Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Floral Iris Lamp - Repair

This beautiful floral iris lamp dome suffered extensive damage during an accidental fall.  Over 20 pieces cracked.  Per the owner's request, I did only the "necessary" repairs which amounted to replacing 15 pieces.  The remaining cracked pieces will not interfere with the strength of the lamp.  Here's how I did the repairs.  (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look).

Here's the lamp shade which is 25" across.  The "must replace" cracked pieces are marked with an oblong of blue tape.  The "may replace" pieces are marked with white tape.
 I started first on a yellow piece, so I'll follow through all the steps using the yellow as an example.  First, I am working from the inside of the lamp dome to cross-hatch the cracked piece using a pistol grip glass cutter.
 Next, I tap repeatedly on the scored piece with the brass end of the glass cutter to break it up.  I use needle nose pliers to remove any remaining shards of glass.
 Below I'm melting off the old solder and copper foil from the interior of the space occupied by the cracked yellow piece.  I'm wearing a 3M Tekk "Professional Multi-Purpose Respirator" to protect myself from harmful fumes.  The mask is specifically made to filter out lead fumes.
 Much of the old solder and foil was removable using just needle-nose pliers.  Below, I'm in the process of pulling more off.  Its important to clear off the entire inner edge before replacing any pieces.
 Below, the edges are now clean.  I've laid a piece of manila folder below the opening and traced it to make the pattern, which I cut out with regular scissors.
 Below, I've traced the pattern onto the glass using a fine Sharpie marker and I'm cutting the piece using the pistol grip cutter.
 Cutting curves is a bit of a challenge.  They  need to be done in thin segments, as shown below.  I cut the curves in rows and remove each row with grozier pliers.
 Running pliers (blue) are used to snap a straight cut as shown here.
 Once the piece is cut close to the outline, I grind it.  The purple sponge is drawing water up from the reservoir below the cutting surface, to make sure that the spinning grinder is always wet.  I'm wearing rubber finger protectors from Staples Office Supply.
 Next comes the copper foil.  I've chosen to use 7/32" foil for this lamp.  It is self-adhesive and is laid onto the center of the sides of the replacement glass.
 Below I'm using a flexible plastic wand or "fid" to press the foil onto the glass on all sides.
 Here the new piece is placed into the opening.  Note that I've lined the opening with copper foil as well.
 To secure the new piece in the dome while I solder it, I've taped it in place on the outside.
 Below I'm brushing liquid flux onto the copper foil.
 Here, I'm applying solder to the copper foil.  The solder will receive an application of black patina later in the process.  First I'm going to score, cut out and replace all the "must replace" cracked pieces, working from the inside of the lamp dome.
As the work progresses, note that the yellow and turquoise pieces have been cut from patterns and placed into the dome. As the repairs progressed, I ended up replacing a few more pieces than I originally intended, but I'd rather do additional work than leave a lamp in less-than-top-notch repair.
Below, those two pieces and the interior of the spaces have been copper foiled.
 Now they've both been soldered.  Note that I've placed a piece of blue tape on the left side of the right piece of glass.  Since the neighboring piece of glass is also cracked, I won't solder this side until that piece is in place.
 Below, its a bit difficult to see, but the edge of the lamp is reinforced with wire.  Here I'm melting off the old solder and copper foil from the wire.  To maintain the stability and strength of the lamp, I'm leaving the original wire in place.
 Note the original wire, cleaned up.  I'm repeating the process of laying down a piece of manila folder to trace a pattern for the edge.
 And here's the edge piece in place.  Again, since the neighboring piece (marked with blue tape) will also be replaced, I won't solder that edge until it is also replaced.
 Below is a summary of the pieces replaced so far.  Click to enlarge for a closer look.  The pieces must be replaced in a logical order so as not to compromise the strength of the piece as its being repaired.
 Another piece is copper foiled and is ready for soldering.  I've used some glass from my inventory for this repair and I also purchased a few new pieces of glass for closer matches to the existing colors.
 At this point, all the pieces destined for replacement are completed from the inside of the dome.  Its time to solder the outside, which must be done horizontally to the floor so that the solder will flow properly.  Here I've placed the dome in a large box full of packing peanuts.  They serve to cushion the dome and enable the top surface to be moved to the proper orientation.
 Below I'm applying liquid flux to the outside of the pieces.  Soldering is not shown here, but that is the next step.
 After the dome has been soldered, I clean off any residue by spraying on "Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Remover" followed by drying with a clean cloth.
 Here I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder lines.  It instantly turns the solder black.  After letting it sit a few minutes, I spray on more Kwik-Clean.  Then I dry it off, apply stained glass finishing compound (wax) and buff it to a shine.
And here it is, repaired. The shade is very large and obviously uses a much taller fixture, but this will give an idea of the lamp after the repairs. 
 Thank you Gail, for the pleasure of repairing your beautiful lamp!

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (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.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

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