• Published on | Jul 06, 2014 | by Chris Osborn

Lighting Up the Fireworks

Back when I first started doing fireworks at my house, we need a place to stack all the fireworks and sort through them to decide what should be lit and when. I cobbled something temporary together out of scrap wood I had around. Over the years it has evolved to make setting it up and taking it down easier. Instead of screwing supports together, they are now hinged. Pieces of wood that had been intended to be re-used in real projects later have now become permanent parts of the stand. A few years ago my mom even painted the stand so it would look nice!

When it comes time to set off the fireworks though it's dark and it's hard to see labels and what's still left in the piles. Flashlights work but are a nuisance. I tried screwing in battery powered lights, but it seems they never work right or I forget to turn them off and waste a fresh set of batteries. Last year I wondered if maybe I could find a lighting solution that wasn't handheld or needed me to remember to put in fresh batteries. Then it hit me: solar lights!

Using solar lights seemed like a great solution. I could drill holes in the top shelf, drop the lights in, they would charge all day and then when we put things on the top shelf it wouldn't matter since by then it would be dark. At first I was thinking I would need to build some kind of support system to hold the lights. After I measured them though they were only 1.25" thick, just enough less than a 2x6 that all I needed to do was drill a hole.

The lights I used were some leftover solar lights that I had got at Wal-mart years ago. I had pulled them out since they were getting beat up from the gardeners hitting them with the weed wacker and a few just weren't working anymore. I only needed a few working ones and I only needed the top light puck, not the whole stake or lens, so they were perfect.

To make the holes, I used a forstner bit on my drill press and set the stop to go down just deep enough that the light would sit flush when inserted. Then I drilled a second smaller hole in the center of each one to let the LED poke out.

The setup worked great and the solar lights provided more than enough light to be able to keep the show moving without any delays!

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