Monday, July 20, 2015

Amber and Glue Chip Glass Lamp Repair

This pretty 30 year old lamp came to me with a few cracks which I repaired.  See the process below and click on any image to enlarge.

The clear double Glue Chip is cracked in a "V" as shown, and the amber glass also sustained damage.

Another view of the cracks, from the inside of the dome.

Here I've used a pistol grip glass cutter to score and crack out the entire amber piece.  Here I'm using a metal file to grind the edges of the adjacent glass.  This helps the copper foil to adhere more firmly.  Many lamps of this era contain glass which has not been ground.  

Now I've traced the opening onto a piece of a recycled file folder. Notice the splint over the heart-shaped brown piece.  This piece also sustained a crack, but we opted to leave it in place since an exact match for this piece was not available.  It will receive a coating of strong, clear epoxy on the back when the repairs are completed.

 Tracing the pattern onto the glass with a Sharpie.  For a perfect fit, the glass is cut on the inside of the line.
As for the adhesive copper foil, 7/32" is the most commonly used width.  Instead, I've chosen to use 13/64" which is narrower and better suited as a match for the existing foil.  The "fid", or flexible plastic wand, is used to press the foil onto the glass.

 Now the border and the replacement amber glass have been foiled.  I taped the back to make sure that the replacement in soldered flush to the rest of the lamp.  I'm applying liquid flux with a metal acid brush.  I take the flux from the bottle cap to prevent contaminating the contents of the bottle.  The excess from the cap is discarded.

Now the amber piece has been replaced and I'm moving onto the double glue chip. With textured glass, it is the artist's choice whether to have the texture facing in or out.  In this case, the double glue chip glass is facing in, so I followed suit.
Here I'm scoring the piece with the pistol grip cutter.  Then I'll tap firmly on the piece with the metal end of the cutter.  This will cause the glass to shatter so that I can remove it.  I'm wearing safety glasses throughout this process.

Most of the glass will crack out on its own.  Here I'm removing more shards using needle nose pliers.

With any repair, the borders must be cleaned of all old solder, foil and adhesive.  Here I'm tugging off the old foil and solder with the needle nose pliers.  The upper foil and solder was not so easily removed, so I melted it off using the hot soldering iron.  After the old elements are removed, I clean the borders using either Goo Gone and/or a household spray cleaner.

Now the borders are cleaned and I've applied copper foil.  I've also cut a file folder template and laid it in place to assure a good fit. I've also marked which side of the glass faces which way.
 The blue tape is showing through the clear double glue chip.  Its been soldered in place on both the inside and the outside of the dome.

Applying liquid black patina to the solder with a metal acid brush. After applying the patina, I spray-wash the lamp and apply and buff a coat of stained glass finishing compound which is a light wax.  The wax protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.
 And here's the finished lamp, as seen from above.

 Another view.  Thank you, Gary, for the opportunity to put your lamp back in service.  Its a beauty!

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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