Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Coca Cola Stained Glass Lamp Repair

My customer found this unusual, collectible lamp at a lighting store in Paramus, NJ over twenty years ago.  When his curious cat leaped at it and caused it to fall, he came all the way from Queens, NY to have me fix it.  Here's how I went about the repair ..

When the lamp fell, the side got pushed in and several pieces of red glass, as well as two pieces of green and part of the "C" cracked.

Here is the damaged side showing the cracked pieces and the dent.

 I took out one of the cracked pieces to give the lamp some "breathing room".  Then, with both hands, I slowly and carefully pulled it back into position.

When repairing a lamp, its not a good idea to repair adjacent pieces.  They can cause the lamp to collapse.  Its also more difficult to repair a piece in mid air .. Here I've removed two red pieces which are not next to one another.

 Many lamps of this era were not ground before they were foiled.  This one is no exception.  Grinding the edges of the glass helps the copper foil to adhere much better.  Therefore, I used a hand file to rough up the edges of the open areas as shown.

Here I've traced one of the openings to make a pattern to cut a new piece of red glass.

Snapping the glass with a specialized tool called "running pliers".

These pliers, called "groziers" nip off smaller bits of glass.  After the glass piece is cut, I use an electric grinder to grind down the edges.

Here's a piece that's been foiled and is ready for the application of liquid "flux", which allows the solder to flow freely onto the copper foil.

Here I'm tugging off old copper foil and solder from another opening.  At this point, three red pieces have been replaced

Tracing another pattern for another red piece.  The pieces may appear to be the same size, but I make separate patterns, just in case they're not.  Its easier to cut an extra piece of file folder paper than it is to re-cut glass.

Now the reds are replaced, and so are two green pieces at the bottom border.

After they've been soldered, cleaned and dried, I brush on black "patina", the chemical which turns the solder black.  After the patina sets, I clean it thoroughly so as not to leave any residue.

Now I've removed the cracked "C".  Often, when a lamp sustains a fall, the damage extends to beyond what can be seen initially.  In this case, As soon as I removed the "C", the three red pieces to the left of it became very loose.  I took them out also, cleaned up the borders and re-foiled and re-soldered them in place along with the new "C".

Here's that area, repaired. After the pieces have been replaced, soldered, patina-ed and cleaned, I apply "stained glass finishing compound" which is a light wax which protects the patina and gives the lamp a nice shine.

Here's an "after" picture, all repaired.

Thanks Barry, for coming all the way from Queens to have me repair your lamp.  It's a beauty and I was happy to repair it for you!
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  1. Thanks, Kathy. I didn't think we'd be able to fix the damage, but you did a wonderful job on the repairs. We'll be sure to call on you again in the event we have another stained-glass cat-astrophe.

  2. Hi Barry,
    Thank you for your nice note! I'm here if you need me again, but I do hope your kitty will behave itself from now on. :^}

  3. Well, you did a wonderful job of repairing and restoring it, ad I have to agree- it is definitely a beauty of a lamp!

  4. Thank you for the compliment, Jeremy, much appreciated! Yes, and from what I've seen on "American Pickers" anything vintage with the Coca Cola logo is highly collectible too.