Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lamp Repair after Major Damage

This pretty lamp suffered a very hard fall which left it split, top to bottom, with a dislocated cap and at least 14 cracked piece.  But no worries .. I was able to repair it.  Here is my process ..

Here is the "before" photo.  The lamp was completely separated, top to bottom. The cracked pieces are marked with blue tape.

 After assessing the damage, I formed my action plan for repairing it.  First, I removed the existing foil and solder from the border up top where the cap belongs.  Securing the cap back on was, to my mind, the best way to stabilize the dome.

 I ringed the inside of the cap with new foil, and also added new foil to the inner border of the top of the dome.  After applying liquid flux to the foil, I soldered the cap back in place, using generous amounts of solder for a secure bond.

With the cap in place, I decided to secure the bottom edge of the lamp, then work toward the middle.  Here I've taped the lamp in place.

The bottom of the lamp had split completely, and the wire which supports the outer edge of the lamp had also separated.  I added new copper foil to the length of the border to enable me to secure new wire to that edge.  Then, working from the edge, I re-foiled and then soldered the lower glass pieces.

 At this point, the lower edge is secure, as is the top, so I'm working my way through replacing the other cracked pieces.  Note the two new glass pieces which have just been foiled, at the top near the cap. 

Here's an outside view of the dome, with those pieces soldered in place and several more pieces intentionally removed.
 Whenever a lamp sustains an "injury" such as this, the blow will invariably damage neighboring pieces of glass.  This was the case here.  The piece to the right of the glass cutter is clearly cracked.  But the piece to the left also sustained a crack.  Therefore I'm in the process of removing it. I do this by "scoring" the glass in a hashtag pattern, then tapping on it firmly until the glass cracks.  Then I remove the pieces using needle-nose pliers.
Now that piece has been replaced. I've moving on to the piece across from it, also cracked.  I'm careful not to replace too many pieces at once.  If the support system is compromised, the entire lamp could collapse.  Here I'm pulling old solder and foil off of the neighboring piece of glass.  In this way, I'm preparing a fresh surface for which the new piece may adhere. 
 Now that piece has been replaced.  You can clearly see the silver areas which I've just worked on.  These are the borders of replaced pieces.  I still have several more to do.

The view from the inside of the lamp dome.  I'm taping pieces in place and continuing with replacing the cracked pieces.

  More pieces have been replaced.  Now I'm tracing a piece of the purple glass which forms the outside rose petal.

Here I've cut a new piece of glass and I'm trying it out for size.  In many cases, even when a pattern is accurate, glass may be too small or too large for the space.  In that case, I need to make adjustments.  This piece will fine fine.

View from inside the dome.  The piece shown is now in place.

Here's another piece I'm fitting in to the lamp.

Now I'm coming back to the border, where I've taped down a length of wire the same gauge as the original.  This wire will be fluxed and then soldered onto the edge as shown, on top of the copper foil.  This lends a great deal of strength and stability to the dome, and will help prevent future damage to the repaired areas.

In the course of doing repairs, as mentioned earlier, pieces which appeared to be fine also receive damage.  This was the case here.

And another crack appeared adjacent to the one I was working on.  I'd rather see them now, while I'm working, than later.  So both the prior piece and this one were replaced.  I had plenty of glass on hand to do the repairs.
 One done, one to go.

Here are some of this lamp's pattern pieces.  They say "out" as a tip to me to be sure that I cut the glass on the correct side to match the rest of the lamp.

After all of the cracked pieces are replaced, I'm soldering them, starting from the inside of the dome.
 After the outside is soldered, I clean the flux off the inside and outside using a product called "Kwik Clean Flux and Patina Remover."  Then I use a metal acid brush, as shown, to apply patina to the silver solder.  It reacts instantly, turning the solder black.  After it sets for a while, I clean it again.

And after the lamp receives another cleaning, I apply "stained glass finishing compound" which is a light wax.  This protects the patina and shines up the glass.  And here's the repaired lamp!

The repaired view, from inside the dome ..
 Thank you, Lindita, for entrusting your friend's lamp to me!  I hope she was as impressed with the repairs as you were.  All the best!

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

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