The new kitchen counter was installed earlier this month at the cabin and I was able to put in about 2/3's of the mosaic tile backsplash before we had to return home. The object is to have it completed before Thanksgiving. (Photos next month) Meanwhile, I have had some time in Denton to finish several shop projects that have been in process for a number of months.
Foremost among them is the desk lamp. Last Spring I had picked up a derelict desk lamp at an antique shop near Canyon Lake because I have been thinking of making a lamp with an automobile valve cover as the lamp shade. I did not have a valve cover and really had no firm idea how I would install a tube light inside it. But when I found this lamp with the electric plug cut off, priced at $19.95, I offered the fellow $10 and he bit. Then the hunt was on for a valve cover, an LED tube light and the means of putting it all together.
Unfortunately I did not think to take pix of the lamp in its as-found condition. Above are photos of two identical lamps that I located on the internet, both for sale. These are both in better condition than the one that I acquired, but the brown colors are similar and the base, neck and shade are identical. They have double, 18" fluorescent tubes with old-school, wire-wrapped transformers (2) in the base. On/off is via the two red and black buttons on top of the shade.
My first step was to remove the shade and all the electrical materials, except the cord to the wall outlet. Next I stripped the paint from the base and neck. I was surprised to find that the base is apparently of aluminum and that the neck is still fully flexible and in good operating order. Then to the internet (eBay) in search of a suitable valve cover. I was open to any brand-embossed cover that would accept an 18" tube light. After a few weeks and a number of separate searches I came across a vintage "buy-it-now" aluminum Corvette cover for $50. Most valve covers are in pairs. Vintage 'Vette covers are being offered for $300-$500. The one I found appeared to be clean and undamaged. I grabbed it. While I waited for its arrival I began looking for a suitable LED tube.
Turns out that with the LED explosion of lighting applications, there are now LED tube lights of many descriptions. And the best part is that the old ballasts and transformers are not needed with LED tube lights. So I ordered a single, 18" LED tube-bulb plus the appropriate socket....that's all that is needed. When the 'Vette valve cover arrived it was indeed clean enough to eat out of. I buffed the outside to a polish and did the same with the aluminum base and flex-neck of the old desk lamp. Then I drilled holes in the bracket and cover so I could bolt them together and installed the light sockets with HD double-sided tape. I ran a new, small-gauge wire down the neck, installed a rocker switch (from my misc. electrical parts bin) in the front of the base and voila, I have a desk lamp. I had in mind to paint the base, neck and background around the Corvette script and fins, but I think I like the polished aluminum as is. In fact, after putting it on my desk (just to take photos) I like it so much that I now am thinking of keeping it for myself, rather than offering it for sale as I had originally intended!
Other Items that I finished this last week include two Packard hood ornaments, a pre-war Chevrolet hood ornament and an early post-war Hudson ornament. as shown below.
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.