This project started like so many others, with a great deal. I had seen these cork pendant lights at Lowe’s and really liked them.
My basement was far from being finished at the time but I knew I had the perfect place for them. That was when I noticed the price…$7! I threw three into my cart when I realized that they were hard wired for Compact Florescent Light bulbs. BARF! I HATE CFLs. Actually I hate all florescent light bulbs. I wouldn’t even allow our builder to put them in my garage. The slow warm up, the flickering, the blue hue, no thank you. Something had to be done.
I loved the pendant and couldn’t let this amazing price go to waist. Could I change them over hold a warm incandescent bulb? You betcha. I hustled over to Lowe’s lighting parts department. I picked up a multi sized 8 pack of brass nipples for $2.98 (why they are called nipples is a mystery to me!). I also grabbed a new porcelain 60 watt lamp socket for $3.57 (I bought 3, one for each pendant).
On this particular pendant removing the old socket was simple. I just unscrewed it from the top and pulled it through the shade keeping the rubber and metal washers separate from the socket.
Then with wire cutters (scissors would work fine too), I cut the cord between the washer and the socket. Then I threaded a medium sized threaded pipe (brass nipple) over the cord. I slid the pipe up near the washers. Then I cut around the cord (about an inch from the end) without severing the three cords in the center. With pliers I pulled off the black sheath. Again scissors would work, just don’t cut all the way through the wires.
Repeat the process by removing the sheath from the inside wires. Wrap the coated wires around the screws, one group to one screw, the other to the other screw. It doesn’t matter which is which. If your light fixture is grounded, there will be a third group of wires that are either copper, a single thick wire, or in my case small unsheathed but grouped. I’ll explain those later.
Once they are wrapped around the screw, tighten them with a screw driver. I slipped the grounded wire through the back of the metal on the socket and wrapped it around the metal screw.
Once all the wires are connected, slide the threads into the silver nut that is on the socket. Then slip the washers back down.
Pull the wires through the top of the fixture until the brass nipple shows through. Screw the black decorative nut down until it is secure. Hang like any other fixture.
Here they are in my almost finished basement. What a steal! With all of the supplies I had to purchase, they ended up costing less than $11 each and I got exactly what I wanted. Simple yet funky and natural cork pendants with the warm glow of incandescent bulbs.
Come on, look at that glow!
I know this was a very specific tutorial, BUT this transformation can be made for all kinds of lights that were made with those unfortunate CFL sockets. So next time you are at Ikea or a home improvement store, don’t over look an otherwise awesome light fixture just because you hate CFLs too. Rewiring is super simple, really cheap, and this took less than 5 minutes (it actually took longer to hang the lights than to rewire them!).
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