Monday, June 3, 2013

Lavender Lamp Repair

While I continue working on repairing a badly damaged fire screen, I've fit in a few smaller repairs.  Here's a lovely lavender glass lamp which sustained some damage when its owner was practicing her tennis swing indoors.  Luckily, just one piece broke and it was a simple repair.  Since this lamp was a gift from the owner's daughter, she wanted to have it repaired.  Here's the process ... (Click on any photo to enlarge).

The broken piece is shown on the edge of the lamp.

 Close-up of cracked piece. 
 The first step is to use a glass cutter to cross-hatch the piece, then use the back of the cutter to tap on it repeatedly until the broken piece is completely removed.  Below, the dome is laying on its side and I'm working from inside.
 Below I'm using needle nose pliers to pull off the old solder and copper foil.  The outer edge of the replaced piece must be completely clear of old materials.
 Since some of the solder will not easily loosen, below I'm using a soldering iron to melt it out.
 After the inner border is cleaned out, I've placed a piece of manila folder beneath the opening and I've traced it to make a custom pattern piece.
 To check the fit, I've placed the cut pattern piece inside the opening.  Opalescent stained glass usually looks different on each side.  I needed to have the softer, lighter side of the glass facing out, so I labeled the pattern "inside" to be sure that the correct side of the glass would be facing the inside of the dome.
In the bottom left is a large piece of lavender glass from which I'll make the replacement piece.  I keep a rather large inventory of glass on hand at all times and I had the same glass available for this repair.
 Below, I've traced the pattern onto the glass using a fine Sharpie marker.
 After the piece has been cut, I grind the edges. I'm wearing rubber finger protectors from Staples.  After the piece is grinded, I run it under water and dry it off.
 Below, I've placed the newly cut glass into the opening, again just to assure a good fit.  Some glass requires multiple trips back to the grinder to get them just right.
 Below, I'm wrapping the new piece of glass with 3/8" copper foil.  Copper foil comes in several widths.  Most lamps are made with 3/8".
 After the foil is applied to the edge and pressed down on each side, a "fid" or flexible plastic wand, is used to press the foil even more tightly onto the glass.  This prevents any chemicals or other liquids from seeping under the foil and thus weakening the bond.
 Here I've placed the foiled piece of glass back into the opening.  I've also added copper foil to the inner border.
 Below, I've secured the new piece in place using blue painter's tape.  I've also set the entire lamp dome into a large box which is filled with packing peanuts.  Here I'm brushing on liquid flux to prepare the foil for soldering.
 The lamp is placed in the peanuts face up so that the surface being soldered is perpendicular to the floor.  Here I'm applying solder to the edges of the new piece.  Next, I solder the inside of the dome in the same manner. After soldering, each side is cleaned off using Kwik Kleen Solder and Flux Remover.
 Below, I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder.  It instantly turns the solder black.  I let that set for 10-15 minutes, wash it off with Kwik Kleen, let it dry, and then apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound which adds a nice shine to the glass and also protects the patina.
 And here is the finished piece!
 Another view of the lamp after the repair.
Thank you Dotty for bringing your lamp to me!  And good luck with that tennis swing .. (Just stay away from the lamp next time .. LOL).

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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