How To Rewire a Lamp

That broken lamp discovered in the attic or at a neighborhood yard sale may not be ready for the junkyard. With a little patience and a few hours, it is possible to turn a nonworking lamp into a useful, functioning object of beauty once again.

Though lamps may vary in size and shape, the electrical components and the way they are wired are fundamentally the same. Components consist of a socket(s), plug, cord, and switch. A lamp that does not work usually suffers from one - or more - electrical wiring ailments affecting these components. However, problems in these areas have relatively easy remedies.

Replacing the Cord and Socket

  1. Unplug the lamp and remove the lightbulb.
  2. Cut off the old cord a couple of inches below the bottom of the lamp. With electrical tape, attach the new cord to the old one.
  3. Loosen the screwset below the socket cap and unthread the cap from the lamp nipple.
  4. Pull the new cord up through the stem of the lamp. Discard the old cord and socket.
  5. Slip a new socket cap over the new cord, thread the cap onto the nipple, and tighten the screwset.
  6. Pull the insulated, segmented 2-wire cord apart for 6 - 8 inches and tie the wires in an Underwriters' knot.
  7. Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each wire. Twist the strands together, and fasten the wires to the socket screws: wrap the neutral wire (covered with ridged insulation) in a clockwise direction around the silver screw, then wrap the "hot" copper wire (covered with smooth insulation) around the brass screw.
  8. Pull the knot down into the cap and snap on the socket.
  9. Slip the insulating sleeve in place, then slide on the outer shell and position it securely in the cap.
  10. Your lamp is now repaired. Replace the bulb, harp, and shade and plug it in!
Underwriter's knot