Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stained Glass Lamp Cap Replacement

This gorgeous Tiffany style rose lamp was pounced on by a curious cat.  The cap bent when it fell.  The lamp also had a non-functioning "on-off" switch. Our challenge was to repair the lamp cap and switch.  With my husband Eric's help, here's how we repaired it.

Here's the dome of the lamp, with the badly bent cap. The damage to the cap was too extensive to hammer out, so I opted to replace it. 

My husband Eric used a Dremel tool to cut and detach the bent cap from the top of the dome. Then I used a hand file to smooth out the edges of the glass, as shown.

In order to use the new brass lap cap, it needed to be "tinned" and then "patina-ed".  Here's the process. The first step is to apply "flux".  This is the substance used as a catalyst for the solder to flow freely onto the metal, or copper foil. In the majority of cases, liquid flux is used for copper foiled stained glass. But this brass cap is considered a "heat sink". This means that it will quickly absorb all of the heat from a soldering iron.  This makes it very difficult to "tin" or coat it with a thin layer of solder.  Therefore, as shown, I'm using "paste flux".  I applied it evenly over the entire top of the cap.

In order to "tin " the brass cap, two soldering irons are recommended. Here I've positioned my 100W soldering iron so that I can insert the cap over the heated tip.  In this way, the paste flux will melt as the heat radiates out from the center to the outer edge. As soon as the paste flux melts, I use a small, lower power second soldering iron to lightly "brush" on a thin coating of solder.  This is called "tinning".

Here, the cap is tinned.  I'm now applying Novacan Black Patina to the cap using a metal acid brush.  The patina reacts instantly with the solder, turning it a dull black. After it sets, I spray-clean it with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Cleaner.  Then I wrap a strip of 1/4" wide copper foil around the outer edge and down the sides of the cap.

Next, I go back to the dome and line the opening with 1/4" copper foil as shown.

Here's the view from inside the dome. I've applied liquid flux and a liberal amount of solder to the interior and exterior of the cap, for a very solid bond. For additional security, I added three tabs of braided reinforcement wire which overlap the inside edge of the cap and are bonded to the underside of the dome.

Here the cap is firmly soldered onto the dome with several melting points between the cap and the body of the dome.

Here I'm applying more black patina, this time to all the solder.  After the patina set, I cleaned off the remainder with Kwik-Clean spray.  Then I polished the entire lamp, top and bottom, with Liva Stained Glass Finishing Compound.  It protects the patina and gives the glass a nice shine.  The lamp will only need occasional dusting for maintenance. 

Eric replaced the existing switch with a 3-way model.  The positions are: base on, dome on, whole lamp on (or off).  So now the lamp has been restored to its original beauty and functionality!

Another view of this beautiful rose lamp.  Thank you so much, Janine, for entrusting this lamp to our care.  May you enjoy it for a long, long time.  Happy New Year!

Here is a lovely note from Janine, posted to my BSGS FaceBook page .. Thank you Janine!
"This is my stained glass lamp that I had on a table in front of my window, when my curious cat caught sight of a squirrel and knocked the lamp off the table and bent the cap. I was heartbroken. I found Kathy Boehm of in Ridgewood and explained what happened and left her my lamp. Within a week, she called and said the lamp is ready. Take a look at her work. I would highly recommend her for any stained glass needs. A true professional."

For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

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