Monday, June 24, 2013

Fruit Lamp Repair

This gorgeous, hefty fruit-themed lamp spent many years in the owner's kitchen overseeing all the meals that were prepared as she and her siblings were growing up.  After spending some time in storage, three of the red petals above the dome became detached.  Here's how I repaired them:  (Click on any photo to enlarge):

See below the three pieces which had become detached.  Although I do have this exact red glass in my inventory, fortunately the owner still had the 3 pieces which saved time in having to make a pattern and cut new glass.

Here I'm holding up the 3 pieces to become familiar with how they fit and are attached to the lamp.

 With an old lamp, its best to go slowly and "do no harm".  I decided to leave the old copper foil and solder on the top edge of each of the pieces.  In this way, the pieces will retain the old "feel".  Since the foil and solder was still firmly attached, there was no need to remove it.
However, I did need to remove the old foil and solder where it attaches to the neighboring piece.  Here I'm using needle nose pliers to pull off the old foil and solder from the bottom of the first piece.

And here I'm removing the old foil and solder from the sides.  Notice the dried, old adhesive on the side.

Below, I'm taking the old solder and foil off of the other pieces.

Since these two pieces were firmly connected and at the proper angle, I decided to keep them that way.  I just melted off some old solder using the iron, to further clean it up.

 Goo Gone is a good product to seek out for the removal of old adhesive.  Here, each piece is getting a once-over to loosen and clean the old glue off.

 I discovered that none of the pieces had been run through a grinder.  Copper foil generally will not adhere properly to glass which is not grinded, so I did so at this step.  Then I went back with more Goo Gone and removed all remaining old adhesive.

 With all the pieces cleaned and dry, I appled copper foil to the centers of the sides and bottom as shown below.

 The foil is being pressed on with a "fid" or flexibie plastic wand.  Notice how the curved top keeps the original foil and solder.

Here I'm cleaning off the side of the piece which is still attached to the lamp.
 These red pieces are really just tacked to the metal rim around the top of the globe.  Its a rather precarious attachment, so I added more solder to each side for extra reinforcement.  Notice that I've moved the shade into a large box filled with packing peanuts.  This is necessary so that all the soldering can be done on a plane even with the floor.  The packing peanuts allow me to position the dome in any direction without putting pressure on it.

Here I'm tacking on additional solder for added strength.

 The first piece is ready for soldering.  Here I've used a long loop of blue painter's tape to hold the piece in place while I brush on liquid flux.

With the tape still in place I'm soldering the pieces together.

Now all three pieces are taped in place awaiting soldering. 
 After the outside has been soldered, I begin soldering the inside.  Notice that the textured side of the red glass is facing in.  The entire lamp has been constructed this way, with the smooth side of the glass facing out.  Its a very common choice.

The next step is to clean off the flux using Kwik-Clean Flux and Solder Spray and a fresh towel.

Below I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder using an acid brush.  The patina instantly turns the patina black.  I let the patina set, then I clean it off again with the spray.

After the red pieces are soldered securely, I began the process of cleaning the entire dome.  Since this was in a kitchen, I used a few different cleaners to loosen the grease.

After a good overall cleaning, I went into the edges with multiple Q-Tips to remove even more to get it as clean as possible.

As a finishing touch, I applied Clarity Stained Glass Compound to the entire dome.  This is a light wax with small grains of pumice.  It serves to protect the patina and bring a nice shine to the glass.

Here are the 3 red pieces, back in place.  All of the red pieces have been more strongly secured to the top of the dome.

And here is the finished lamp!   Thanks so much, Danielle, for bringing your family treasure to me for repair.  As your own children grow up, I hope it will remain a family heirloom for many more yeas to come!
I've just received the go-ahead for another window commission.  This one is a beauty and features bevels and gems.  Stay tuned as I begin the pattern making process and begin cutting the glass.

To see repairs of another fruit lamp, please click here.

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, June 19, 2013

Fairy Sun Catcher Repair

This beautiful fairy sun catcher was purchased in Florida years ago by her owner.  It holds special memories of her time there.  The fairy fell from a sliding glass door and several pieces cracked.  Here is the process to repair her .. (Click on any photo to enlarge) ..

Below is the "before" photo.  The fairy is missing part of her thigh, her hand and foot, and there are cracks in the hair glass and in one of the clear areas at the lower wing.

 Since this piece is so small, it was a better choice to replace just the hand rather than the whole arm.  Here I've made a tissue paper pattern for the upper thigh and hand.
 I had only a small quantity of glass on hand to match the existing "flesh" colors, so I opted to use my electric Omni Gryphon wire saw.  Even though I prefer to hand cut the glass, the machine gives a higher probability of a good cut and with far less chance of a "bad break". 
 The wire saw grinds as it cuts but below, I'm cleaning off a rough edge by using my Glastar grinder.  As always, I'm wearing rubber fingers from Staples.
 Now that the pieces for the thigh and hand have been cut and copper foiled, I'm soldering them to the rest of the piece with a narrow width soldering iron and 60/40 solder.
 The clear piece below had a crack in it, so I used the pistol grip glass cutter to cross-hatch the piece.  Then I broke it out using the brass end of the cutter, as shown below.
 Here the cracked clear piece has been removed.  In order to preserve the angle of the leg before I removed those pieces, I put down a piece of manila folder and traced its outline.
 Since I've recorded its orientation, I can now comfortably remove that portion of the piece.
 Returning to the cracked piece of clear glass, I'm applying silver-backed copper foil to the outer edge of the replacement piece.  I'm using silver backed because the solder is silver (not patina-ed).  Since you can see through the clear glass, the silver will show, not a copper color as on "regular" copper foil.
 Below, the clear piece has been soldered in place.  I've also removed a cracked piece from the hair.  The black marks shown on the replacement piece are a guide as to where I need to further grind the piece to fit the opening.  As good as any pattern is, small adjustments often need to be made for a good fit.
 Below, the hair has been replaced, as have the clear piece and the leg.  Instead of re-creating the existing leg which was in 3 pieces, I decided to create the leg in one piece.  It will be less likely to crack in the future and it also serves as a stronger base for the piece.
After the piece was finished, I cleaned it and applied Stained Glass Finishing Compound to protect the solder and give the glass a nice shiny.  Here's the finished fairy, hanging in the light and ready to go back to her home.
Thanks very much, Sue, for bringing her to me.  May she give you many more good memories in the years to come!

Next .. I have two potential commissions I'm working toward, and another lamp arrived today for repair.  I'll be back soon!

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!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Peach-Green-Purple Leafy Edge Lamp Repair

This gorgeous lamp, which I'll call the "Peach-Green-Purple Leafy Edge Lamp " sustained damage from being dropped.  There were a couple of pushed-in places at the top and a few pieces near the crown which came loose.  The dome is about 12" deep and 21" wide.  It weighs 13 pounds and was manufactured in China.
About 1/3 of the body of the lamp had become detached from the crown and the owner was concerned about further breakage.  The lamp could not be used because the weight of the dome was not properly supported.  My challenge was to try and smooth out the indentations and re-attach the crown to the body of the dome.  Here's how I went about the repair:  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Since this lamp shade has these delicate, uneven edges, I was careful to work on it with the edges up, dome down.  Resting the lamp on the edges could weaken the glass because of the weight of the piece.  
 The issue with the lamp can be seen in the section below the crown where a couple of pieces of glass had fallen out.  Less obvious is that there are a couple of indentations on the top part of the lamp from when it fell.  This caused some of the glass to push in, and in a few cases, slide underneath other pieces of glass.
As mentioned, this is a Chinese lamp, so although the glass has been copper foiled, it has not been soldered.  The black substance between the glass is some sort of silicone-like substance.  We don't know exactly what it is, frankly, but it does not hold glass in place as firmly or last as long as solder would. Beautiful as they are, the quality of construction and materials is always an issue with Chinese lamps.
 In order to re-align the glass pieces, I applied heat with a soldering iron to the center of each indentation.  Then I carefully but firmly pushed down on the glass until it re-gained its proper shape.  This caused the off-kilter glass to move closer to its correct position.
Below, I'm using needle-nose pliers to removed the old foil and black substance to prepare for replacement glass to be inserted.
 Since some of the old bonding material did not pull off readily, I used the soldering iron to melt it off.  Notice the ominous white smoke rising from the center of the photo to the left.  This is why I wear a protective breathing mask which filters out poisonous fumes.
 Below, the area has been cleaned out. I placed a piece of manila folder beneath this opening and traced a pattern to cut two new piece of glass.
 The pieces were then cut, grinded and copper foiled as shown.
 Here a piece is in place with copper foil around the edge of the opening as well.  The new glass is a deep purple which is actually very similar to the purple in the lamp, although it looks much darker in these photos.
 Below I'm brushing on flux to prepare for soldering.  Notice that I've moved the lamp shade into a large box full of packing peanuts.  This is to minimize pressure on the lower edge of the dome.  It is also so that the soldering can be done on a plane which is perpendicular to the ground,
 Below, the indentations have been straightened, a few new pieces of glass have been inserted and black patina has been applied.  For added insurance, I soldered a length of braided metal reinforcement tape over the new pieces to provide even more strength to the repair.  The metal reinforcement is under the dome and cannot be seen.  Also, I made sure to extend the solder lines on the glass near the crown so that the crown is soldered directly to the pieces.  Again, this was done to strengthen the dome so that less stress will be placed on the crown.
Below are three views of the repaired lamp, set atop my own table top fixture.  This lamp is actually a floor lamp.

 This view shows off the beautiful edge.  Its a very warm, stunning lamp which I hope will bring many more years of enjoyment to the owner.

 Thank you Sandra, for calling and asking me to repair this for you. I'm so happy that you can enjoy it in your new apartment .. Best of luck!

Here's a nice note that Sandra posted on FaceBook!
Thank you did an awesome job on my lamp!! I just love it and thanks to you I now have it in my new home!! I can't thank you enough for your wonderful work! 

My next project is the design and building of a custom oval window.  Its about 31" high and 19" wide.  Stay tuned as I begin working on it. Thanks!

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!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Floral Fire Screen Restoration

At long last, I've completed restoring a gorgeous but badly damaged fire screen.  This was a particularly ambitious project, so I'll give it its due with 50 photos and detailed explanations of the process.  The fire screen is 40" wide and 34" tall and weighs just over 21 pounds.  I fit in a few smaller repairs on other projects, but I spent just over 3 weeks on this project, replacing 38 cracked pieces.  I'm very pleased with the results.  Here's the story .. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Marked with blue and white tape are the cracked pieces slated for replacement.
 This is a sampling of my on-hand glass which I used for the restoration.  Other glass which was not in my inventory was ordered to ensure a reasonable match to the existing colors and textures.  The challenge with any repair is matching the glass.  In this case, I was able to find close, if not exact, matches to each piece.  In a few cases, I was able to remove a larger piece of glass within the piece and use it elsewhere for a smaller repair.
 Below, damage can be readily seen at the top of the screen, with the reinforcement bar visible and many broken pieces.
Here's a close-up of several pieces needing replacement.  When a heavy piece such as this takes a fall, the shock of the landing travels through the glass.  Several pieces which were not visibly cracked at first glance, broke easily when nearby pieces were removed.  This is not an unusual occurrence with pieces which sustain damage in a fall. 
  I started the restoration at the top of the piece by removing the cracked piece completely. Below, I'm tugging off the old copper foil and solder with needle-nose pliers.  When possible, this method is preferable to melting it off with the soldering iron.  It's quicker and does not create harmful fumes.

Since some of the old solder and foil would not readily come loose, I melted it off where it was attached to the supporting rod at the top.  That rod is a structural part of the piece.  Its never a good idea to attempt to remove such a support.  The best thing to do is to repair it and build the new glass back in.
 Now that the area is totally cleaned of old materials, I slid a piece of manila folder underneath and traced a pattern to be used to cut the replacement glass.
 I traced the pattern onto the glass with a fine Sharpie marker and cut it out using a pistol grip glass cutter.  There's oil in the handle which serves to keep the cutting head lubricated.  The oil also helps to separate the glass. Note that I've made some notes on the pattern.
 There are several tools used for cutting and grinding stained glass.  Here I'm using "grozier pliers" to remove a small piece of glass on an inner curve.
 Once the piece is cut, it gets grinded.  Notice I'm wearing rubber finger tips from Staples.  They not only protect my fingers from cuts but they also give a better grip on the glass.
 Then the piece is rinsed off.
 Here I'm placing the new piece into the fire screen.  At this point, copper foil has been applied to the edges of the piece as well as to the interior border where it will be placed.
 Below I'm applying Canfield liquid flux to the copper foil seams.  This is a chemical agent which allows for soldering.
 And here I'm soldering the piece in.  Because this fire screen weighs over 21 pounds, I am working on the front side only at this point.  My first credo on any repair is, "Do no harm".  If I attempted to turn it over after each replacement I would risk further damaging it. 
 The impact of the fall caused the supporting top rod to break away.  Inside that metal border is a black spongy material. Since this piece was made in China, I do not know what it is.  I've found that the best repair for this type of rod is a paper clip.  So here, I've cut apart a large paper clip with wire cutters and taped it to the existing rod with a piece of copper foil. 
 When the piece of glass directly next to the repaired rod is soldered, it will attach itself to the repaired section and thereby restore its strength,
 And here's a view of the first several pieces, replaced and soldered.
 Moving inward, here I'm taking out pieces of the rose with needle nose pliers.  Notice that I have a small piece of cardboard underneath.  Its important to replace pieces on the same plane.  I use corrugated cardboard and sometimes several layers of thinner cardboard so that the new piece rests in the opening at the proper height.
 Here's another piece, ready to go in.
 Here's the other side of the curved reinforcement rod.  I'm removing the old solder and copper foil.
 And again, I've extended and reinforced the broken rod with a large paper clip.  I sank a couple of inches of the paper clip into the black spongy material that's inside that metal bar.
 Here's a side view looking inside the metal bar.  There is an indentation that goes in about 1/2".  Therefore, I cut every side piece with an additional 1/2" or so added to that side so that it fits inside that channel.  This gives the overall piece more strength.
 Unseen below, but the pattern goes inside the metal bar.
 Another piece replaced. 
 Another side piece broken out.
 Piece and inner border have been copper foiled ..
 .. and soldered.
 Moving onto one of the flowers.  Here I've taken out two pieces and marked the patterns so that I know which side of the glass will face out.
 Three pieces cut and ready to be grinded.  Notice that the smallest piece was made from a larger, cracked one.  On any repair, I try to re-purpose the glass.  Its the best way to get a perfect match.
 Two pieces of the rose copper foiled ..
 .. and soldered.
 Moving down to the bottom of the fire screen, here I'm removing old foil and solder.
 The blue glass used in the bottom is a thicker, more dense glass than what was used up top.  This glass below is called Uruboros and it is actually more like stone than glass.  I've found that using a pistol grip cutter is not appropriate for this glass.  It cuts badly and the risk of waste is very high.
 Therefore, I opted to use my Gryphon Omni2 Plus Wire Saw.  Its a beast of a machine, very loud and a bit scary, but it does a wonderful job of slicing through thick glass.
 The cutting blade, which is in constant motion, requires that water be sprayed onto it when it is in use.  This means that the glass also gets waterlogged and any markings will be washed away.  Therefore, I used inexpensive lip balm to coat the markings before cutting.
 The wiggly line shows how nervous the machine makes me .. but it does cut like butter and the small variations are easy to smooth off later.
 Here's the new blue piece in place with another cut out and ready for replacement.
 Cracking out another side piece.
 More cracked glass being removed.  Its always a good idea to wear eye protection during this process.  Cracking glass has a tendency to fly everywhere.
 That piece is removed and another pattern has been made.
 And here that piece has been soldered.
 Shown below, I'm preparing to crack out another piece by cross-hatching it with the pistol grip cutter.
 Here I've replaced several more pieces.
 Voila!  At this point, 38 pieces of glass have been replaced.  Each is marked with a small square of manila folder paper. (Click on it for a closer view).
 Close up shot of repairs made.
 Throughout this process, the fire screen has been laying flat, facing up.  Here I'm removing all the flux and solder residue by spraying on Kwik-Clean Stained Glass Flux and Patina cleaner. 
 Here I'm brushing on Novacan Black Patina.
 When the patina has been washed and the entire piece is dry, I liberally apply Clarity Stained Glass Finishing Compound to the entire side.  Then I rub it over the piece and allow it to dry, then I buff it.  This protects the solder and gives the glass a nice shine.
Now that the front side has been completed, I carefully turned the piece over with the back side facing up.  I then fluxed, soldered, patina-ed and waxed the back as well.  Then I took a closer look at all of the work and made a few minor tweaks to my satisfaction.
 And here is the finished piece!
 This restoration was a long process, but Gail .. I hope you love it!!  Thanks for giving me the opportunity, much appreciated!

 Next up is a lamp repair followed by a custom oval window ..

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!