Thursday, November 3, 2016

Family Heirloom Lamp Repair

My customer's father was a talented stained glass artist who created many lamps which are still enjoyed by the family.  This one sustained major damage over the years, having lost the entire bottom border as shown below.  The solder corroded over time and rust developed in several places.  Here's how I went about restoring this beautiful heirloom.

Here's an overall view of the damage the lamp sustained.

The top portions of the lamp are still firmly in place but the bottom edge became very loose or detached.

The solder was pitted and corroded ..

In some places, the copper foil was exposed.

Fortunately, my customer still had most of the pieces of glass which had broken away.  I laid them all out and began the cleaning process.

I detached them and pulled off all the old solder and copper foil.  I was able to tug off most of it by hand, some had to be melted off with a soldering iron.

More old material removal ..

I've sprayed the pieces with a solvent and I'm scraping off the accumulated residues.

I used Goo Gone to remove the old adhesive.

Then I cleaned the entire lamp dome, inside and out, with special solvents which brightened up the old silver solder and removed the rust.

When stained glass items were created years ago, many artists did not grind the edges of the glass.  This omission can weaken the lamp because the copper foil which surrounds each piece cannot adhere as firmly as if the edges were ground.  Here I'm using a grinder to rough up the edges of each piece of glass which I'm replacing.

Two pieces of the blue rectangles had cracked, so I cut new ones as shown.  The purple tool is an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter.

I rest that against the old yellow ruler to make a "score".  Then I snap the score with a tool called "running pliers" (not shown). Then the glass goes through the grinder.

Now the glass I've removed has been clean and is ready to be replaced into the lamp.  Here I'm applying 13/64" copper foil to the center of the edge of each piece of glass.

Burnishing the foil onto the glass using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand.

Here are the pieces, cleaned, re-foiled and ready to go back in.

To prepare for the re-attachment, I'm using a hand file to grind the edges of the glass as shown.

Here I've stacked up the pieces on the work surface.  Then I've lined the border of the lamp with copper foil as shown.

Several pieces of freshly cleaned glass have been copper foiled and are awaiting soldering.

Here are more new pieces in place.

There was another area along the border which was very loose.  I removed those pieces as well.  Here I'm applying new copper foil to that border.

Making my way around the lamp now, applying flux to the copper foil on the inside of the dome.  This allows the solder to flow freely.

Just a few more pieces to go. 

Here I'm measuring the space and creating a pattern for a new piece of blue glass.

Two new triangles ready to be cut.

Most lamps have the added reinforcement of a single wire which is soldered to the outer edge.  I wanted this special lamp to be as strong as possible, so I added that wire to the border as shown.  As soon as this reinforcement is on, the lamp feels noticeably more sturdy.

As a final step, I clean the entire lamp once more and let it dry.  Then I apply stained glass finishing compound to the lamp which protects the patina and shines the glass.  Here it is, cleaned up and restored.

A view from the inside of the dome.  The blue and white glass together is just stunning.

The lamp has a beautiful glow when its lighted from below. Thank you Rosemary, for entrusting your Dad's lamp with me.  It was a pleasure bringing it back for you and your family.  All the best!

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

If you're on FaceBook, please click here to "like" my BoehmStained Glass Studio page to keep up with all the latest projects.  Thank you!

No comments:

Post a Comment