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Adding a ground wire to a fixture?

3196 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  dkeith
I have a pair of antique, 2-arm, brass sconces that were handed down from my wife's great-grandfather, and have 2 questions about mounting and wiring.

The sconces have been recently rewired for electric, with a rotary switch in the middle. The electrician is coming in to install boxes, but he will not mount the sconces unless they have a proper ground. I can do it myself, but would prefer to have a ground if I can. I could rewire the sconces, but they have candelabra bases, and as far as I can figure out, these type of bases do not take a ground wire. It seems like I should attach the ground wire to the sconce body. The back of the sconces is hefty solid metal, but I don't necessarily want to attempt to drill a ground screw into it; I don't think it is quite thick enough for a standard 10-32 ground screw, and my marriage will suffer if I screw it up.

QUESTION: How do I introduce a proper ground? Can I ground the mounting bar (see below) and then use the metal mounting connections as the ground? Is there some very smallground strap I cound screw into the rim of the sconce with a #4 or #6 screw (a little thicker) that could be used?

They are sufficiently old that they do not have standard mounting mechanisms; they have little triangular hooks on the back. I am trying to adapt them for modern wall mounting, while making as few changes as possible.

I got some 1/8" flat brass stock (3/4" x 9"), and shaped them to lay vertically beneath the centerline of the sconce. I drilled mounting holes to attach the bar to a standard box. The sconces have swirly bits at the top and holes where the old control was near the bottom; at the top and bottom, I tapped holes, and insert 10-32 studs aligned with these holes in the sconce. I have small brass washers and brass ball nut to hold the sconce in place.

QUESTION: the 1/8" brass stock creates a 1/8 gap between the wall and the sconce. You will need to work at it to get something in there. I could craft something to fill it, but it would be a pain. Please advise.

I am thinking that a filler could be crafted out of something like:

Many thanks,
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Attaching the ground wire anywhere to the metal body of the fixture will work okay.

You could get a tear drop shaped ring that the switch shank fits through and that has a tab onto which the ground wire can be soldered. Remove the switch, sand the switch hole on the back side to be shiny, put the ring against tje hole, and then re-install the switch.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks AllanJ.

I guess I was not clear that I have removed the push-button switch and am using the hole with a washer and ball screw for mounting. That tear-drop-shaped tab sounds interesting. The triangular hanger was secured with a ~#6 machine screw, which I have removed. Given this tabby thing, I could screw it in there and hang the ground wire from it. I'll have to make a clearance hole for it in the mounting bar, but that should be pretty easy.

Do I need a specific tabby thing, or can I make my own?

Any thoughts on the 1/8" gap"?
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