Friday, February 21, 2014

Replacing Ring onto Stained Glass Lamp

This pretty stained glass lamp came to me with the ring partially detached.  Here are the steps I took to not only repair it, but strengthen it as well.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here is the lamp.  Its a beauty, made with opalescent glass with a floral pattern.  All the glass was in fine condition, but the ring had started to separate from the body of the lamp.

Below, I've carefully pulled up on the ring to remove it entirely from the lamp.  In order to do the repair, its necessary to completely reconstruct the original method of building the lamp.
 In order to assure a firm bond, all of the old copper foil and solder must be removed.  Here I'm using needle nose pliers to pull off the old foil and solder.
 Now the ring has been removed and cleaned.  Below, I'm carefully tugging off the old foil and solder from the outer edge of the border glass which surrounded the ring.
 The next step, is to scrape off the old adhesive left behind by the copper foil.  Here I'm using a razor knife to scrape it off.  I also use a generic de-greasing spray as well as Goo Gone.
 About half of the border glass had become loosened when the ring started to detach.  Here I've removed the first loose piece.  I've labeled it "out" to signify that the piece needs to face out when its replaced later.
 Now I've removed five pieces of loose border glass, cleaned them with the razor knife, de-greaser and Goo Gone.  I've also added fresh 7/32 copper foil to the edges of each piece as shown.  Note that they are also numbered now, so I can replace them in the same sequence.
 And here's the top of the lamp, with six pieces of border glass removed and the edges cleaned.  The remaining six pieces were still firmly attached.  There was no need to remove them.
 Next, I'm applying 7/32" copper foil to the entire border.  I'm first pressing it into the glass with my fingers ..
 Then I go in with a "fid" or flexible plastic wand and apply pressure to the top and sides to be sure that no chemicals can leak beneath it. 
 Here, I've taken the cleaned ring and covered the outside with copper foil.  I started with 1/4" foil, then added two overlapping rows of 13/64" foil.  Having the entire outer border foiled will provide more areas with which the solder will adhere, thus providing more strength to the repair.
 Here I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foil.  Notice that I'm holding the ring in place using a wide piece of blue painter's tape.
 To add more strength to the repair, I'm using braided copper wire.  Below I'm doing a process called "tinning".  I'm brushing the wire with flux ..
 Then I'm applying a thin coat of solder.  I'm using two small beads of solder as shown.  That's all that's needed.  Once the wire is "tinned" it will immediately affix itself to the adjoining pieces once the solder is melted.  An instant bond.
 Here's the view from inside the dome.  I'm now applying the tinned wire reinforcement to the ring.  Using the hot soldering iron, I melt it into the existing solder.
 Here's a view of the side of the lamp.  At this point, the stronger pieces of border glass have been soldered directly to the ring.
 Now I'm placing the other border pieces into the lamp, between the ring and the body of the lamp.  Notice that there is blue painter's tape beneath the glass, to hold it in place.  Also notice the wire reinforcement under the glass on the right.  I've added another row of the reinforcement here, to be sure that these pieces do not become loose again.  After all six pieces have been set in place, I brush on flux, then I soldered each copper foil seam.
 Here's the view from inside the dome, the six border pieces and the ring re-installed with solder.
 Still on the inside of the dome, I've cleaned off the soldered area and I'm applying black patina from the bottle cap as shown.  For this process, I use a metal handled acid brush.  Once the patina is set, I clean this area again with a spray patina remover.
 Then I turned the lamp to the outside, apply patina to the outside, clean it and let it dry.  As a final step, I applied stained glass compound to the entire lamp, inside and out.  This is a light wax which protects the patina and solder and gives the glass a nice shine.
Thank you Lynn, for bringing your Christmas wreath and lamp to me for repair.  I can't wait for you to see them both "in person"!

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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