Tuesday, August 20, 2013

White lamp with Checkered Edge - Repair

Another lovely lamp came in last week for repair.  This one is rather small, about 13" across, but it sustained major damage requiring the replacement of 20 piece of glass.  Here's the process .. (Click on any photo to enlarge .. Click on "X" in upper right to return to blog.)

Here's how the lamp arrived.  It seems to have rolled when it fell because there was damage on all sides.  This caused the normally round lamp to be pushed out of shape.

 I marked the cracked pieces with rectangles of blue painter's tape as shown below.

The shape of the lamp is very evident when viewed from the side.

Below, I'm carefully pulling the sides of the lamp outward and turning the lamp in a circular motion, to try and help it regain its shape. 

After assessing and marking all the cracked pieces with squares of blue tape, I started replacing those which were closed to the cap.  Here I'm using needle-nose pliers to extract the cracked glass, one piece at a time.

Now I'm removing the old solder and copper foil using needle nose pliers.  For the smaller pieces of green or white glass, I melted it off using a hot soldering iron.  Either way is effective.
 After I completely cleaned the old adhesive off the borders of the opening using a de-greasing spray, I traced the opening onto a piece of an old manila folder as shown below.  This is then cut out and used as the pattern for the replacement glass.
 Here are a few of my tools .. a pistol grip cutter, a thin line Sharpie pen and an old flat plastic ruler.  I traced the piece onto the edge of the glass, and knowing that I had several, similar sized pieces to cut, I extended the score across the entire length of the glass.  Using the brass end of the cutter, I tapped repeatedly on the cutting score until the piece separated. 

Below, I've scored the glass with the pistol grip cutter and am using a (blue) pair of running pliers to snap the glass in a straight line.

 Below, I've lined the opening with adhesive copper foil.  To assure a strong bond for a new piece, its necessary to completely clean and re-foil the outer border for the replacement pieces.
 The next step is to grind the edges of the newly cut piece.  This protects the skin from cuts and allows the copper foil to adhere.  Notice that I'm wearing Staples rubber fingers which protect my fingers from the sharp glass.
 Next, I'm pressing the copper foil onto the glass using a "fid" or flexible, flat, plastic wand.  This prevents fluids from getting under the foil.
 Next I brush on liquid flux, then I solder the piece in place.  This piece has been taped in place from the inside of the dome using wide blue painter's tape.  Also, I've placed the lamp in a large box of packing peanuts so that the surface to be soldered will be face up.
 After 7 pale amber (whitish) pieces were replaced in the dome, I moved onto the green pieces at the edge of the lamp.  By this point, the shape of the lamp had recovered nicely.  Below, I'm pulling out a piece of the green edge using needle-nose pliers.  Notice the piece of blue tape on the triangle above the green piece.  This means that that piece is cracked and also needs to be replaced.
 All stained glass lamps are reinforced at the edge with a wire that runs along the outer edge of the glass on the border.  You can see that wire in the photo below.  I always keep that wire intact since it maintains the structure of the lamp.
 Below, I've removed the green piece as well as the white triangle which was also cracked.  I've also cleaned the inner border of the opening and then lined it with copper foil.
 Then, of course, I apply copper foil to the edges of each of the new pieces of glass.  I set them in place as shown below, apply liquid flux with an acid brush, and then solder them in place, both sides.
 Here is a view of that wire that runs the perimeter of the lamp.  It sits in the center on top of the copper foil. When I apply solder to that outer edge, the wire becomes fused with the glass, adding strength and shape to the dome.
 The next to final step is to apply Novacan Black Patina to the solder lines, using an acid brush as shown.  The patina works instantly.  I then let the lamp sit for several minutes before spraying the areas with Kwik Clean Flux Remover.  I then thoroughly dry the lamp with a cotton towel.
For the final step, I apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound to the inside and the outside of the dome.  This product protects the solder and gives the glass a nice shine.

I replaced a total of 20 pieces of glass in the lamp, 10 green, 7 white (pale amber) rectangles, and 3 smaller triangles. Below are three photos of the completed lamp, now round and free of cracks. 

Thank you Mike, and little Patrick, for bringing your lamp to me for repair.  It was a pleasure meeting you both and I hope you and your family enjoy the lamp for many years to come.

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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