Drilling Turned Lamp Stands for Wiring

Q: Could you please tell me how to drill a through hole down the center of a 15-inch turned table lamp stand to allow wire to be threaded? – Anuradha Muthu

Tim Inman: Straight. OK, I’m sorry I said that. Here’s a better answer: Usually, lamp fixtures mount on 1/8-inch pipe threads. You can buy this pipe at just about any hardware store in convenient lengths — threaded all the way. Fasten it tight into the lamp by screwing on a pipe nut and washer on either end. This makes a nice clean-finished looking job. So, since you have the pipe to do the work, and the washers to hide a little “slosh,” here’s how I’d do the drilling. I would use a spade drill instead of a machinist’s twist drill. I’d use one that is about 1/8-inch oversized so the pipe can slip in easily. Then, since your lamp post is only 15 inches long, I’d drill half way through, starting at each end. That way, you only have eight inches or so to bore each way. Clamp the post so you can get a good line-of-sight and trust your eye. Again, since you will use a continuous piece of 1/8-inch pipe to finish the job, you don’t need to hit the hole “dead-on” when your drill meets in the middle.

Sounds crude, but it will work. Next time, especially if you laminate wood for the post, consider making a cut before you do your glue-up so you already have the hole where you need it. Then turn around that center.

Chris Marshall: I agree with Tim’s last suggestion here — next time, cut the groove for the wiring first at the table saw with a dado set. Then glue up the square blank and turn it from there. I don’t trust my deep drilling skills enough for straightness, but maybe if you go the route of boring in from either end you’ll have better luck than I probably would at meeting in the middle. Best of luck!

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