Friday, April 4, 2014

Fruit Lamp Repair #7

I recently finished a commission of four kitchen cabinet panels for a contractor who is rebuilding a home damaged by fire.  As soon as I completed that, I started on another commission, this one for a newly renovated kitchen in Omaha, Nebraska.  It features 15 bird panels plus a larger bird panel.  These projects will be posted in the near future.  For this post, a recently repaired lamp  ...

The seventh 1970's era fruit lamp sustained relatively light damage in comparison to other lamps I've repaired.  Only one panel on the top of the dome was cracked.  Here's how I replaced the cracked piece it.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here's the lamp with the cracked piece clearly visible on top of the dome.

 The first step in repairing any lamp is to locate matching glass.  This lamp appears to have been constructed using more than one kind of translucent green-amber glass.  I was able to locate a very good match.  Below, I've already scored the cracked piece with a pistol-grip glass cutter.  I'm now pulling out any glass which did not fall out by using needle-nose pliers.

 Now all the glass has been removed.  The next step is to pull off all the old solder and copper foil from the border of the cracked piece.  I've started the process by melting off the old solder with a hot iron.  At this stage, since I'm working with solder, I'm wearing a lead protectant face mask and I have a carbon filter fan on in order to trap harmful fumes.  Safety first.

Once I've melted off most of the old solder and foil, I'm able to use the needle nose pliers to gently tug off more of it.

Below, I'm using a cotton ball soaked in Goo Gone to melt off all the old adhesive which was left behind by the copper foil.

After the borders are clean, I cut a piece of manila folder behind the opening and trace a pattern as shown below.

Below, I've adjusted the shape of the pattern to be sure it will fit well into the opening.  I've placed the pattern on top of the glass and I'm tracing it using a fine Sharpie marker.  Notice the beautiful shades of color in this glass. I placed the pattern over a lighter part of the glass to get a good match to the adjacent pieces already in the lamp.

Using a ruler along the Sharpie line, I cut the glass using my pistol grip cutters.  Then I pressed the edges of the glass against the electric grinder to smooth the edges.  There is a reservoir of water beneath the grinding surface.  The water is drawn up to the grinding bit by the purple sponge. Note that I'm wearing rubber fingers, found at any Staples or Office Depot.  They protect my fingers from cuts and make it safer to handle the wet glass.  After the glass is ground, I run it under the sink and dry it off.

 Below, I've lined the border of the opening with new 5/32" copper foil.  This is the same width as was used in the rest of the lamp.  I'm using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to press the foil onto the glass.

This is the view from inside the lamp dome.  I've used blue carpenter's tape to secure the piece so that it is flush with the adjacent pieces.

With the tape still in place, I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foil with a metal acid brush.  The flux acts as a catalyst to make the solder flow smoothly,

Below, I've soldered over the foil lines on the outside of the dome.  When the solder settles, I turned the dome over and fluxed and then soldered the inside of the lamp as well.

Next, I'm applying black patina to the solder after I've cleaned and dried it.  The patina reacts immediately with the solder.  After a few minutes, I wash off the patina as well.

And here is the repaired lamp.  After the piece was replaced, I spray-cleaned the entire lamp, inside and out and applied stained glass finishing compound which is a light carnauba wax.  It serves to protect the patina and give the entire lamp a nice shine.

And here's another view of the repaired lamp.  This summer, it will be on its way to Puerto Rico as a gift.  Thank you Javier and Edgardo, for trusting me with this wonderful lamp.  It was a pleasure repairing it for you!
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!

No comments:

Post a Comment