One minute, 26 seconds. That's how long it took to assemble the largest candlestick pictured here, one of more than three dozen ideas in Stephen Antonson and Kathleen Hackett's “Home From the Hardware Store.” The best craft projects generate an immediate reaction — quick recognition of a bit of wit. In this case, it's an amusing riff on silver candlesticks using steel hex bushings from the plumbing aisle of Lowe's. Wipe them clean with a damp rag, screw them together, done.
The only other work left is to shave the base of a standard taper, so it can nestle snugly in the top hole, and to light the match.
The authors suggest uniform candlesticks made with hex bushings, starting with one that's half an inch in diameter on one end and three-quarters-inch on the other. That piece screws into another bushing that's three-quarters-inch on one end, and 1 inch on the other. The size of the bushings grow in quarter-inch increments, ending with a 1.5-inch piece as the base. I used the same gradations of hexings but bought different bases, including one 1.5-inch T-shaped pipe fitting.
For the sake of photography, and to emphasize the contrast between the rough industrial candlesticks and the smooth, refined tapers, I left the hardware in its raw silver state. But I do think it would look good sprayed a glossy white or black.
Other projects in the book (Rodale, $22.99) — wall shelves, room screens, retro lighting, even a table runner made from copper flashing — seem plausible, if you don't mind a distinctly homemade look.
The results for this one? Quirky candlelight for a modern loft or even a Craftsman table. A fitting gift for the hammering-sawing-sanding ultimate DIYer. A prank present for the mother-in-law, perhaps wrapped in a Waterford box. The possibilities are endless.
— Craig Nakano
Photos: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times