Base for Light Fixtures

nut strip
Most of us attach light fixtures directly onto our plaster walls. This is facilitated by the metal flush boxes embedded in the wall. The metal boxes usually come with two strips for nuts (see insert) inside it to which the light fixture can be bolted on.
The problem is that often the nut strips get rusted or corroded making it impossible to bolt on a light fixture. An additional problem is poor workmanship while embedding the flush boxes resulting in the wrong alignment of the nut strips. I have often found it impossible to properly secure a lighting fixture on my walls and it is frustrating to have to prise out the old flush box and install a new one.
Another problem with directly attaching lighting fixtures is that some lights particularly the ones with electronic starters often blacken the walls over time with a sooty emission.
All these problems can be obviated by using a wooden base for light fixtures. I make the wooden bases out of rubber wood boards, stain and polish them lightly and then fix them on the wall, leaving a small outlet for the electrical wires to pass through. This removes the problem of sooty emissions and improperly fixed, loose or anaesthetic fixings.
To make the base look a little attractive on its own, I first saw it to size and then rout the edges. I usually use fasteners with plastic plugs for attaching the base on to the walls. It is always better to get a fairly long plug and screw because to be really secure the plastic plug needs to embed itself into the brick below the plaster. The short plugs supplied by most light manufacturers are grossly inadequate because cement plaster in India tends to be sandy and crumbles easily. The plaster alone rarely has enough strength to hold onto a fixture which over time either becomes loose or falls off.
See the photos below to get an idea of what exactly I am talking about.

This is an example of a light fixture mounted directly on the wall. This is the most common way of fixing lights and usually does not present a problem. However, there are some situations where it is advisable to mount a light on a wooden base.
Select a piece of board or wood larger than the size of the light base, cut it to size and rout the edges with a moulding bit of your choice. Then lightly polish it with shellac or any finish of your choice. Avoid oil finishes as they require more maintenance.
Another example of a mounting board. This one has been cut square.
Use good quality fasteners for mounting the base on the walls. I prefer Fischer fasteners but they tend to be rather expensive. I tried some local copies of the Fischer fasteneres but they proved to be a disaster as the nails bent while I was hammering them in! The imitations are half the price of the Fischer originals but not worth it in the end.
This board has been drilled at a couple of places to allow the electrical wire to pass; it has then been fixed on the wall.

One example of mounting board with a light. Looks better and classier in my opinion.

Another kind of light on mounting board.

Caution: Please swtich off the mains before making electrical connections unless you are skilled at doing this.


  1. Hello Indranil....was searching for woodworkers in India and chanced on your blog. Thank you for sharing your work. I noticed you have slowed down since your last post. Please continue. I'm reachable at pakka dot narasinga at gmail dot com

  2. Hi
    this is a fantastic blog. I chanced on it today. I am from Vellore and also am a DIY enthusiast especially with woodwork. It is wonderful to see your finished products. Do continue to blog and wish you the very best

  3. Thanks dudes for the encouragement! Plan to add as much as possible when I get the time.


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