Thursday, May 23, 2013

Amber Diamond Lamp Repair

This lovely little lamp had been in storage for so long that it's owner couldn't recall how it broke.  But 5 pieces along the lower edge were cracked.  Here's how I went about repairing the lamp.  See more lamp repairs under "Projects" to the right of this post.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Below, three of the cracked pieces are shown, each marked with a piece of blue tape.
Because I repair so many lamps, I usually have amber glass on hand in a few different shades.  Each sheet of amber glass contains variations of color from pale creamy white to a medium caramel.  Below, I'm matching up a piece from the lamp to the piece in stock to be sure they have the same luminosity .. and they do. 
 The first step is to score the cracked piece with a glass cutter, then, using the brass end of the cutter, tap repeatedly on the piece until it cracks further and starts to fall out.
 Below, the glass has fallen out and I'm pulling off the old solder and copper foil with needle nose pliers.  Prior to replacing a piece of glass, the borders must be cleaned of old materials.
 Here I'm pulling off more old solder and foil.  I clean the border further by applying the hot soldering iron to areas which are resistant to the pliers.  Then I simply melt off the remaining solder.  Of course, a protective breathing mask must be worn whenever solder is being melted.
 Below, I've traced the cleaned-up opening onto a piece of manila folder.  This becomes the pattern for the new glass.
 Below, the pattern has been traced onto the glass .. The glass has been cut and grinded .. Copper foil has been applied to the edges of the new piece of glass as well as to the inner border of the space.  Once the glass is set in place, I put a piece of blue tape across it on the inside of the dome to hold it in place while I solder it.
 Here, the new piece has been soldered and the flux has been removed using Kwik-Klean Flux and Solder Remover.  After it dries, I apply Novacan Black Patina with a metal brush.  Then the newly patina-ed areas are cleaned again.
 And here it the repaired lamp!  At this point, I've cleaned up the lamp using glass cleaner and I've also applied Clarity Stained Glass Compound which gives it a nice shine and adds a protective coating to the patina.
Thanks Joan, for thinking of me when you decided to repair your lamp .. It was my pleasure!

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!

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!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Adding hooks to small stained glass panel

Yesterday, I completed a small job for a couple with a very sentimental stained glass panel.  It belonged to his mother and hung in a window over Lake Michigan for many years.  Its a beauty .. Its just 10" square and features iridescent glue chip glass and an etched oval bevel in the center.  It had originally been constructed with very thin wire hanging loops at the top, one of which snapped when it was taken down for cleaning.  Here's how I replaced those hooks:

Since I'd be melting off the corner solder, I "trapped" the piece in a "jig" or metal fence before starting the work.  The blue pieces of tape at the bottom indicate where the new hooks will be.

 Its important to make the hooks out of metal which will accept solder and therefore bond to the metal channel, the frame.  Coated wire will not work, neither will flexible jewelry wire.  I've found the best and strongest metal for hooks to be paper clips.  Below, I used the red-handled jewelry tool to wrap an approximately 1" straight piece of a large paper clip into a loop.  Rather than twist the wire below the loop, I bent the bottoms side by side.  In this way, more of the surface of the paper clip will adhere to the frame, making for a stronger bond.  I also used the needle nose pliers and common pliers to bend the loops.  (Click on this or any photo for a closer look).

 This panel is an older piece and the copper patina has naturally oxidized over time.  To mimic the color, I mixed about 80% copper patina with 20% black patina in a film container.  The color was a perfect match.
 I "tinned" each hook, meaning that I applied liquid flux, then soldered both sides.  I then added a few beads of solder to the frame, laid the tinned hook onto the beads and pressed the hot soldering iron onto the hook to melt the solder below to create the bond.  To stabilize the hook in place, I held onto the hook end with the needle nose pliers.  If the hook slides out of place, it can be re-positioned by re-melting the solder.
 For added security, I melted additional solder on top of the base of each hook.  Then I cleaned both areas with spray flux remover, and brushed on the custom-mixed patina.
 Since the chain for this panel is also darker copper, the new hooks blend right in, looking like just another loop in the chain.  As a final touch, I applied stained glass finishing compound to the piece, to protect the solder and give it extra shine.
 Here's another look at this beautiful little panel.
Thank you Diana and Daniel for finding me .. It was a pleasure restoring your sentimental panel for many more years of enjoyment!

I'm currently working on repairing a large, 25" wide lamp.  Stay turned ..

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!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Vase of Flowers Stained Glass Fire Screen - Repair

This beautiful fire screen suffered several cracked pieces when it accidentally fell.  Its a Chinese piece, which, as I've mentioned in previous posts, requires extra care.  But all's well that ends well.  Here's the story of the repair of this beautiful piece which I completed three weeks ago.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here's its "before" photo.  The cracked pieces are marked with pieces of blue tape.  Click on it to enlarge for a closer view.

 Below are a couple of close ups of the damaged pieces.

 After I've assessed the damage and marked the pieces that need replacing, I've used a pistol grip glass cutter to cross-hatch the top side of a cracked piece.  Here, I'm tapping on the glass repeatedly, causing it to crack out.  I use needle nose pliers to remove remaining bits of glass.
 For this project, I used two soldering irons, one more narrow for the soldering and the wider one to melt out old solder and copper foil.  As always, I wore a protective breathing mask while soldering.
 Below, I've cracked out four pieces of glass, two near the flowers and two at the upper border.
 Below, I'm using the wider soldering iron to melt out the existing solder and copper foil.  Before replacing cracked glass, its important to create a clean surface to allow for maximum fit and adherence.
 Below, I've cleaned up the interior border and slid a piece of manila folder underneath.  I've traced the inner border in order to make the pattern for the replacement.  I also marked the direction of the amber glass so that I can cut a new piece in the same orientation.
A little "still life" below .. My grozier pliers which I use to crack and shape glass, two pieces of replacement glass with their patterns, my pistol grip cutter and a thin black Sharpie pen used to outline the pattern onto the glass.
 Below, I'm wearing Staples' rubber fingers as I hold the newly cut glass against the grinder.  Grinding the glass is essential, not only for safety but for the adhesion of the copper foil.
 Here I'm applying 3/16" copper foil to the edges of the glass.
 Below, pressing the copper foil onto the glass with a "fid".
 Now the inside border as well as the piece have been copper foiled.  Here I'm applying liquid flux to the foil to prepare it for soldering.
 Using the thinner soldering iron, I'm applying solder to lock the glass in place.
 Notice that I've cut and laid down a piece of corrugated cardboard beneath this piece, to get it on the same plane as the rest of the fire screen.
 Below, I'm using the end of the pistol grip glass cutter to smash out another piece of cracked glass.
 Below, that piece has been replaced and I'm moving on to the neighboring piece by tracing a pattern for the new glass.
 Now that piece has also been replaced and soldered.  Below I'm brushing on Novacan Black Patina for Solder which works instantly to change the silver solder to black.
 Below, a quick view of the work at this point with the cracked floral pieces replaced.
 Onto the green border.  Here I've used an existing piece of glass as a pattern. 
 Below, I'm using the wide soldering iron to melt the old solder and copper foil off the outer wire of the fire screen.  I've left that wire in place intentionally in order to maintain the structure and strength of the piece.  Notice the nasty white smoke emanating from the soldering iron.  I'm wearing a protective mask for this process.
 Now the wire has been cleaned off as well as the borders, so its ready for the new glass.
 Below, the new glass has been cut, grinded, foiled and has been placed in the piece.  Not shown here, but this piece was soldered soon after.
 Below are the final areas which will receive new glass.  At this point, the borders and the wire have been cleared of old solder and copper foil.
 Below, the new glass has been foiled and set in place.  Note that both of these pieces are cut larger than what can be seen.  Both the amber and the green fit into the black frame of the fire screen.  Again, I did this to secure the stability and strength of the piece.
 Here both pieces are being soldered in place after being fluxed.
 And again I'm applying the black patina so that it will match the rest of the piece. After the patina process, I spray the area with flux remover, rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly.  The finished piece then receives a coat of wax which is buffed to a shine.  My husband also repaired the chain (not shown) which attaches the "wings" of the fire screen to the front piece. 
 And here is the finished window.  (Click on it to enlarge)
Thank you so much, Penny and Kevin, for bringing your fire screen to me for repair.  I know how much this one means to you and I hope you'll enjoy it for many years!
(P.S. If anyone is looking for a talented harp player, let me know and I'll connect you to Penny).

Next up:  Repairs to another fire screen and two lamps.  Stay tuned for those.

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!