Step 3: Cut the Wiring Channel

cutting the lamppost's wiring channel with a circular saw
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Follow this three-step sequence if you plan to connect a low-voltage landscape light fixture. If not, skip to Step 6.

Mark the centerline of the post from where it will meet the ground to its intersection with the lantern arm, 6¼ inches from the top of the post. Use a ½-inch spade bit and a drill/driver to bore a ½-inch-deep hole at that intersection. To make the wiring channel, set the blade of a circular saw to ½ inch deep and make several cuts parallel to the centerline, no more than ¼ inch to either side. Do the same from the drill hole toward one edge of the board. On the lantern arm, follow the same process to continue the channel from the post; drill a similar turn hole 2 inches from the end, and cut a channel to the edge to reach the lantern.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      sliding-compound miter saw
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • circular saw
      circular saw to cut wiring channel
    • cold chisel
      ¾-inch chisel to clear waste wood from wiring channel
    • hammer
      hammer
    • combination square
      combination square
    • caulk gun
      caulking gun
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      pneumatic finishing nailer
    • flush-cut handsaw
      flush-cutting handsaw to trim dowel rods
    • sledge hammer
      3-pound sledgehammer to set lamppost
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • random orbit sander
      random-orbit sander

    Shopping List

    24 common cedar board. Get one 8-footer to make the center post and lantern arm.

    16 clear cedar boards. Get two 8-foot lengths to clad the post.

    210 clear cedar board. Get one 6-footer to wrap the base of the post.

    construction adhesive

    2- and 2½-inch-long finishing nails for a pneumatic nailer

    -inch hardwood dowel

    -inch-diameter spade bit waterproof carpenter's glue to glue dowel rods in place

    polyurethane glue for mitered joints on the decorative base

    100-grit disks for the random-orbit sander

    1-inch screw hook for hanging the lantern or light fixture

    copper candle lantern

    low-voltage land-scape light fixture (optional)

    transformer (optional)

    12-volt cable (optional)

    cable staples (optional)