Let me backtrack a few weeks. The first legimitately warm day last month, Pete and I took Cody down for an evening walk on the beach. It was so nice, and didn’t at all resemble the beach I showed you at the beginning of March (which was still frozen, like you can see in the photo).
One big difference is that the ice had melted and left behind lots, lots, and lots of driftwood. Not a lot of beach glass yet, but a whole lot of driftwood.
This time of year, the homeowners on the lake gather those pieces on their property and stack them into a series of teepees on the sand; tradition is to light them ablaze on the 4th of July (a pretty spectacular series of campfires). Have I mentioned enough how much I love living at the lake?
Whatever this once was is pretty cool. It’s about 8″ x 8″ and about 18″ tall. I’m eyeballing that. And two sides of it are adorned with thick, mostly-rusted nails that are unevenly emerging from the surface of the wood. Either the lake does powerful things, or someone was bad with a hammer?
Anyways, it’s amazing. It was going to be perfect for something. It was still pretty water logged and weighed about 30 pounds, so we let it dry out on the deck for a few weeks. On occasion I brought it inside if there was so much as a threatening cloud in the sky even though Pete so kindly reminded me that it, you know, lived in the lake for a year so rain wasn’t going to destroy it… it’s in the oldest box ever because I was trying to contain the sand particles that were ever loosening from the cracks… and I had just hoarded some cool stuff from my grandma’s attic and all she had up there were these really old boxes.
OK, that brings me to… now.
A lamp. It was going to be a lamp.
It was the most authentically reclaimed/worn down/level soon-to-be-lamp-base that I’ve ever seen washed up on a beach shore. The main plan of attack was going to include drilling a hole almost all the way through the block lengthwise, and then meeting up with that hole by drilling perpendicularly in through the backside of the block. Convincing myself that would yield a nice, finished look, I proceeded. I used a 1/2″ bit, the longest one that Pete owns.
The drill worked well; at first I tried a battery-powered handheld, but only got 6″ deep (and during that time burned through two rechargeable battery packs) so I upgraded to that pretty yellow DeWalt you see in these photos. DeWalt zipped right through the wood like a champ in a matter of minutes. Like I mentioned, I didn’t want the bit to break on through to the other side, but knew that if I drilled this one as long as the bit would allow me, I’d be within about 2″ of the end of the wood. Perfecto. Wow my grass is getting long again.
I had done a little investigation into the lamp kits that they sell for $10 at Home Depot and Lowes, but I went even more reclaimed by salvaging a lamp from a garage sale (for $2) and using those lamp parts that were in fine working order for this project. Old lamp, meet new lamp.
Bandaged up, I employed the a straightened metal hanger; this time, I needed to make a little hook on the tip so that I could use it to snatch the electrical cord and help it around the 90-degree difficult angle I had made for myself in the depths of the wood. This was fricken hard. Not so much because I couldn’t hook the wire, but the wire just didn’t want to be pulled through that sharp and narrow of a turn. Eventually, after lots of experimentation with tape hooks and bread ties, I finally got it through.
Once upon a time I had disassembled another lamp (without having to shatter it) and I still had some random lamp pieces laying around, so I started putting them together on the driftwood lamp to test out how the whole system might work (experimenting with how high the light bulb could sit from the base, and how far it seemed like it should sit from the base).
Now, I’ve only taken one good stab so far at finding a shade; I was so optimistic that this large drum shade from Target would have been a decent fit, but I think it looks too small. And too white. Where is Liberty of London for Target THIS summer?
I’m still shopping around for larger drums (maybe make one, probably not). Although, what if I chopped the large block into two smaller blocks (think: squattier)? In that case, the shade like the one I just tried might work out better. And I’d be left with two smaller lamps. Ooh, options.
P.S. We spent some time at the beach last night. The city had sequestered driftwood logs to one area in the park. They were also sectioned up into smaller pieces that (dare I say) might actually fit right in your car.
Also, the horizon was gone. I love when that happens.