Wood Surveyor’s Tripod Floor Lamp


Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Last summer, at the Route 11 Yard Crawl in Virginia, I bought this great surveyors tripod. It was actually the same yard sale that I bought the typing desk and the wood planer, and the same yard sale that my sister bought the carpenter’s tool box which I later stole that became a coffee table. (Make sure you click on the links if you’ve forgotten what those projects looked like.)

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

I saw this tripod from across the field. By the time I got there, my sister was already in hot negotiation  for some other piece of junk with the same dealer, but this baby was mine.  I assume it was originally a surveyor’s tripod from the funny metal piece at the top, but someone else had turned it into an easel.

I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I had a theatre spotlight that I was dying to make into a floor lamp.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

If you have a tripod that you want to turn into an easel, here’s a closeup. I ended up taking off this added ledge to make my lamp.

As you can tell by the top picture, my big plans did not come to be. I did manage to get regular lighting into the spotlight, but for the life of me I could not figure how to attach the spotlight to the tripod…those spotlights are super awkward and super heavy, so the whole project has been staring at me for months.

I finally decided to forget the theatre and go back to my lamp roots.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

This is a picture of the top of the tripod and it’s what make me think it didn’t start out as an easel.  The problem now was to get a 3/8″ threaded nipple to fit securely in this, kind of large, hole.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

My first thought was to drill a hole through a dowel , but none were the perfect size.

In my tub of parts I found this nut thingy and it fit super securely.  I only got it in as far as it is here with the aid of a hammer.  The nut is still bigger than 3/8″, but my hole is getting smaller.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

So, the left nut thingy is what fits securely in the lamp and the long threaded piece is the nipple that you need to make a lamp.  The silver piece that is attached to the nipple, I also had in my parts box and it actually fit onto the nipple. 

I gather up all my weird pieces and head over to the local ACE hardware store.  If anybody can help me they can. What I’m looking for is some kind of reducer…a piece that takes a larger threaded piece and reduces it down to a smaller threaded piece.  ACE did not disappoint, the guy did not look at me like I had two heads and was able to set me up with the piece on the right.  A perfect fit.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

To complete the project I also needed a lamp kit which comes with almost all the pieces needed to complete a lamp, or in this case floor lamp. I did need to purchase a separate nipple.  The one shown above is 6 inches, I ended up using a 3 inch zinc plated nipple.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Look how nicely all my weird pieces come together and it’s amazingly secure.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

I would show you how I wired the lamp complete with pictures but I’m going to refer you back to my earlier post on wiring a lamp.  Don’t be scared to wire a lamp, it’s so much easier than you think and you can get exactly the lamp you want for a fraction of the cost it would take to buy a lamp.

Pottery Barn floor lamp

I thought this would be a great time to show you this Pottery Barn lamp  that goes for $469. Did I mention fraction of the cost?

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Everything is wired and the lamp actually works.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Finished off the lamp with a shade my sister had given me a while back.

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

 

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

Vintage tripod floor lamp diy, surveyors tripod

I absolutely love my new floor lamp but does anybody have an idea of what to do with a couple of theatre spotlights?

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