Chandelier!

Lighting the Place Up

Lighting the Place Up

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I had another one of those days working on the tiny house yesterday where I felt like I had been in the street brawl by the time I quit. My friend, Leo, came to help me yesterday and in about 20 hours of combined work, we basically managed to install a chandelier and 8 feet of corner trim. That’s it. I will say the corner trim and the chandelier look pretty awesome, but boy, I really thought we would get more done.

I think the real problem was that both of those projects were much more complicated than I expected. Poor Leo. I gave him the job of the corner trim and I knew he was struggling a little bit with it, but I didn’t realize just how hard it was until he told me he didn’t think he could do it anymore and I tried to do it for a little while. That was seriously difficult. It’s not like you can just measure the pieces, cut them out and install them. All the pieces are cut at a 45° angle and they all need to come together perfectly. It’s like a complicated jigsaw puzzle where each piece affects all the pieces around it. In the end, the only way I could get it to work was to cut each piece individually to within one 32nd of an inch tolerance, hold three or four pieces together up against the wall to make sure they fit right, trim at least two of those pieces and try that whole process three more times before finally nailing a couple of pieces to the wall. It took me about two hours to install about a dozen pieces before I was totally done and had to move back to my chandelier.

3 of the 8 Feet of Corner Trim We Installed

3 of the 8 Feet of Corner Trim We Installed

Unfortunately, installing the chandelier was equally rough. Before I could even be begin the installation, I had to build a small pine wooden box that exactly fit into the peak of my ceiling to hide the electrical box that would hold the wires and support chandelier. This box had very tight tolerances, the edges were cut at 45° angles to match the ceiling and it also needed to have circular hole cut in the middle for the electrical box. Surprisingly, the box actually came together pretty well. I had been thinking about that box for a long time and had come up with what I think was a pretty good design. It was definitely precision carpentry and it took some time to create, but it came together the way I was expecting and I think it looks great. What really surprised me about the chandelier, though, was that I thought the little pine box was going to be the hardest part of hanging the chandelier. Boy, was I wrong. Actually hanging chandelier turned out to be much, much more difficult than building the box.

Beginnings of My Pine Electrical Box

Beginnings of My Pine Electrical Box

Dry Fitting the Pieces Together Before Installation

Dry Fitting the Pieces Together Before Installation

Box Screwed to Ceiling - Perfect Fit!

Box Screwed to Ceiling – Perfect Fit!

Now that I have installed the chandelier, I can clearly see that there would have been easier ways to do it, but installing it for the first time was not pleasant. Of course, it is never easy to try to hold something heavy over your head while you’re trying to screw things together. That is almost always a recipe for frustration and certainly complicated things yesterday. What was really difficult, though, was the fact that the chandelier really wasn’t designed to be installed inside a really thin remodel electrical box like the one I needed to use so. In order to get all of that work, I basically had to pry off small pieces of plastic from the inside of the electrical box and I also had to cut 3/8″ off the threaded rod the chandelier hung from. Of course, I didn’t realize I had to do any of these things until I already had the chandelier partially installed which meant that I had to struggle for 30 minutes or so trying to hang the chandelier before discovering one of these problems, taking the whole thing down and starting all over again. The only good thing is that by the time I finally went to install the chandelier for the third time, I pretty much knew the best way and right order to put it altogether and hold it over my head while I installed it. I think there’s a reason why they say the third time is the charm.

Chandelier Mounted to Box

Chandelier Mounted to Box

The great thing is that like I said earlier, the chandelier looks awesome. I really, really love it. I thought it might be too big for the tiny house, but I don’t think so. I think it looks just right and kind of like my front door, every time I look at it I’m a little bit overcome with joy. It seems crazy that it took me nearly 12 hours to install it, but even if I had known that before I got started, I probably would have still installed. It looks that good. Even better, the whole thing puts out a great amount of light and runs off of only five 5 watt LED light bulbs

Side View

View from the Side

View From Below

View From Below

I’m really grateful to my friend Leo for coming down and helping yesterday, especially with such difficult projects. He somehow managed to keep calm even when I got pretty frustrated. It was also wonderful to have a second set of hands to hold the pieces of the chandelier up while I try to screw them all together. I don’t know how I would have done that by myself. It would have been impossible.

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