Monday, November 24, 2014

Floral Stained Glass Lamp Repair

This large, beautiful lamp was accidentally broken by a young boy.  His mother offered to have it repaired for her friend who owns the lamp.  Kathleen, Anne and I had a fun time in my studio, going through my glass inventory.  We came up with glass that was an almost-perfect match to each of the pieces that were cracked.  Here's the process.  (Click on any photo to enlarge for a closer look).

Here is a view of the side showing some of the cracked and dislocated pieces.  There were about 19 that had to be replaced.

Another view .. Each of the blue pieces of tape marks a cracked piece that needs replacement.

Here is the beautiful palette of colors that the three of us decided upon.  All were in my extensive glass inventory. This glass is "opalescent" which means it is a denser glass and gives a softer glow.  "Cathedral" glass is clear or colored and can be textured, but it is more see-through.  We did not use any Cathedral on this project.

Here are two of my tools .. The blue "running pliers" snap straight scores as shown.  Beneath that are is my oil-filled pistol grip cutter.  To make a straight score line, I press a flat ruler against the glass and run the blade portion of the cutter at a 90 degree angle along the edge of the ruler.  Then I tap repeatedly on the front and back of the glass.  It will eventually crack.  There is another tool called a "grozer" (not shown) which bites off smaller pieces of glass.

Safety first .. Lead is dangerous to work with so I always have a filtered fan running and I wear a lead-protectant 3M breathing mask.

Below, I've used needle-nose pliers to pull out the cracked glass.  I'm also pulling off the old solder and copper foil.  In order to replace glass, the borders of the old piece have to be cleaned off.

On another area of the lamp, I'm using the soldering iron to melt off old solder and foil.  Depending on the age of the lamp, this can be a time-consuming process.

After the border is cleared of old solder and foil, I use a spray cleaner on it to rub off any remaining old adhesive.  When its dry, I center 7/32" self-adhesive copper foil around the edge as shown.  Then I press the copper foil into the glass using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand.  This prevents chemicals from seeping under the foil and improves the longevity of the bond.

After the opening has been cleaned and foiled, I lay a piece of manila folder on the other side and I trace a pattern for the new glass as shown.  To assist me in deciding where on the sheet of glass I should cut for the best match, I mark the pattern "inside" or "outside", referring to its position on the lamp dome.

Here I'm grinding a piece of replacement glass.  

Using a fid to press the foil onto a replacement piece of glass.

Here the replacement glass has been foiled, as has the perimeter around it.  

Here the new piece is in place and soldered on the outside of the dome.  (See it above my name),

Here is another view of the soldered replaced piece which shows more damage needing attention at the edge of the dome.

Another piece soldered and a few more removed.  I am always careful about the sequence when doing a lamp repair.  Its important to remove the pieces in such a way as to not affect the structural integrity.  I generally work on only a couple of pieces at a time, start to finish.  Then I move on to the next area.
 Below. I'm using blue painter's tape to hold a new piece of glass in place.  Notice the new foil on the adjacent two pieces.  I've replaced the old foil there to add strength to the repairs.

Now the damaged area has several replacement pieces, done in such a way that the colors are a good match and the glass is firmly bonded.

In a few cases, I removed only half of the cracked glass and let the other half remain in place.  With a floral design such as this, this is an acceptable practice as it adds more dimension to the lamp.  Below, since I left glass behind, I'm grinding it with a metal file.  This process roughs up the glass and enables the new copper foil to adhere properly.

And the process is repeated, over and over, until the lamp is fully repaired.  Here I'm pulling off old foil and solder from another cracked piece.

And here's the opening with the border cleared.

The replacement piece ready for soldering.

When holding the light up, I noticed a couple of light leaks.  To block them, I added trimmed copper foil strips to the inside of the lamp and anchored them with solder to the existing solder lines.  The foil was then fluxed, soldered and patina-ed.

At this point in the process, all of the cracked pieces, and light leaks, have been replaced, liquid flux has been applied and each piece has been soldered and thoroughly cleaned and dried.  Here I'm applying Novacan Black Patina with a metal acid brush.  It instantly turns the solder black.  After it sets for a moment, it also gets cleaned off.

And here is an "aerial" view of the lamp, fully repaired.
 Another view of the repaired lamp, below.  Thank you Kathleen for your generosity in offering to repair Anne's lamp.  I hope she will enjoy it for many years to come!

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, November 14, 2014

Small 6-Panel Stained Glass Lamp Repair

This lovely little lamp is special to my customer because it belonged to her Mom.  One of her cats accidentally knocked it over and broke the only one of the 6 panels which had the artist's signature and floral artwork.  Here's how I went about making the repair.  (Click on any photo to enlarge).

Here's the lovely little lamp.  The damage is evident in this photo.

Seen from inside, with the artist's signature.  I offered to save all the pieces of glass since the lamp is very sentimental.

The first step is to remove all the glass in the broken panel.  Here I'm pulling it out with needle-nose pliers.

Its also necessary to clean up the borders of the space.  Here I'm using my soldering iron to melt off the old copper foil and solder.

Now the borders are clean and ready for copper foiling.

Below, I'm using part of a Manila folder to create a pattern for the replacement glass.

Its a perfect fit.

Tracing the pattern onto the glass with a Sharpie pen.

Using a flat ruler to press against, I'm scoring the glass using an oil-filled pistol grip cutter.  (If I weren't holding the camera, I'd be pressing on that ruler with my left hand).

When the replacement glass is cut, I run the edges along the bit of the electric grinder.  This makes the glass safe to handle and allows the copper foil to adhere properly.

Here I'm applying 7/32" wide self-adhesive copper foil to the edges of the glass.

Next, I'm applying the same width copper foil to the edges of the open space.  Then I'm pressing the foil onto the glass using a "fid" or stiff plastic wand.

Now the replacement glass has been soldered in place.

Then I apply two strips of the copper foil to the outside of the seam in order to match the rest of the lamp.

Before doing any soldering, I apply liquid flux with a metal brush, as shown below.

View of the copper foiled seams.

Now the strips have been fluxed and soldered.  I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the seams using a metal brush.  This chemical instantly turns the soldered copper foil from silver to black.  After each step in this process, I'm spraying the area with Kwik-Clean Flux and Solder Cleaner and wiping it off with a towel.

And here is the repaired lamp.  Thank you Lyn for entrusting me with this sentimental gem.  May it shine on for years to come, in memory of your Mom.
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, November 5, 2014

Stained Glass Kitchen Cabinet Panel made into a Window Hanging

Inserting stained glass panels into kitchen cabinet doors is a popular way to decorate and personalize a kitchen.  Stained glass pieces, properly cared for, last dozens of years.  In many cases, the kitchen needs renovation before the stained glass does.  This blog entry shows the process of re-purposing a pair of Iris-themed kitchen cabinet panels.

Here are the pair of Iris panels as they came to me.  I added a Post-It note to the top to indicate the front of each panel, at my customer's preference, since either side would look good.

 Her request was to simply add hanging hooks so that her mother could put them in the windows of her new apartment.  However, this panel was not reinforced with a metal frame. Without the reinforcement, the hooks would have eventually caused the panels to crack.  Below, see that I've added a thin zinc "channel" frame to the sides and bottom of the panel.  Holding the metal framing in place is a "jig" or "fence" which is pressed against the frame and held in place with push pins.

Notice below that I've soldered the existing solder lines directly to the metal reinforcing frame.  I've also soldered the mitered corners at the bottom of the panel.  

In order for the existing lead lines to accept new solder, its necessary to burnish off the patina using a thin gauge steel wool as shown below.

Now the frame is in place and I've soldered a small metal ring to the back of the panel as shown.  The ring is a "jump ring" which has been tinned.  This means I coated it with liquid flux and brushed on a thin coating of solder.  I also added a small amount of solder to the frame at the spot where I wanted to attach the ring.  Holding the ring in place with needle-nosed pliers, I applied the soldering iron to the ring which caused the solder on both the ring and the frame to melt.  Then the hook becomes strongly bonded to the frame.  It will now support the weight of the panel.

Another view of the soldered-on "jump ring".  The metal is wet because I had just applied black patina to it.

Here is a view of the finished panel.  Its actually sideways in the holders that my husband Eric made for me to display my work for photos.
 Here is another view, showing the ring on the top side.  The ring on the opposite side is not visible.  This is a wonderful way to re-purpose kitchen cabinet stained glass panels.  To see more examples of kitchen cabinet panels, please click here.  This project will be listed first, followed by several others.  When you get to the bottom of the page, click on "Older Links" to see more.  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!