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Discussion Starter #1
My wife's sister and her family are building a very large house with cathedral ceilings, and exposed beams with traditional barn joinery. They were looking for something "rustic" and we got to discussing converting an old wagon wheel into a chandelier. After hunting around and seeing nothing appealing, I volunteered to build something, and here it is.

This fixture will be visible from above and from below. It has sixteen bulbs, eight on top and eight underneath. Each set of eight is wired on a separate circuit, so they can be controlled separately. The wood in this project is Eastern White Pine from the trees they cleared when they began building the house. Other architectural elements in the house are also made from these trees. Similarly, the stain is one they've used throughout the house. The metal parts are either hardware store black iron pipe, or were custom made by the very helpful folks at HammeredHinges.com.

A view of the top:



A view of the bottom:



The top of the hub:



Looking down inside the hub at the wiring:



Joinery (before assembling hardware):



Joinery & hardware:





A test run of one of the circuits prior to the final assembly:



Thanks to many of you for the advice and ideas on this project in these previous threads:

https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f9/wagon-wheel-light-fixture-218085/
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/why-my-saw-bogging-down-219029/
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f5/jig-large-tenon-cut-218947/
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/ripping-miter-saw-220329/
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/sharp-pipe-thread-221563/
 

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Overall, I like it, and is right up my alley.

But, on the spokes, now that you know the overall length of pipes, it may be worth having full lengths custom cut. Home depot could even do that, or I imagine a local plumber or HVAC company would do it with more accuracy.

The other is the Tee your using for a grounding connection, at the very least, swap that out for a pipe cap, that way, the bull of the tee is not rubbing on the conductors.


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Thats an immense amount of work. Good execution.
But if that mild steel T with a pipe clip around it is your grounding point. the plan needs amending.
that T will rust (looks like its already started, and the very next time someone climbs up to it the ground will not be good enough to protect lives.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
The other is the Tee your using for a grounding connection, at the very least, swap that out for a pipe cap, that way, the bull of the tee is not rubbing on the conductors.
But if that mild steel T with a pipe clip around it is your grounding point. the plan needs amending. That T will rust (looks like its already started, and the very next time someone climbs up to it the ground will not be good enough to protect lives.

Grounding: I'm not an electrician, so I'm certainly open to advice and correction.

But my thinking is that most lamp sockets in commercial fixtures are not grounded at all. I was a bit weary of the fact that I was burying these sockets in wood, and that the wire connections to the terminal screws had no insulation from the close wooden surface. I wanted to protect against possible arcing where the wires connect to the sockets, so I did a light coating of insulating epoxy on the wood. The sockets don't have grounding screws, so I attached ground wires to the hickey, as shown in this photo:



That means the entire metal lamp nipple, hickey, and nuts are is basically a grounding rod. Any arcs on the bottom of the socket ought to go to the ground, not to the wood:



Inside the hub, to keep things clean, I used a stainless steel pipe clamp to attach these wires to the iron T. When the ground from the house circuit is attached, it will also attach to the T and the pipe clamp. The floor, walls and lid to the box have a pretty heavy coating of insulating epoxy. It seems to me that there's so much metal there, a little corrosion will be harmless. Any arcing inside this fixture is going into that T, and will then go into the household ground.

So I think this is adequate protection against a loose connection creating a fire hazard. In terms of personal safety, the homeowner is never going to open that hub without throwing the breaker first. The only time anyone's going to handle this fixture with the breaker on is changing a lightbulb.

But I'm certainly open to correction if I've got some sloppy thinking here. One other idea was to drill and tap a hole in the T to insert a grounding screw. Or, I could just put a few grounding screws in the epoxy coated walls, but then the wiring gets more tangled.

That T also serves the purpose of being the conduit for the wires, and is part of the structure holding the lid on the hub. Above the hub is that 1/2" x 3/4" coupling with a ring through it; that's open and the house wires will descend along a chain and into that opening, then out the T into the hub



The bottom of the T goes to a nipple through the box cover/lid, and a pipe cap on the end (see the second photo in the first post).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And as I wrote the above I realized that if the current goes to the ground, but the breaker doesn’t blow, the chain from the hub will be electrified.

I think y’all are right, and I should connect the ground through a separate grounding terminal, not to the T.
 

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You have had a "light bulb" moment.

Depending on several things here, if the lamp holder is metal, its possible for the lamp to fail in such a way that the filament and /or holder will be live. When someone puts their hand to the lamp they will almost certainly touch the holder. this is why grounding is so important where lights are concerned.
 

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johnep
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Engels workshop in Montana builds wheels and one of his videos is making a chandelier from a waggon wheel.
How much does yours weigh. Looks very heavy.
Well done.
johnep
 

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I like it, but isn't a crossed-spoke pattern more like a motorcycle wheel than a horse drawn wagon wheel? Reminds me of when I laced a few wheels in my 20s. Having been a pipefitter apprentice, I would've utilized welded construction in lieu of threaded pipe joints. Still, it is a very impressive light fixture. I also image that if the area in which it will hang is as large as you decsribe, the threaded joints will not be easily discernable.
 

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One last comment. I pray you're not going to attempt hanging that fixture with the ring and pipe reducer which has been notched to secure the ring. That is a deadly scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One last comment. I pray you're not going to attempt hanging that fixture with the ring and pipe reducer which has been notched to secure the ring. That is a deadly scenario.
Oh, no no no. There are four 1/2” iron eye bolts out at the corners. Each is attached to 10.2 mm static nylon rescue rope. The rope extends up to 8“x8” beams, and is secured around the beam.

The ring in the center is just where the wire enters the fixture. It’s there to attach decorative chain That the wire runs through.
 
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