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The Editors Mailbox

How Does a Fine Woodworker Change a Lightbulb?

comments (59) April 1st, 2013 in blogs, videos

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 143 users recommend

Video Length: 2:39
Produced by: Ed Pirnik

It's a question as old as the lightbulb itself, yet as far as I can tell, nobody has ever posed it to the woodworking community-so here goes nothing:


How does a fine woodworker change a lightbulb?


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posted in: blogs, videos

Comments (59)

bobwebberkc bobwebberkc writes: Ummm I don't see the humor! Isn't this the way everyone does this?
Posted: 8:38 am on May 2nd

DJknew DJknew writes: Definitely dielectric grease on the threads.
Posted: 1:55 pm on April 11th

guthormsen guthormsen writes: Now I do not feel so obsessive.

nice job/////!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: 10:57 am on April 11th

westerncraftsman westerncraftsman writes: I am of Polish heritage and my first wife was hispanic. One day while I was engaged in the activity that has spawned so many ethic jokes, my wife asked the obvious question. I sweetly told her that only one Pole was needed to change the bulb, if no Mexicans were helping. She told the story to everyone she knew.
Posted: 2:41 am on April 10th

WildcatCove WildcatCove writes: Expect a visit from several government agencies- Dept of Energy for promoting incandescent light bulbs; OSHA for not putting the proper stickers on the ladder for usable maximum weight, how not to lean to far, not to step on the top step etc etc; the Dept of Woodworking Shop Safety for not using safety glasses and hearing protection etc etc etc etc etc.. Expect several visits including the IRS to interview the actor about whether or not he was covered under ObamaCare during the video taping. Other than that the woodworking is good quality and the light bulb tool is a great idea- it should work on most CFLs!!!!
Posted: 8:16 pm on April 9th

Fabuladico Fabuladico writes: The video was very amusing. I have become very much like that guy. It's about the journey, not the destination. I used to whip projects together very quickly. They'd be functional, they's serve their purpose, but sometimes they weren't too pretty (no comments on dating intended). I learned that taking your time, enjoying the journey is really what woodworking is all about. I take things very carefully step by step, enjoying each operation, understanding that I am working with a living medium, that I am giving new life to as something to be treasured. As a result, I appreciate the results much more.

Oh and yeah, that lightbulb remover/installer is a real keeper.
Posted: 12:11 am on April 9th

Brekke Brekke writes: I think that the light bulb carrier is great. I am going to make one for all the light bulbs I have.
Posted: 7:44 am on April 8th

housecrafters housecrafters writes: Your Fine Woodworker could use a Fine Taper! Excellent video.

Posted: 12:19 pm on April 7th

Tod_Jervey Tod_Jervey writes: Wow. Glad the bulb was turned off, but I was concerned we didn't see him turn off the circuit breaker as well. Would love to have seen a hand-rubbed oil finish on that ladder.
Posted: 9:08 am on April 7th

FesGaucho FesGaucho writes: My experience tells me that Wilson tennis balls work best :)
Posted: 8:48 am on April 7th

jpierson jpierson writes: At rate I work wood... I would need to start the next ladder now in order to be ready for the next change. Of course he could have always taken the opportunity to lower the ceiling to avoid the need for a ladder.
Posted: 7:32 am on April 7th

chriskrivonyak chriskrivonyak writes: He forgot dielectric tune-up grease. I prefer Permetex. The lubrication makes bulb removal a breeze.
Posted: 12:06 am on April 7th

Bored_Cutter Bored_Cutter writes: If you believe the latest"safety" ads, the best woodworker uses a "LightBulb Stop" to change the light bulb. It uses only the latest in B.O.L.B.S.T. (Burned Out Light Bulb Sensing Technology).

That way, no tools, no sandpaper, no ladder, no brace, no tennis ball (and DEFINITELY no thought) need be used.

And by the way......Was that tennis ball cut using the latest in "ball-stop" technology, instead of caution, good judgement and focus? I certainly HOPE SO!!
Posted: 10:22 pm on April 6th

user-2410505 user-2410505 writes: sorethumbAustralia The video makes me feel a little better when I fiddle around.
A pity he didn't cut the ball in a straight cut ( a bit wavy) and I personally would have like to see dovetails on the box-would have been much smarter and taken a little more time?
Posted: 9:56 pm on April 6th

MikeDownunder MikeDownunder writes: Showed my wife the clip and she was concerned there was no safety glasses or hearing protection.

Posted: 6:28 pm on April 6th

1230truk 1230truk writes: This made my day!
Posted: 6:09 pm on April 6th

DaveHarrison DaveHarrison writes: But what about bayonet fittings? Great video - made me laugh!
Posted: 5:24 pm on April 6th

Bradleyman Bradleyman writes: I like how you are still using incandescent bulbs, (for the heat obviously) =0)
Posted: 2:23 pm on April 6th

chatito chatito writes: I do not understand why I did not think that idea before
Posted: 1:58 pm on April 6th

ggdevine ggdevine writes: LOL
Posted: 1:55 pm on April 6th

dustcloud dustcloud writes: Some Labrador Retrievers would be miffed at the waste of a perfectly good tennis ball.
Posted: 1:32 pm on April 6th

Kobash Kobash writes: What, No gloves!?!?
What was the tennis ball torqued speced at?
Some dielectric grease next time please.


Posted: 11:45 am on April 6th

Chriss7000 Chriss7000 writes: Enjoyed it...thanks for a fun moment.
Posted: 10:23 am on April 6th

ofc ofc writes: I am glad that I am not that obsessive! Great video though...
Posted: 10:05 am on April 6th

jareed jareed writes: I don't feel so alone anymore...
Posted: 10:04 am on April 6th

JimDugas JimDugas writes: Still using incandescent bulbs?
Posted: 9:40 am on April 6th

camdives camdives writes: That was absolutely hilarious!
Posted: 9:23 am on April 6th

Jay Davidson Jay Davidson writes: How many tough guys does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

None, they're not afraid of the dark.
Posted: 9:05 am on April 6th

Pinus_taeda Pinus_taeda writes: Thank you for the video demonstrating a Fine Woodworker's method of changing light bulbs. Even though I long ago replaced the incandescent bulbs with fluorescent fixtures; I still have them plugged into the same pull chain switched porcelain sockets via socket adapters. I am really, Really, REALLY looking forward to the followup video demonstrating how to replace that pull chain that ALWAYS breaks off inside the socket.
Posted: 8:51 am on April 6th

jstratoblaster jstratoblaster writes: Enjoyed the video! And, the comments, too! The music was a nice touch. I think I'll try some classical music to lend an air of elegance to my time in the shop.
Posted: 8:51 am on April 6th

shopchallenged shopchallenged writes: I agree with HappyHacker, he needs to spend a little time fixing the ceiling around that fixture.
Other than that, neat ladder, should have flat steps for better stability. But, I guess if you are going to build a ladder every time you need to change a bulb that's the fastest way to do it.

Also he should have a backup bulb in case the other one in the box isn't any good.
Posted: 8:35 am on April 6th

TrashTrapper TrashTrapper writes: I had a friend who had a similar personality. I used to kid him by telling him "When you get a project you go out and buy graph paper. When I get a project I go out and buy lumber."
Posted: 8:32 am on April 6th

AZMO AZMO writes: Well... I have found the best light bulb. Never needs changing. I have my shop fitted with homemade LED strips in aluminium channels. Even overhead glow from many lights points, so no shadows. Best of all, when swing a board up the wrong way, the bulb does not break!
Posted: 8:26 am on April 6th

2dtenor 2dtenor writes: How about a "tool test./comparison" on tennis balls in the next issue of FW? Or a "how they did it" on the medallion this guy needs to turn to go under that ceramic fixture on the ceiling?
Posted: 8:19 am on April 6th

Blasthoff Blasthoff writes: Wow, that is an inventive and very thoughtful way to remove a bulb. It just goes to show that there is always a better way. However, I must protest as to the final operation, as I believe all light bulbs need to be, and should ONLY be carefully and skillfully, "hand fitted". Precision is everything!
Posted: 8:12 am on April 6th

graydane graydane writes: Watched this before my first sip of coffee, what a wake up! Thanks Fine Woodworking.
Posted: 7:54 am on April 6th

RobS123 RobS123 writes: The best part is the new foam-encased light bulb in its own display box. How funny!
Posted: 7:45 am on April 6th

jmacbain jmacbain writes: Loved it! Thanks for the laugh.
Posted: 6:48 am on April 6th

AspenDave AspenDave writes: What is so unusual about this :))
Posted: 6:12 am on April 6th

JMHOHMAN1 JMHOHMAN1 writes: Really like the brace idea, but why not an extension on the brace and skip the ladder? Course, the extension would need to be turned on the lathe and perhaps some sort of face shield in case the bulb breaks....
Posted: 6:05 am on April 6th

slayframe slayframe writes: Super funny....... So how do we handle the squirrelly new florescent bulbs ? Oh yea and how bout a power drill in place of the b& b just a thought.

Posted: 5:54 am on April 6th

tincup57 tincup57 writes: I wish I had that much time on my hands !
Posted: 5:33 am on April 6th

HappyHacker HappyHacker writes: For someone so fastidious I am surprised by the poor detail around the bulb holder. Also it would be good practice to test the new bulb with a meter before going up the ladder to fix it and as has already been said some form of heat resistant lubricant on the thread to make it easier to remove the next time. I do not like round rungs on ladders they are very hard on the feet, proper steps would have been much better. Writing the date fitted on the bulb base allows you to claim under warrantee when the bulb does not last as long as it says on the packet, you would have to provide an estimate the usage.

I like the bulb grip, I will have to make one of those.

Apart from that very good :-)
Posted: 5:15 am on April 6th

patrickmacrae patrickmacrae writes: This is very informative as far as it goes, but can we have a follow up video on how to best ensure that the tennis ball is precisely halved?
Posted: 5:07 am on April 6th

EdsShop EdsShop writes: I saw this and it was like a lighbulb went off in my head...........
Posted: 4:41 am on April 6th

dannywatford dannywatford writes: Typical fine woodworker, use a chain pull light fixture when he could of had a low voltage controller / dimmer to do the job.
Posted: 4:03 am on April 6th

vistaturner vistaturner writes: What a great idea using the brace and tennis ball it will save me some time next time a downlighter blows Thanks Graham.
Posted: 3:37 am on April 6th

wood1shop wood1shop writes: As a reader of Fine Woodworking since issue # 001, this seems perfectly logical to me.
Posted: 3:12 am on April 6th

frontrow1 frontrow1 writes: typical sepo's , bloody light bulbs that are different than everybody else's, down here in oz we have the good old bayonet fix,
Posted: 2:55 am on April 6th

DancesWithBass DancesWithBass writes: @EngrMike, I've found that regular anti-seize lubrication, the type used for spark plugs in cars, works better for lightbulb fixtures.
Posted: 8:11 pm on April 5th

jasongetsdown jasongetsdown writes: That's hilarious! He used drywall screws 'cause it's April Fools Day! Good one guys. Nice ladder too.
Posted: 3:13 pm on April 5th

bruce277 bruce277 writes: I used to work with a guy who would tell others "not to ask me the time, 'cause I'd tell them how to make a watch."

Somehow this video brings that statement back to me.
Posted: 7:46 pm on April 4th

thebigvise thebigvise writes: This is a cute video, and it makes a worthwhile point: fine woodworking is all about the journey, the process. I'll spend two weekends on a jig or two months on a piece of shop furniture. This used to embarrass me, but I no longer make apologies.
Posted: 2:13 pm on April 3rd

kruper kruper writes: great video!!
Posted: 8:23 am on April 2nd

mnwoodworker mnwoodworker writes: Makes me want o use my brace the next time a bulb goes out! hats off once again to a job well done.
Posted: 3:19 am on April 2nd

Sharper802 Sharper802 writes: No calipers to ensure a proper fit???
Posted: 10:38 pm on April 1st

thomaswhoyt thomaswhoyt writes: Need information and type study on the brace & ball.....
Posted: 5:00 pm on April 1st

beemer7 beemer7 writes: I think the article should be titled "Selecting the propper electrical ceiling box and light fixture combination".
Posted: 4:06 pm on April 1st

EngrMike EngrMike writes: You forgot the teflon spray or silicon grease on the threads so next time it will be easy to remove. Also, reset the time meter on the fixture so you will know if the bulb lasts as long as the package says.
Posted: 12:14 pm on April 1st

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