Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dragonfly Stained Glass Lamp Repair

This gorgeous Dale Tiffany brand lamp sustained significant damage in a fall.  My customer described this lamp as her prized possession and its easy to see why.  Its very colorful and made with excellent craftsmanship.  It was a pleasure to bring it back.  Here's how I went about it ..

The cracked pieces extended to nearly half of the lamp.  Here's one side.

I marked each cracked piece of glass with a square of blue tape as shown.  There were approximately 26 cracked pieces plus 7 cracked dragonfly wings.

 Here's a close up of part of the damaged area.

First, I gently tugged the lamp dome into shape.
 Then I began the removal process.  I "score" a piece of cracked glass with the cutter shown here.  Then I repeatedly tap on the glass to crack it further until the pieces fall out, or I remove them with needle-nose pliers.

After the cracked piece is removed, I also removed all the old solder and copper foil from around the border. Next I use a piece of Manila folder to trace the opening.  This becomes the pattern for the replacement glass.  Notice that I've copper foiled the border of the open space.


I've traced the pattern onto the glass.  Now I'm using the cutter at a 90 degree angle and, leaning against an old flat ruler, I'm "scoring" a straight line.  Then I'll tap the line, front and back, until the glass "loosens" and cracks.

Each piece of glass has to be ground as shown.  (Messy old machine but works like a charm).

Here are a couple of my other tools.  The purple oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter .. and a pair of "groziers" which I use to nip off small pieces of glass. The pattern and the new glass are almost ready to be installed in the lamp.

Each piece of glass gets copper-foiled around the edge.  Here I'm using a "fid" or flat plastic wand, to burnish the foil onto the glass.

Now the replacement piece has been soldered into place.

A few pattern pieces, marked to let me know where they're located on the dome.
Here I've cracked out three pieces.  The borders of these three will need to be cleaned out.  Notice that they are not adjacent to each other.  Whenever possible, I avoid doing that on badly damaged pieces.  It strengthens the piece to replace pieces that are not next to each other.

Now several pieces have been replaced and soldered.  There are many more to do.

This is a precarious situation where the entire area is cracked.  Once I start removing those pieces, they have nothing to hang on to.  I use photographs such as these to aid in the placement of the new pieces of glass.

Here I've added a few more pieces, soldering them to the other new pieces so that the dome becomes stronger and more stable as I work.

Three more pattern pieces, three more replacement pieces.  The green liquid is "flux".  It gets brushed onto the copper foil.  Its a catalyst which enables the solder to flow freely.  Its also very caustic, so I carefully wash the area after soldering.

More progress .. More pieces replaced and a few more ready to be soldered.

Now this whole cracked area has new glass.

Here I have a piece in place and I'm brushing on the flux to prepare for soldering.

Here are all of the pattern pieces for the green glass, and for the wings.  

Now all of the cracked green glass pieces have been replaced.  I'm moving on to repair all the dragon flies' wings.  Here I've cracked out four wings on the most badly damaged dragonfly.  For the wings on the right, I've made paper patterns to cut new glass for them.  A wonderful feature of this particular lamp is that each of the wings is made with different glass, some of which is iridescent.

Here's that dragonfly with new glass for the wings.  They haven't yet been foiled. 

Now I've applied copper foil to the edges of the glass and I've "tinned" the back, meaning that I applied some flux and a small amount of solder to it.  Then I use "black patina" to darken the border.  This is the side of the wing which will face out through the lacy metal which covers it.

Soldering inside the dome is always a bit roughly done since it won't be seen .. Here's a view of the four new wings (and the "chest") in place.

Now I'm cracking out more wings on another dragonfly.

More glass wings are now removed and were later replaced.  

Here are some of the replacement wings with their patterns and the cutter.  I matched the original wings with exact, or similar, color glass. 

At this point, all of the cracked green pieces have been replaced. All of the cracked dragonflies' wings have also been replaced.  Now I'm applying black patina to all of the solder.  This chemical reacts instantly to turn the solder black.  Like flux, this is another strong chemical which I rinse off with "Kwik-Clean" a spray meant to neutralize and remove flux and patina.  After the lamp is completely dry overnight, I'll cover it with "stained glass finishing  compound".  This is a light wax.  After the wax dries, I'll buff it off to a nice shine.  The wax protects the patina, also.

 And here is the repaired lamp! 

Here's another "new" dragonfly. 

And here's the third dragonfly, also fully repaired.

An aerial view ..    Thank you, Ellen and Dave .. I'm so very glad you found me and that I was able to revive your beautiful lamp!

And here it is, back where it belongs, being enjoyed again.  (Thanks for the photo, Ellen!).  Happy, happy Holidays!
I repaired another dragonfly lamp a few weeks ago .. Click here to see this one.

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!

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