Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Update From 2012 (Part 2)~

The rest of this post is random stuff.

One of the things I received during the party was an antique mogul lamp. This lamp was actually part of my birthday gift, but my friends who gave it to me were from out of town, and they had forgotten to drop it off, so they remembered to bring it this time. The lamp was in a very sorry state, and the lamp cord on it was beyond frightening. If you look closely, you can see part of the original cloth cord (which is a beautiful dark reddish brown), which is frayed in some places down to the bare filaments, then it's spliced onto a newer plug.

What you can't see is that the original cord is also spliced again on the interior to another pair of old wires (although these were the original wires/splices and they were still in good shape in the interior rod of the lamp). It's interesting to note this, because I had thought that these lamps originally just had a single length of fabric cord that went all the way up into the lamp, but apparently they didn't. They used separate plain white wires, one with a red tracer wire, in the 5 foot (or so) unseen portion.

The candle covers are also missing, and one obviously needed re-straightening.

Another small issue, which I don't know if I can fix or not, is that for some unknown reason, there were 3 holes drilled into the brass candelabra base. Two side by side, and one across. These are NOT original holes. You can see the odd pair on the left near the candelabra (above photo). It's fixable, but it would require a LOT of work. I'd have to solder a patch on the interior body, then fill the hole with either a small cut piece of brass (then solder, grind, smooth, and polish the repair), or use a filler/paint combo. I am probably just going to leave it (ignore it).

The lamp looks to have been partially rewired in the past (candelabras had new wire), but I did not trust any of it, and rewired it completely. I also installed a new 3-way switch (pull-chain). This is the second lamp I've rewired that just had a simple on/off switch, rather than a 3-way for the candelabras. They are supposed to be 3-way, but I'm sure the old switch was original on two of the lamps I rewired. I prefer a 3-way, and I feel safer with a new switch in the case of these particular lamps.

This is the extremely useful (and simple) wiring diagram that I use for these lamps.

The mogul socket is wired separately, and attached to the main black/white leads, and likewise, the two blue lines are connected at the 3-way point with a marrette (wire nut).

For now, the lamp is done, and functional, but I'm missing a top for it (with the mogul socket and shade holder), and 3 replacement candle covers. The loose wire sticking out of the top is for the mogul socket. Also note that when I took the lamp apart (everything unscrews into sections), I cleaned the pieces, and in some cases, repainted them. The base was in very poor shape, and I used 3 or 4 different mixes of spray paint to get the right effect. The "onyx" base disc is actually made of coloured glass (some lamps used real onyx).

And if you've read up to this point, and have no idea what a "mogul" is, and haven't bothered to Google-it, let me just quickly explain. A mogul is another style of light bulb base. A standard bulb uses an Edison style screw base. A mogul base is the same, only much larger. Because of this, you need a jumbo sized light bulb (Mogul bulb). Mogul base bulbs are often seen on large industrial lamps (such as halogen, mercury vapour, high-pressure sodium and metal halide bulbs), but they are also used in these mogul lamps with regular filament mogul bulbs. The lamps are called mogul lamps because of the mogul bulb that they use.

Many people choose to just buy an adapter for the mogul socket, and use a regular bulb in the lamp, but the bulbs are actually very easy to find. Here in town, there are at least 3-4 places that carry them, and they range in price from around 5$ - 15$ depending where you buy them. I made the mistake of buying the first one for 15$ at a specialty lighting shop, and then I later found out that Wal-Mart carried them for only 5$.

These lamps are AMAZING if you're doing home renovations. If they're fitted with a typical mogul bulb (which is also 3-way), they generally run 300-200-100w, plus the three candelabra bulbs (I use 40w but you can use 60w), which, when all are lit, gives you up to 480w (300+60+60+60) of light! Do be careful, though. The mogul bulb gets insanely hot (so hot that it must be used only "upright" like in this style lamp. This is why you'll frequently see one in the background when I'm working on the house. It's as good, or better, than those halogen flood lights on a stand, and way more stylish!

So yeah, this now means that I own 3 of these lamps. Two were free (the one in the first photo with the white shade was from Mom), and one I paid 15$ for, at a yard sale, and it came with the original metal drum shade (you can see that one in the master bedroom in video 2 of the house tour, at around the 3:40 mark).

I thought I would share some photos of the first huge snow storm we've had this year. It was pretty amazing/awful. I didn't leave the house that day. The roads were terrible, and I was practically snowed-in. I would estimate that there was at least 12-24" of snow.

It's a good thing that my porch door now opens inwards...

Even though I'm on a fairly busy corner, this is how the roads looked. I can't imagine how the lesser-travelled parts of town looked. This was taken in the afternoon (the snow ploughs had been working non stop since early morning). The sidewalks didn't get done for another 2-3 days later (and they looked almost like carved square tunnels).

Additionally, all the snow stuck to my screens (I don't bother to remove them since they keep leaves/debris off the window ledges), and I couldn't really see outside.

You can see a lot of the accumulated snow in the house tour videos, which were taken a few days later.


I don't remember where or exactly WHEN I bought these two locks, but they arrived in the mail as a bit of a surprise. I had forgotten all about them. These are two old locks that appear to be NOS (new old stock). They are in mint condition, except for dust an a few webs. They even have the original varnish/lacquer on the faces, no scratches, and all the original paint. It's hard to imagine that they survived all this time. I got them for a song (less than 10$ a piece). As a bonus, they also had the original (new) strike plates!

They are unmarked, except for "P 5" on the brass face plates, but they match 2 other unmarked lock sets, and are also nearly identical in/out to 3 high-end Corbin locks.

This brings up my "stash" of good locks to 7. I'm trying to get mainly just the really high grade locks with cast iron parts for the house. These are much sturdier and more reliable than some of the flimsier locks that I have. I have other good Yale ones, but the spacing on them is WAY different.

I thought I would re-inventory my stash of good hardware, and take a photo at the same time. So far, I have the following, and I'm aiming to have enough for at least the 8 interior doors:

- 7 high-end lock sets (need 1 more)
- 5 strike plates (need 3, I can get new ones that are very close to these)
- 7 1/2 sets of black fired clay knobs (need 1 + extras for exterior doors) + extra stems
- 20 ball-tip hinges (I have enough for 10 regular doors, not sure if I want the same ones or antique larger ones on exterior doors - I have several larger sets)
- 14 face plates (need 2 + extras for exterior doors if I want those to match)
- 0 set screws for knobs, most are damaged (need 20-30 - I can get these on eBay)

Not all the hardware has been cleaned/refurbished yet.


"L Room" updates:

I fixed that huge hole/nightmare from a few weeks ago. Remember this?

Note mogul lamp cord! Haha! Well now it looks like this:

I purposefully left it slightly uneven, because the entire wall looks like a war zone, and a large perfectly smooth patch will show.

I finished sanding/filling/sanding/scraping/puttying/sanding/caulking the two windows. Still far from perfect, but it will look passable once it's painted.

Another view of the wall repair, and baseboard caulked:

Yesterday I scraped and caulked all the baseboards. They're actually in pretty nice shape.

Caulked both door frames:

Repaired/rewired 3 of the outlets. This before and after is NOT an exaggeration. It's seriously looked like this for the past 2 years. Two of the electrical boxes were installed crooked, and too far back from the drywall, so I had to re-install those, and re-patch the drywall around them again.

And just to keep things "real", I wanted to share this photo. Most of the original walls are pretty rough. I patched them and smoothed them as much as possible, and for the most part, they look alright, but if the light is shining on them the wrong way, they tend to look like this:

...and I'm ok with that. I actually prefer this to a perfectly pristine flat (boring) wall. It's part of the reason I wanted an old house in the first place. Some will call it charm, or character, but I see it as history. This house has survived since 1923, and it shows some "battle scars" as my high school friend would say.


  1. Wow, you sure got a lot done over the past weeks/months!

    The picture of the rewired mogul lamp shows one of my pet peeves about modern twisted cloth wire. The inner isolation layer around the copper wire is PVC rather than rubber, which makes the whole wire much stiffer than the original. So far I haven't been able to track down a supplier for real cloth and rubber wire, let alone for an affordable price. Prices for the PVC stuff vary widely, from roughly €2/m to €5/m.

    I also find it fascinating that 3-way bulbs apparently never made their way out of the American continent. I had a hard time believing my eyes when I first got my hands on a 3-way socket! Unfortunately I had to toss it because it had an internal short and would trip the breaker even without a bulb inside. Besides, European Edison base bulbs have a slightly longer base, which means if you use them in a US socket more of the screw shell will be exposed, and although it has to be connected to the neutral, the screwshell is supposed to be completely covered when the bulb is fully inserted.

    1. The exposed shell issue can sometimes be easily fixed just by having the cardboard shell extended higher up.

      I'm curious to know more details about the 3-way bulbs you mentioned. Do you mean in regular sized bulbs, or just in the large Mogul bulbs? Over here we have both, but the 3-way regular bulbs are not used very often. They need to be used in a special socket (Mogul lamp sockets are usually always set up for a 3-way mogul bulb). I bought a second hand lamp (new not antique) a year or so ago, and it came with a 3-way socket. I didn't know this at first, and I could not get a regular bulb to work in it. I then noticed how the interior was made, and I knew I'd need a 3-way bulb. So, again, since they're not that popular, they also cost a lot more to buy. I will probably not bother, and I'll just change the socket to a regular one. It would be different if the lamp were old.

      Another quick note: yes the shell is supposed to be wired neutral, and I always do (especially for the hard-wired fixtures) but with these old floor lamps, the sockets aren't polarized, and it's nearly impossible to know if you're plugging it into the outlet neutral-to-neutral, or neutral-to-hot, since the lamp will work the same either way. The new, reproduction "button plugs" however, are polarized.

    2. Also, regarding the rayon or cloth wire, I don't think they make rubber versions anymore. The old wire on this lamp was very crumbly inside (likely rubber or a similar black material). It may have something to do with heat, or load, or PVC might just be the only safe material currently allowed for this type of wire. I'm just happy that they still make cloth type wire to begin with. I've only found 2 or 3 good places to buy it.

      Sundial Wire:

      And Fabric Wire (which has an amazing choice of colours not available elsewhere):

      Other than these two, I have come across one or two eBay sellers that carry some unusual or historic colours that are hard to find.

  2. Another source of set screws for your knobs can be found here:

    I purchased them a couple of months ago and they worked perfectly to replace several of mine that had been stripped of their threads over the years. I also bought the washers since they are an odd size and (at least for me) couldn't be found easily at the local "big-box" store.

    1. Thanks for the info. HoAH is likely where I'll be buying the missing strike plates, but I'm not sure if their set screws were around the same price as the eBay ones, or much more expensive. It's something I'll have to check when I get to that point. A bunch of the existing screws are ok, but several will need to be replaced. I was also lucky to find that several of the knob sets came with spacers. I suppose that it will depend on the exact door dimensions and amount of slack per set, to see if I need them, or how many I'll need.

  3. Hi there, what sort of wire did you use on your moguls? I've read that I need SPT-2 #18. I wish I could buy cloth-covered cording for my moguls (I have two now needing rewiring) but my cat Dougal tends to try to eat thread so I'd be afraid he couldn't resist the lure of the lamp cords.

    1. Hi Bridget,

      All standard light fixtures (lamps, ceiling light fixtures, and other small appliances) use standard 18ga wire. This is just regular lamp wire. You can buy lamp wire by the foot, in in small rolls at hardware stores. If you want a pre-moulded, one-piece plug at the wall, you can use an inexpensive 6' or 8' extension cord (depending how long you need your cord). You just keep the plug end, and cut the outlet end off, and wire it into the lamp. Be warned, you do need quite a lot of wire for all the connections, and you will also need small marettes (wire nuts). All the ribbed halves of the wires should be connected to the neutral terminals (lamp wires usually have one side ribbed, and one side smooth). The neutral terminals are usually silver, or if they're not marked, they are the ones connected to the screw portion of the socket (while the hot wire is connected to the centre pin in the socket). Hope this helps, and if you have any other questions, just ask.

  4. Thanks for that info. I'd thought for some reason I needed special wire for the moguls. I'm still waffling between attempting it myself or getting a professional to do the job. I've rewired regular lamps and a 1957 Litemaster/Telechron TV lamp/clock, but these moguls are kind of scary :) I'll be getting reproduction plugs, I love the look of them and need to buy new mogul sockets anyway (the originals are rusty inside) so may as well pick them up at that time. I bought some marettes a couple of months ago, just need to find them. Thanks again!

    1. The mogul lamps aren't really scary (to me at least), they're basically the same thing as a 4 light chandelier, except that some of the light sockets are connected to a switch. As for the mogul socket itself, it's the same as a regular 3-way light bulb socket, except bigger. It doesn't use any more or less power, it just uses a larger bulb.