My wife just bought a lamp at Target, the kind you have to self assemble the rod from 4 hollow pipes and a base, where the electrical wire is already threaded through all of them. Each of the 4 sections screws into the one below it, and finally the bottom one screws into the base.

The rod sections / pipes screw into each other perfectly and tighten nicely.

The last one that tightens into the base is a bit too large, you can screw it on all the way but then the whole thing wobbles, if I try to tighten it anymore it keeps turning freely. After unscrewing it and re-screwing it back a few times I realized it is so big it literally can be pushed down instead of screwed in.

This thread has some interesting suggestions: What can I use as a thread "tightener" compound for a free-running bolt?

I tried plumbers threading tape and it got squeezed out and shredded and didn't really make a difference. I tried Scotch tape and had the same results. (I do think I may have put too much of both, I probably went around 7 or 8 times).

Finally I tried dental floss, which helped some - its a bit tighter now and I just left it as is.

Any other suggestions?

Since I saw this question on other threads: The base itself has an extruding nub with threads that the bottom section covers and screws over. Both of them have threads. Both of them are hollow and the electrical wire goes through it all.

  • 5
    It sounds faulty, why not just return it to the store?
    – BMitch
    Feb 6, 2016 at 12:35
  • 1
    There might be a solution, but I'd also say to just return it and get another.
    – TFK
    Feb 6, 2016 at 14:06
  • 1
    I would return it and re-consider purchasing that type of lamp altogether. The replacement of the same type has a good chance of having the same cheap quality that you experienced with the first one.
    – Michael Karas
    Feb 6, 2016 at 23:50
  • Thanks all, I was planning on defending our intent to not return it based on my wife's tendency to be ultra picky with lamps and furniture in general, so that since we found one she liked I'd rather keep it and try to fix it. However, after reading her all of these responses, you guys convinced her. Something I usually can't do. We're going to target tomorrow to return it.
    – Gal
    Feb 7, 2016 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


That's a common failure mode for those lamps; the threads are fairly shallow and prone to stripping out. Though if it happens immediately, rather than after a few years of use, I would definitely return it for refund and/or replacement.

If it fails after the warranty has expired:

It is possible to kluge the connection by wrapping the threat in teflon plumber's tape; enough layers will tighten the connection so the remaining threads can engage. This, too, tends to eventually fail, but you may get several more years of use out of the lamp.

Theoretically you could sweat-solder the mechanical connection, but you'd probably ruin the lamp's finish. Obviously you'd want to remove and reinstall the wiring so its insulation doesn't melt during thd attempt to solder it. And I'm not sure what solders would be compatible with the lamp's metal.

Realistically, most of us consider these lamps disposable. I just discarded one myself, after scavenging some parts that I'm planning to reuse.

  • OK, we're convinced, we're going to return it tomorrow. I was going to try to salvage it because its so hard to find something that she likes, but after showing her all of these responses, every one of which recommended a return (at least once if not twice) - she was convinced. We're returning it tomorrow. Really it was just thinking about how long this lamp is going to last, with its defects...its in my sons room so its gonna take some extra beatings.
    – Gal
    Feb 7, 2016 at 2:57

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