Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pool Table Stained Glass Lamp Repair

I actually completed the repair of this lamp a couple of weeks ago. But Hurricane Sandy and Nor'easter Athena hit us hard here in Northern New Jersey.  Both storms resulted in extended power outages.  Tonight is my first opportunity to update the blog.

This lamp was made by my customer's family member several years ago and had been in storage, awaiting repair.  It is a large, heavy piece, made to hang over a pool table or bar. The construction is mostly copper foil, but has been reinforced with lead came around the upper and lower perimeters. The lamp had a few breaks at the crucial corners which weakened it.  Here's how I repaired the cracked pieces: (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here is one of the corner pieces which had been cracked .. the piece on the adjoining corner was also cracked.  I repaired four broken pieces on this lamp.  Here are two of the repairs.
 Here's another broken corner piece on the opposite side.
The first step is to carefully assess all the damage and to determine which piece to repair first.  After choosing the starting piece, carefully remove it.  I opened up the lead came which reinforces the entire perimeter by wedging a flat screwdriver into the space and carefully bending it back.

Here I'm using needle nose pliers to extract the broken piece and to peel off the old copper foil and solder which lines the space.  
Now the space is clean and the lead came is open.
The choice of glass is important with any repairs, but particularly with lamps.  What looks like a good match in natural light may not be when the light is turned on.  Here I'm holding the old piece of glass up to a replacement piece to assess its luminosity in front of another lamp.  Note that the replacement glass is actually antique glass which was recently gifted to me by a retired stained glass artisan.  (Thank you again, Bob!).  Because this is an older lamp, it is optimal to use older glass for a perfect match.  
I then made a pattern of the open space using the old piece glass as a guide.  Then I inserted the pattern into the space to ensure that it would be a good fit.
 After tracing the pattern onto the antique glass, I scored it using a pistol grip cutter.  I tapped on the score line repeatedly until the glass cracked along its entire length as shown.  Then I used stained glass running pliers to cut it to shape.
 Below, I've replaced the new piece into the space, added copper foil around the edge, soldered it, and folded back the lead came. The next step (not shown) was the brushing on of the black patina.
 Here is another corner piece which I replaced and copper foiled.  I used 7/32" foil, the same width as was used in the original construction.  Here it is awaiting soldering and the application of black patina.
A lamp of this weight requires that cleaning be done carefully with lots of clean water and a large, soft sponge.  Its too large to rinse in a sink. I cleaned up the entire lamp, and then waxed it to add shine and life to the solder and to the glass.  Here are a couple of views of the finished, repaired lamp.  Its now strengthened and ready for many more years of enjoyment by the family.

If you have a broken, Tiffany style lamp that needs repair, give me a call.  I can usually assess the damage and arrange to give you an estimate if you send me detailed cellphone photos.  Click here to see more lamp (and other) copper foil stained glass repairs.   Call me: 201-600-1616.   Click here to visit my website.  Thanks!

My next project is to build a custom stained glass window which will hang inside a wall opening which separates a living room from an enclosed porch.  It'll be another beauty.  Stay tuned.  I expect to begin working on it next week.


  1. Cool! Whoever said that the only remedy for cracked stained glass is to dispose of it was a long way off the mark. This is because with the necessary tactics and tools, there is no need to worry.

  2. Major thanks for the article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

    pool tables