Friday, May 16, 2014

Repair Billiards Pool Table Lamp

This beautiful billiards lamp came to me for repair after a fall when the ceiling fixture gave way.  Unfortunately the lamp is constructed using metal channel, which is a product generally used for framing smaller stained glass pieces.  The issue with metal channel is that once its cut, it compromises the strength of the lamp.  Also, the glass cannot be inserted directly back into the channel unless all the channel around the cracked piece is removed and replaced.  Its a Catch-22.

With instructions to "do the best I can", I set about replacing the most obvious cracks to three of the larger end pieces.  Here's how I went about the repair:

Here's the lamp.  Notice the beautiful design which employed tinned wire to accent the handles of the cue sticks and to indicate the "8" on the 8 ball.  It's approximately 30" long and 18" wide and very heavy, with two individual light fixtures inside, each holding two round bulbs.

The bottom left white panel on one side was badly cracked in the fall.  Here I'm starting to remove the broken glass.  I begin by scoring the cracked piece with a pistol grip glass cutter, then I pull out the glass with needle nose pliers.  I wear safety glasses throughout this process, as glass can fly in any direction.

Below, the glass is cleared out of the space.  Now I'm ready to apply copper foil to the inner border of the opening and prepare a pattern for the replacement glass.

Notice the detail in the "8" for the eight ball.  Very creative!

As with other manufactured lamps, the glass was not grinded before it was foiled.  This affects the adhesiveness of the foil and can affect the overall strength of the lamp, making it easier to break.  Here I'm hand-grinding a corner piece of green glass.  Notice that I've applied 7/32" copper foil to the perimeter of the opening.

I've made a pattern for the new glass by placing a piece of manila folder on the back of the opening, then tracing it onto the paper.  After cutting it out, I lay it on the glass and make a tracing with a black Sharpie pen.  Below, I'm using an oil-filled pistol grip cutter to cut the glass inside the curve.

The correct way to cut a curve is in slender pieces as shown below.  Cutting a long deep curve such as this usually results in the glass cutting straight across.  Not what you want.  By cutting in smaller segments as shown, the glass has a much higher success rate with cuts.  I use the grozier pliers shown to snap off the slivers as I go.  After each piece of glass is cut, I bring it to my electric grinder.  This smoothes out the edges of the glass, making it safe for handling, and ready to accept the adhesive copper foil.

Here I've cut a new piece of matching glass for one of the cracked corners.  Its held in place by the use of wide blue painter's tape on the inside of the lamp.  This will stay in place until after the seam is fully soldered.

 I've applied liquid flux to the copper foil which is a soldering agent.  Then I soldered the copper foil, inside and out, and cleaned it carefully with a spray cleaner called Kwik-Clean.  While I'm soldering, I wear a protective breathing mask.  I also run a carbon filter fan to clean the air.
After the solder has been cleaned, I wipe the area down with a clean towel.  This process removes any caustic chemicals and beads of solder which inevitably form.

Next, I apply Novacan black patina to the solder with a metal acid brush as shown.  The patina reacts instantly with the solder.  I then follow up by spray cleaning the area again with Kwik-Clean.  These chemicals are caustic and potentially dangerous.  Safety first.

I repeated this process three times, once on one end, twice on the other.  The lamp is not "perfect".  There are some cracked pieces which are "trapped" inside the aforementioned metal channel.  But it has come a long way from when I received it.  It will soon be ready for the family to enjoy again.

Here's a view of the end which I repaired.
 And here's a view of the other end which I repaired.

The lamp, ready to go home with its owner.  Thank you Frank, for bringing your lamp in to me.  It was a pleasure working such a unique piece!

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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