Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fruit Lamp Repair #6

These lamps were very popular in the 1970's.  They've hung in kitchens and dining rooms all across the country and have been handed down with great appreciation for their value.  They are constructed with 3-4 pounds of solder and altogether with the glass and brass band, they weigh about 12-13 pounds.  So when these lamps fall, they tend to sustain a great deal of damage.  This lamp was no exception.  Twenty-three pieces of glass needed replacement in addition to 4 dimensional glass pears and 1 red apple.  Here's how I repaired it .. (Click on any image for a closer look).

Here's a view of the two damaged crown pieces and the nine dome pieces, all marked with pieces of blue tape.

When the lamp fell, it appears that it rolled on the floor.  Three sides were heavily cracked as shown by the taped pieces.

 Area to the left of the photo above showing more damage.

 This photo shows a crushed pear and apple as well as another pear which has cracked.

There is really no right sequence to begin repairing a lamp with this much damage.  For this lamp, I decided to tackle the crown first.  Below, I've used needle nose pliers to remove the cracked glass.  Here I'm pulling off the old solder.  

I prepared a manila folder pattern using one of the existing crown pieces.  Then I traced it onto the glass.  Using a pistol grip glass cutter, shown below, I made a 90 degree cut across the top of the piece.
 These blue "running pliers" readily snap the glass at the line.

Then each piece goes to the grinder.  The edges of each new piece of glass must be ground, not only to protect fingers but to assure good adherence of the copper foil to follow.

On the left is a 35' roll of 7/32" self adhesive copper foil.  Here I'm pressing the foil onto the glass using a "fid" or flat, plastic, flexible wand.  This assures that no chemicals or liquids make their way under the foil.

Here the two new crown pieces have been soldered in place.

A bank of seven pieces of glass cracked on one side of the dome. This area was also crushed in by the impact.  Before I remove the glass, I put on a glove and carefully pulled up on the soldered lines to get it back into shape. Its important that all the glass be on the correct plane before repairs are made.

Below are two areas which I've removed, cleaned up and re-foiled in preparation for replacement glass.
 The view from inside the dome.  Here I've traced the two openings onto a manila folder which I'll cut out for patterns to make two new pieces of glass.

Here, both pieces of glass have been replaced in the dome.  The top piece has been soldered and the bottom piece is copper foiled.

Now I'm ready to tackle the larger area of cracked pieces.  Here I'm using wire cutters to clean out the old solder and copper foil.  I'll use a hot soldering iron to melt out the old solder and copper foil which border this area.

Now the area has been cleaned up and I've applied copper foil to the perimeter.  Notice that there's a single piece of cracked glass at the lower left.  I'm going to replace that separately.  Because this piece will be removed, I have not added copper foil to it.

After I traced the interior onto the manila folder, I'm preparing the pattern.  I'm using stained glass pattern shears to separate the pieces.  These shears are double bladed.  They take out a small area which will be taken up by copper foil.  This promotes good fitting glass.

 The view from inside the dome.  Here I've removed and replaced the five of the six pieces of cracked glass.

Now I've removed that seventh piece and am applying the copper foil to the interior border.

Now all seven pieces of glass have been replaced.  After I clean off the area, I apply Novacan Black Patina with an acid brush as shown.  It instantly turns the solder lines black.  After letting it set a few minutes, I clean that off also.

Now the crown and the dome are repaired.  Now I'll move onto the sides of the lamp.

Whenever I apply flux to the glass or perform any soldering, I'm wearing an OSHA approved lead filtering mask.  I also use an electric charcoal filtered fan which attracts the fumes.  Safety first.

Below, two pieces of glass have been replaced and I'm working on a third.  I've decided to start on one side of the lamp and work my way across in order.  I'll replace the pear next.

Here's the new pear in place beside a grouping of amber glass rondelles, the grapes.  Notice the wire which I've attached along the border.  All stained glass lamps have this wire.  It reinforces the border and adds a great deal of strength.

A look at the progress so far.  The glass on the right has been replaced .. the blue tape-marked pieces on the left are next.

 Here are the final two pieces to be replaced, a pear and a crushed apple.

Using wire cutters, I snipped off the old copper foil and solder and I melted off the borders as well. I then applied copper foil to the entire border.

Here the new pear and apple are in place and soldered.  I'm applying the black patina to the solder. I also bent a length of wire to the entire bottom edge below the apple and pear.  The wire connects to the existing wire on each side.  After the fruit has been soldered in place and patina-ed, the wire becomes invisible.
 Here's the view from inside the dome.  After I've done all the work on the exterior, I turn my attention to the interior.  I added solder where needed, then I applied the black patina and thoroughly cleaned the entire lamp of all chemicals and bits of solder.  The final step is to apply and buff stained glass finishing compound to the entire lamp, inside and out.  This compound brings out the shine in the glass and protects the patina.  The lamp will need no maintenance other than an occasional dusting.

And here is one of three views of the side of the lamp, repaired and ready to go back to its owner.

Another view of the repaired side ..

And another view, below.  Thanks so much Debbie for arranging for your friends to get the lamp to me from your home down the shore.  I look forward to having you see your lamp back in great shape again.  It was my pleasure to repair it for you and your family!
To see other fruit lamp repairs, click here.  Note: This lamp will be posted first (as of December 31, 2013).  Scroll down to see others.

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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