Friday, October 12, 2012

Mission Lamp Repair

Thanks to Joan at Wyckoff LIghting Center at 390 Franklin Avenue for asking me to repair this beautiful Mission style lamp.  For your lighting needs, give her a call at 201-891-3600 and tell her I sent you.  Thanks!

Here are the steps used to repair the lamp.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).
The lamp had this one broken corner panel.  The tricky part about broken edge pieces on any lamp is the metal channel which supports the lower edge.  In every case, where possible, I leave that metal channel on and fit the glass into it rather than attempt to remove and replace the channel later.
Finding a good match is a challenge with any repair.  The brown glass used in this lamp is not available in the retail market.  A former stained glass artisan had recently gifted me with his collection of glass, including some brown glass which was perfect for this lamp.  It doesn't have the same texture, but the shade of brown is spot on.  Below, I'm holding the piece under the light to assess the color match.
The next step is to remove any shards of glass which remain.  After those are removed, I pull off the old copper foil with needle nosed pliers.
 More twisting and pulling to remove all of the old solder and foil.
As a final touch, I used the soldering iron to melt some of the remaining lead around the corners.
As always, when soldering lead, wear a protective breathing mask such as the one below.  Sperian makes a lead-specific mask for around $15, available at most hardware stores.
 Next, using an old manila folder, trace the opening for a pattern.
Assure that the pattern is the correct fit by inserting it into where the glass will be soldered, as shown.  After some tweaking, the pattern was a perfect fit.
Here I'm using a pistol grip glass cutter to score and cut the glass.  For straight lines such as this, I lean the cutter against a plastic ruler as shown.  (My left hand is holding the camera .. I press down on the ruler with my left hand when I'm not taking photos).
Next, the glass goes to the grinder.  To protect against cuts, I'm wearing rubber finger protectors, as always.  They're available in a few sizes at Staples.
Next is the application of copper foil to the center of the edges of the glass.  I'm using 3/16" black backed foil which is similar to what was used for the rest of the lamp.
 Then I re-foil the now vacant spot where the new glass will be soldered.
Since it is liquid metal, soldering needs to be done on a level surface.  I carefully placed the lamp into a box full of packing material, making sure that the piece to be soldered is level with the floor.
I applied liquid flux to the copper foil and soldered that side, then did the same for the inside of the dome.
As soon as the solder cools, I brought the lamp to the sink for a good washing with powdered cleanser and an old dish brush as shown.
Next comes the patina.  Since this lamp was black, I used black Novacan. It is brushed onto the solder which turns black immediately.  Then it gets rinsed off with cool water.
To freshen up the whole lamp, I washed it in the sink, dried it, and then applied Clarity Stained Glass Compound which is a light wax.  It protects the solder and gives a nice shine to the glass.
 And here's the finished repair!
Next up is another lamp repair.  This one is very large, meant to be placed above a pool table.  Check back soon to see that one as it progresses.

To see more of my work, please visit my website (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Thanks!

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