Friday, June 7, 2013

I Am Wonder Woman

Nothing's ever simple around here.  Which, actually, is kinda the joy of it.

I mean, if I set out to do something and it just went along all smooth like a millpond, what would be the fun in that, right?

Thursday was really good painting weather and I should've been out there putting in an eight-hour day on the house, but I didn't feel like it.  Since my pal Brandon declared the other night, "Who cares what others think?! If you wanna be Wonder Woman, dammit, effin' be Wonder Woman!!" I have decided that I am, in fact, Wonder Woman and I shall act accordingly.  I'm also my own contractor on this gig, so I get to decide what jobs to work on that day.

And I decided to hang that light I told y'all about a couple posts ago.  I like it and I really, really wanted to see what it looks like lit up.  So there.

But first, I had to take down the last three or four metal pieces from the dropped ceiling.  They were screwed into the ceiling joists with some kind of evil, extraordinarily long screw that has a slot on the end of it instead of a head for a drill driver, so I had to twist 'em out of there with channel locks.

(But that's okay, because I am Wonder Woman.  Dammit.)

The outlet box was tied into the metal pieces, like this:
 Because there's no ceiling in the back bedroom (yet) and because that basket chandelier is kinda heavy, I decided to buy one of these:
 That brace is designed to hold up really heavy fixtures and ceiling fans, so it was probably a little overkill, but it's also the easiest way to rig up a light fixture that I know.  (If you have access to the ceiling joists, that is, which I do, having ripped down three layers of ceiling to get there.)  You just stick it in between the joists and pull it apart until it's flush against the sides of the joists, screw it in, thread the wires through the outlet box, connect your fixture, and you're done.

 In theory, anyway.

In this house, it didn't exactly go like that.

I knew I had 16" centers on my ceiling joists, so when the box said the brace goes down to 14 1/8" wide, I thought it was good to go.  I failed to consider that 1910-or-so lumber is full width, unlike modern lumber, so I really only had 13 11/16" between the joists.  So I took the brace over to WTB's garage and used a hacksaw to cut it down a bit.

Another thing I knew going in is that the basket chandelier attaches to the ceiling with a threaded rod and a nut.  I had a decorative nut, but no threaded rod, so I went out to the hardware store and bought some threaded rod.  Then it occurred to me that the outlet box doesn't have anything to attach that threaded rod to, so I had to go back and buy a crossbar kit as well.

Then I put the whole thing together--attach outlet box to brace, attach crossbar to outlet box, attach threaded rod to crossbar--like this:
 And I sliced my thumb open when, like an idiot, I stuck my thumb down between the very sharp rails of the brace to slide the outlet box to the center of the brace.  While I was putting a bandage on my thumb, I realized that another problem had presented itself.  The threaded rod was about 6" long.  The bottom of the outlet box is flush with the underside of the ceiling joists.  Even if I screwed the threaded rod all the way in until it touched the top of the outlet box, and even considering that the ceiling planks are 5/8" thick, the rod was still way too long for the fixture to be flush against the ceiling.  (I thought at first I might be able to use the center knockout in the top of the outlet box for the rod to extend through, but of course it didn't line up.)

So I went over to WTB's garage again, and he cut the rod shorter with a hacksaw.

Then I went back to my house again and attached the brace to the ceiling joists, a process that might've gone quicker if my drill driver was charged up, but since it wasn't I had to attach the brace with a manual screwdriver.  Not so much fun.

At long last, I attached the chandelier to the threaded rod and put in three CFL chandelier bulbs.  After that, a bit of wiring.  Black wire to black wire, white wire to white wire, ground wire to green screw, wire nuts to keep it all together, and I was done.  (I should've mentioned that I cut the power to the back bedroom hours before, when I took down the last bits of dropped ceiling.  You definitely don't want to go messing around with electricity when the wires are live.  Ouch.)  I turned the breaker back on, ran up the crooked basement steps and through the bathroom to the back bedroom for the Moment of Truth.

That moment when you flip the switch and pray the light comes on and nothing catches fire.

No fire.  
And then there was light.
I am Wonder Woman, dammit.


  1. You really are Wonder Woman. But, no snazzy costume?

    1. I really should get one, especially if the Golden Lasso of Truth really does work. ;)

  2. That light is going to be so worth the effort!

  3. Of course you are. I am in awe of your many talents.
    Can't wait for the next example.

  4. Oh Jayne, the light is beautiful! But my goodness, what you had to go through! You truly are a wonder woman!

  5. I hate it when "simple" projects turn into all day ordeals. But it was obviously worth the effort because that light is stunning.

  6. That cleaned up lovely.

    (Oh, yeah. How's your thumb?)

    1. It's better. I didn't have any Band-Aids and I didn't want it to get dirty when I was scraping paint and planting flowers, so I put Duck Tape around it. LOL