20 February, 2009

A Bottle of Lubricant, Two Kittens, and Another New Chandelier

We're lucky that the original wiring of our 1920s house was strung through rigid conduit, as that makes the task of stringing new wire through that much easier, and we won't have to pull down plaster walls to do it. And this evening, I had my first lesson in rewiring as I got to help rewire the line that's going to power the ceiling fan in the living room.

I had been dreading having to help Ted with the chore, because it didn't sound like it was going to be much fun. I thought trying to get new wires through the conduit was going to be really, really hard and kind of tedious. In truth, we were done in less than 20 minutes.

The original cloth-covered cord looked to be in decent shape, but still, we chose to upgrade it to new wiring. To do so, Ted attached the new wires to the end of the old wire using duct tape. Then, as he stood on the ladder and pulled on the other end of the old wire, I fed the new bundle into the conduit, straightening the wire as I went along.

Here's a view of the wires before I started feeding them in:

To ease them along, I smoothed on a light coating of Wire Pulling Lubricant. Until this month, I didn't even know there was such a thing.

In addition to the new wires, I also fed a strand of Poly Line through. This will be left in place in case we need to add another wire through the conduit at a later date. That way, we will just be able to tie the new wire to the end of the Poly Line and pull it through without disturbing the wires that are already in place.

The kittens, as always, supervised the process. We've taken to referring to them as "Kitten Fridays," because they're so helpful. (Not.) Here they're playing with the old cloth wire. Please don't enlarge the picture, as you'll only see how badly I need to vacuum the rug.

In other electrical news, we bought another new (to us) light fixture, an original polychromed 1910s chandelier that will go in the front entryway to replace the gawd-awful one that's currently there. Ted spent the last two days negotiating a price with an eBay vendor that we think is fair, saving us 35% on what he was originally asking.

Here's the new fixture:

Here's a view looking straight up at the polychrome finish:

It's BEAUTIFUL. I can't wait until it gets here. This is the light it's replacing; I've never bothered to dust it, because like some of the other fixtures, I never meant for it to remain in place for long. Besides, I'm too short to reach it without a ladder. Sheesh, between the rug and the dusty lamp, you're going to think I'm a terrible housekeeper. And yikes, is that a cobweb in the corner?

At present, there is no light switch for this fixture, it's controlled with a pull cord (and one that looks suspiciously like a shoelace). Ted will be adding a push-button dimmer switch to control it; because it's centrally located, we thought a dimmable (is that a word?) fixture could double as a nightlight.

While he works on that, I'll be stripping the wood trim on the five doors that branch off from the entryway. Here's what I'll be dealing with:

Go ahead, feel free to enlarge that picture. Seriously, how does varnish get to look that bad? It seems to come off easily enough with Soy Gel Remover. After I get this cleaned, sanded, and refinished, Mom and I will finish off the walls with Behr's Venetian Plaster. I love this stuff, and used it all over the condo (the one we're currently renting out).

And then, we'll be able to open up our front door without squirming in discomfort that someone will see the shabby wood trim.


Anonymous said...

Gary over at Crackhouse is a shellac Master. I don't think you need to use stripper on this shellac. A simple wipe with denatured alcohol should smooth that out and save you tons of time in the stripping department. Also, a heat gun quickly crystallizes shellac and can then be lightly scraped off because it turns flaky or is it flakey?

That new lamp is GORGEOUS! Good for you on the 35% discount!

Anonymous said...

You had me at "kittens."

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Wow, that's a great light fixture.

Might I suggest, should you ever use the Poly Line to pull through wire, that you run more Poly Line through at that time? We always need more wiring than we think we will.

Anonymous said...

Love the new chandelier!

Joanne said...

Anonymous--That's a good idea about the denatured alcohol, I didn't know that; unfortunately, some previous owner neglected to tape up any of the wood when they painted the walls, so all of our wood trim is generously splashed with paint as well as being in a nasty chipped state.

Tonia--They've been on their best behavior this week; I think it's been eight or so days since they broke anything!

Christopher--Good idea about adding more Poly Line; even if we never use it, I'm sure some future owner would be thankful to find it!

Laurel--Thanks! I'm a sucker for a pretty light fixture.

modernemama said...

Very purty light, and kitties, too

Jennifer said...

THat is a gorgeous lamp! I'm in jealous jealous envy over here over your lights. Sigh!

Jean Martha said...

the light is gorgeous...but...lube?!?!?! LOL

Yes, I'm still 12...

Joanne said...

RT--I'm just waiting to see what kind of traffic "lubricant" and "kittens" brings in!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.