Monday, December 15, 2014

PVC pipe menorah

Last year, I got ourselves PVC pipes, draped them with LED lights, and called it our outdoor menorah. It felt funny, like channeling some inner Chabad. Also, I wanted my kids to look out the window at our menorah, not just wistfully at our neighbors' lit-up lawns and houses.
Marking off the measurements
This year, I had the whole plan to make a base for the menorah out of PVC connectors. I was hoping that the boys would design the stand, make all the measurements and I would serve as an advisor and chauffeur to Home Depot for the supplies. As it was getting closer to Chanukah, it was becoming clearer that if i wanted the menorah to have a base, I will need to take matters into my own hands.
10 yo using PVC cutters. I was nervous about his fingers,
 but he was quite careful
Very conveniently, a local Chabad was holding a menorah building workshop in Home Depot this past Sunday. I signed the kids up, and, once they were situated under my husband's supervision, I went off to collect the necessary supplies. I must have been quite a sight, marching through the store with a 10 foot pipe protruding from both ends of the cart. I got one long pipe, T connectors to hold up each "candle" and X connectors for stabilizing feet. I also got super cement to glue the whole thing together. Finally, I splurged on PVC cutters, as I was not sure what length we will need for each piece.

This morning, I started off by telling 10 yo that his math involved figuring out how to measure and cut the correct length of each piece. We sketched and diagrammed. I ended up calculating with him together. It was not as trivial as it appeared, and he ended up having to multiply both decimals and fractions (that is the section that he is currently learning in math). Once all the measurements and the calculations were complete, we had to wait for 1 yo take his nap, so I could focus on the older kids.
the base
At the beginning, all three participated, but then the younger two went off to play. 10 yo did most of the work. He marked off the measurements, used cutters to clip sections, and connected the pieces. He commented how the completed base looked like an antenna. I ended up winding up the lights.Two of the strands were used for the Succah, so I'm yet to retrieve them.
attaching the legs to the base


I did not ended up using PVC  cement, as we found that the piece fit in snugly without it. I liked the idea that I can take the menorah apart every year instead of being forced to store it as one bulky piece (it is 5 feet long). That being said, I am not sure whether it will be sturdy enough without the glue holding the pipes in place. We will live and we will learn.

1 comment:

  1. I have a couple design mods for your menorah!

    1. Glue the verticles into the slot of their corner, T or X. This will prevent those parts from getting lost.

    2. Line up your menorah laying down as if you are going to assemble it and glue the short connecting pipe to either all left holes or all right holes. This will prevent those parts from getting lost. (do not glue both sides)

    3. Assemble without gluing, the menorah allowing the feet to hang off the end of the table. Now, using a drill, drill a hole through the unglued union all the way through. You can then insert a nut and bolt, vinyl or standard, or a hinge pin.

    These mods will insure you do not loose parts during storage and will keep your menorah collapsible while at the same time insuring that a strong wind does not blow one or more of the candle sticks over.

    Take care!