Remember when I scored that cool retro lamp at the ReStore? Well this past weekend, I decided to attempt a rewire.

Honestly, I didn’t even try plugging in the lamp to see if it worked. Un-polarized plugs kinda freak me out, so I thought I would just rewire the lamp to be safe (and less freaked out).

I bought this lamp kit at a local hardware store. Truth be told, I didn’t need the whole lamp kit for my project, just the cord and the socket, but for some reason the kit was cheaper than the cord and socket separately, so I just bought the kit.

It had some instructions on the back, which also helped me feel more confident…

I needed to modify the instructions to apply to my lamp, which didn’t need the bottle adapter. My lamp has a long metal tube that fits inside the wood “neck” of the lamp. It has a threaded end, which screws onto the lamp socket and then there is a nut on the inside of the lamp to tighten everything up and ensure it stays put. To get to all those inner workings of the lamp, I first had to peel off the felt bottom of my lamp.

From that point, I could unscrew everything and get the lamp apart.

Once everything was apart, I used a wire cutter/stripper tool to cut the old cord and strip about an inch of the plastic coating off the wire

Then I wound the wire from the old cord around the wire from the new cord and put some electrical tape around them to hold them together. I know, but Kate, why are you splicing the cords together? Isn’t the idea to get rid of the old cord? Well, yes, but I have a trick up my sleeve…

…by taping them together, I can use the old cord to pull the new one through the base

…and then up through the skinny neck of the lamp! Once the new cord was threaded all the way through the lamp, I removed the electrical tape and discarded the old wire.

This part gets fancy. You need to take the two sides of your new wires and make an underwriter’s knot. It sounds tricky, but it really isn’t that hard…just look at the picture and bend your cord accordingly.

The other important part is making sure you put the correct wire on the correct screw. If you look closely at your lamp cord, one of the sides will have ribbing on the plastic. That is the neutral wire and should be connected to the silver screw. Once you have that all figured out, simply make sure the wires are tight under the screws and pop your socket back together.

Then it is just a matter of screwing your lamp back together and putting in a bulb

Will it work…?

Ta-Da! Success!


All you need for this project is:

• Your cool retro lamp in need of rewiring
Wire cutter/stripper tool
Electrical tape
• New lamp socket
• New lamp cord (or lamp kit like I purchased if more cost effective)
• New piece of felt for lamp bottom (if desired) as well as scissors and glue

I’m leaving the bottom felt piece off until I decide if I am going to paint the lamp or not. I think it depends on the lamp shade I end up with. I am still on the hunt. I have tried a few different types and have found the shade on a lamp I already have seems to be perfect. Only problem is, I like that shade on it’s current lamp! I can’t seem to find another shade with the same dimensions as my lamp shade either. Drat! This shade thing could take a while…

I have decided that I can’t use the old shade. I think I am allergic to it. I put it in the garage because every time I went near it, I started sneezing and getting itchy eyes. Oh the hazards of the thrifting life…


11 thoughts on “REWIRING A RETRO LAMP

  1. OMG, using the old wire to help thread the new is brilliant! When I rewired a lamp years ago threading the new wire through the lamp was so frustrating.

  2. My addiction to lamps in need of love is second only to my addiction to chairs in need of love. I’ve always felt intimidated by the prospect of re-wiring them, but this gives me some confidence that even I could do it! Thanks for the great pictures and instructions.

  3. Can’t wait to see the final reveal of your lamp. It’s a beaut!

    About that allergy-producing lampshade it came with — Could you re-use the shade’s original wire form and recover it?

  4. Pingback: HOUSE TOUR – GUESTROOM AND HALL BATH « Retroranchrevamp's Blog

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