Use standard 18 gauge lamp cord (SPT-1 or SPT-2) to power each sec-tion of pipe and run all the male plugs to the same end of the pipe. There’s a temptation to tape the lamp cord to each section to the outside of the pipe because it’s easier. I found out the hard way when you arch the pipe in the wrong direction there won’t be enough slack in the wires if they’re taped so forget about bending any-thing. For the pipe to easily arch in any direction, you need to run the power to each section inside the pipe. Stand at one end of your pipe and notice the manufacturers writing running the full length. Use that as a straight line down the pipe. Drill a ½” hole in the center of each 15 inch section along the manufacturer’s writing, use a Sharpie or other per-manent marker to number each sec-tion (1-8) and snake your electrical wires inside the pipe. The lamp cord and vampire plugs work fine. If you don’t have a fish tape, 12 gauge rigid copper wire will do the trick. Be sure to label your plugs (1-8) as you go. Running the wires inside the pipe is the most tedious part of the build. It’s all downhill from here. 34 PlanetChristmas | September 2014 Finally it’s time to wrap lights around each section. Use any type of lights you want but let me suggest using the same lights for all of your leaping arches. Chuck gave me a bunch of incandescent 100 count mini-lights he bought at Home Depot the week after Christmas for $0.62 each. Ends up each pipe section needs one string of 100 lights. Connect the light string to the vampire plug, wrap the sec-tion of pipe uniformly and use an 8” tie wrap to secure the end of the light string around the pipe. Keep repeating until all eight sections are covered with lights. I’ll admit in the beginning to wrap-ping the pipe by hand but that became incredibly boring. I had seen the video where a potato peeler motor was used to spin the pipe to make wrap-ping the lights much easier. My wife didn’t have a motorized potato peeler so I went looking for a solution at my local big box store. While walking the kitchen aisle I saw an electric hand mixer for less than $7. It had multiple speeds and one of the mixing paddles looked like it would easily connect to the end of my 10’ pipe. Mine! At home I hooked up a little foot switch to the mixer and started wrapping pipe as the mixer turned it. Everything became so much easier, at least until I saw some really dark looking smoke beginning to Stand at one end of your pipe and notice the manufacturers writing running the full length. Use that as a straight line down the pipe. Everything became so much easier, at least until the third pipe when I noticed smoke pouring from the motor.
PlanetChristmas Magazine September 2014
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