I am going to be putting some outdoor lighting in my yard soon and have been less than happy with the price and quality/design of the outdoor lights that I have been looking at. I was thinking about designing and building my own lights. Has anyone done this?
The main thing that I am worried about is preventing water from getting to the lights.
Are you talking about tea or walkway lights, patio lights, safety lights?
I also saw an article demonstrating how to make walkway lights out of cedar and mahogany, they were about 4ft tall and looked great. I think it was in Handyman mag a few months back. I too will look through my archives.
I was actually thinking of running the wiring up through a metal tube that was inside the main post of the light. That way, I could have the actual wood stop at ground level and have the metal tube extend into the ground.
The metal tube is a good idea. My posts are about 3' above the ground and another couple under. I didn't have a drill that long to hide the cord in the middle! Although, they do sell long drill bits ~4' for alarm system installations. If you make the box out of individual pieces it will look nicer and you'll have more design flexibility. I learned a bit more about woodworking in years since I made those, and would approach the task differently now. I would add more style to the design rather than just functional. :)
The idea that I have come up with is a fusion of mission and japanese style pagoda lights. about 2' tall. See the extremely rough drawing for an idea of what they look like. These lights will be run around the permiter of the yard.
I was thinking about using either teak or ipe for weather resistance. I also wanted to use copper for accent pieces and to deflect the light down.