Beams o’ Light Install

Let’s start with the bad. This is the type of “never again shall we speak of this” type of lesson that I like to share (once) and then move on from never to repeat again. I knew when I was picking out the lights and doing my test fittings that the amount of wire poking out was less than ideal. I planned to get around this by wiring the lights on the ground before I put the beam up and possibly pigtailing in extensions if I had to. Here’s what I had to work with:

Little wires

Do you see them? That 1-2 inches of wire coming out the back there? Yes, I thought that would be okay. I thought I could wire nut those to the supply lines. I was wrong.

I struggled with it for much longer than I care to admit, but in the end decided I had to shorten the stem of the lights. Now I could have been patient and replace the 3″ pipe extensions with 1″ ones, but that would mean a trip to the store, many coats of spray paint and most importantly peeling off the worst label stickers known to man. I think it took me an hour to get the first set of four peeled off entirely and cleaned up. So, since I had full executive design control on the project, I made a switch.

The lights went from looking like this:Lights with extensions

To looking more like … well, we’ll get to that in a second. Suffice to say, I pulled off the extensions and hooked the lights directly to the plates that connected to the beam.

In order to install the beam I added some bracing under the existing LVL, screwing them up with Scorpion screws. Side note: I love Scorpion screws and use them everywhere. I’m irrationally smitten with them.  They rarely strip or bend or do anything other than drive straight and hold tight. Yay screws.
Bracing for attaching lower beam

Since I was doing the install myself I used a bunch of clamps to hold the board up while I glued and nailed in other parts. It worked surprising well, both on the bottom and later again on the face. So let’s throw in a another Yay for clamps. Yay clamps.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

I had also already added the support strips that I would nail the face to in addition to nailing it to the bottom beam and to the supports on the bottom as well. I wired up a nice long tail for the connection to the existing ceiling bulb and them clamped up the face beam. Originally I was going to put the two beam pieces together in order to get the tightest seam I could, but during the first test fit of the length of the bottom piece I quickly realized just how hard it was to maneuver the individual pieces in the narrow pantry, let alone trying to do it once they were together.

So here it is with the shortened lights, all nailed up.
Bracing for attaching lower beam

I had really hoped that I could get rid of the ceiling light altogether, but the light is too directed and isn’t going to cut it. But oh well, now it just means I get to plan something interesting for the ceiling light too. Here’s the pantry with just the beam lights on.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

I’m actually very happy with how the seam came out on the bottom. I had originally planned to build the beam as one piece and then install it together but it was hard enough to maneuver the individual boards in the tight space of the pantry, I didn’t want to smash up the walls or the beam by doing it in one piece.

Bracing for attaching lower beam

So thankfully the only “never again” part of this was trying to wire lights up with too short of leads when I KNOW they are too short and shouldn’t have even bothered trying in the first place.

This means I can cross the beam off my project list for the pantry and move on to maybe a door? Or trimming out the lolly column?


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