A year before we bought our house, we purchased a live edge slab of wood (of questionable species) and damaged coffee table base from Crate & Barrel (the leg portion was fine) for our coffee table. At the time, one of the only tools we owned was our random orbit sander… so Spencer sanded it down and: boom! coffee table after eight years of marriage!
Anyway, the point is: we like live edge pieces of furniture… and we had found a wood shop. Now, we had actually found a few wood shops, but the others were farther away and had more substantial (and therefore expensive) pieces for sale. After the coffee table, we purchased two larger sized walnut live edge slabs to hopefully make a dining table one day. (But I’ll cover that later.) Fast forward to our current project: the kitchen. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to make a industrial live edge walnut light fixture with Edison bulbs.
When we designed the kitchen layout, the cabinets and island had priority. Other things like light fixture placement came later. I wanted to figure out how to position the light fixture above the island without having to move the fixture box. We assumed the joists in the ceiling went from left to right (like those in the floor). The box wasn’t perfectly centered above the island, in fact, it was closer to the edge of the countertop near the sink & oven. This posed a problem, so we looked for a slab of wood that kind-of had an extra protrusion to one side – so the main body of the fixture could still be “centered” on the island.
In the photo below, I placed pieces of paper towel scraps on the island to roughly represent the dimensions of the live edge walnut slab – just to see where it would be if we didn’t move the junction box. The large pieces represent the dimensions of the slab, the smaller pieces represent the lights, and the other medium piece represents the junction box. It’s really hard to tell where things sit directly by trying to eye-ball it. A plumb line is super important for these types of projects.
We gave the project all this thought, tried to finagle the wood slab in a way that would look good – but really didn’t. The walnut slab would still be off-center no mater what we did with the existing electrical placement. Fortunatley, by actually doing some investigation and less assumption, we discovered that the joists actually went in a favorable (opposite than assumed) direction! So, as a result, we could easily move the junction box over to a better spot without ripping up the ceiling. Spencer capped the old box and moved it a to the center of the island where it would be hidden under the new light fixture.
Testing the power strip to make sure it was live, nothing will be actually hanging from this box:
The main components for this project were:
– the live edge walnut slab sanded with 60, 120, 240 grit paper, no finish.
– stand-off posts (which took some research to find)
– the lighting cords/bulbs kit
– a junction box, a power strip, zip ties, plastic electrical caps
Spencer already had the piece sanded and as he measured and prepped the space in the kitchen, Wade drilled the six holes for the cords… which somehow accidentally turned into seven holes – but, we had an extra kit just in case so it worked out.
The tools we used for this project were: a random orbit sander & paper, drill, measuring tape, plumb line and electrical tools – electrical cable stripper/ needle nose pliers/ AC outlet ground tester.
The lighting cord “kits” were actually not really kits at all. They were finished pieces (with a nice woven fabric cord) intended to be plugged into an outlet an be mounted on the wall/ceiling with little clips – just a bulb, socket, cord, & plug. They came in a variety of colors – we purchased yellow & black (& would make a decision at home). The yellow was more canary than gold finch and I really wanted something more saturated. I did want punches of color in the kitchen when it was finished, and the fixture would definitely look cool with the yellow cords… but the black was more safe, subdued, and flexible for any color design changes in the future. Besides, this light fixture already has a lot going on with the Edison bulbs & walnut.
In order to get the cords through the holes in the slab, we had to cut the cords apart, fish them through, and splice them back together again. The plugs were then just pluged into the power strip that would be hidden between the walnut slab & the ceiling.
The stand-off posts were the mechanical fasteners for this project – they were screwed through the walnut slab and mounted into the joists above. We used three posts because that’s where the joists were located in the ceiling. The posts were rated for much more weight than they were actually carrying for this light fixture.
So here’s the finished light fixture (at night). I calibrated the color in this photo a bit – the Edison clubs are more orange in person. They are also very bright – when they start to die, we will probably replace them with a lower wattage bulb… that or some original 001 Plumen cfl bulbs.
The finished product!
Oh, and incase you’re wondering about the electrical… when we had an electrician come over to check out the L6-30 outlet Spencer installed for our car, he also looked at this light fixture & everything was to code!