lighting made from architectural salvage

Maker of the Month – February

Congratulations to February’s “Maker of the Month”, Joe Ferguson!  


Here’s the story of Joe’s creation his own words:

“As I was wandering around a favorite, local Richmond, VA, salvage yard (thanks, Paul’s Place), I came across about 10 matching corbels lying around randomly, some in better condition than the others. While I really wasn’t planning to build a light fixture, the corbels intrigued me, so I laid two corbels on the ground, facing away from each other and got the inspiration of lights hanging off each end. So, I took a picture, texted it to my wife and she agreed that it had potential. I negotiated what I thought was a fair price and brought the corbels home. On my way home, I imagined a couple of copper pots hanging from each end.

For the next few weeks, everywhere I went, I was looking for just the right size and patina on a couple of copper pots and I eventually found them at two different antique stores down in the Williamsburg area. But something was missing and I wanted another part to the fixture. After trying multiple, unsuccessful items, my eyes caught some of the porch balusters of varied sizes leaning against the wall of my garage that I had purchased for another project. I grabbed a few and low and behold, one of them was the exact length of the corbels, and same white, chippy paint that worked perfectly between the two corbels. Ironically, I also got the baluster from Paul’s Place as well.

In the meantime, as things were coming together, we decided this could be a statement light fixture over the bar in the kitchen of our lake house in Clarksville, VA. So now that I had all the parts, along with some rusty chain that I ordered from Etsy and all the lamp parts, we brought them to our lake house one weekend and I started to assemble everything. This was my very first attempt at a light fixture of any size, so putting the electrical parts together was a bit of trial and error, heavy on the error, as I needed a couple of trips to the local hardware store before I finally had it all successfully wired and ready to hang.

Next came the challenge of how to hang it, with a rather heavy fixture. After a few trips into the attic, I figured out how to get the “J” hooks solidly screwed into the attic floor joists and centered over the bar. I added a couple of Edison bulbs to give it an antique feeling, although, truth be told, the light from those bulbs was a bit harsh, so adding a dimmer switch helped tone the glare down a bit.

We thoroughly enjoy our corbel light fixture, always getting positive comments from family and friends when they visit.”

Here’s a close-up of the project:

About Joe

I am a weekend warrior from Chesterfield, VA, always either wandering around local salvage yards, dumpster picking (if I can’t reach it, it wasn’t meant to be) or checking out antique stores for the perfect piece to my next project. When not looking and imagining a new project, I’m pulling out the tools and equipment to build my next repurposed creation. Most of my work takes place on the weekends. My wife Jan and I have traveled to Roanoke three or four times to Black Dog, always being fortunate to chat with Mike, Tay, Ted and Robert, and one time, Grayson, who sold us some Black Dog apparel. I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from the Dawgs, but always wanting to put my own imagination to work to create items that I’ve never seen others create. I’m quite envious of the broad array of power equipment that the Dawgs possess, always wondering how much more efficient and precise I could be with all those tools. Maybe one of these days I can upgrade to a real shop, rather than pulling out my power saws and tools from under the house, setting them up in my garage, working on a project, then putting everything back under the house. I honestly spend more time setting up and taking down my equipment than I do actually working on my project, but it is what it is for the time being.

Thank you for sharing your craftsmanship with us and the rest of the world, Joe.  Enjoy your new KEEN Utility boots!