape farther up the brass rod. We liked the mix of bulbs, but using all tube-style bulbs would eliminate the problem altogether. 

I'm so glad you've made it this far with us! There's only one more post to go and then you're home free!

                                 Part ONE | Part TWO | Part THREE


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