Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fruit Lamp Repair #6

These lamps were very popular in the 1970's.  They've hung in kitchens and dining rooms all across the country and have been handed down with great appreciation for their value.  They are constructed with 3-4 pounds of solder and altogether with the glass and brass band, they weigh about 12-13 pounds.  So when these lamps fall, they tend to sustain a great deal of damage.  This lamp was no exception.  Twenty-three pieces of glass needed replacement in addition to 4 dimensional glass pears and 1 red apple.  Here's how I repaired it .. (Click on any image for a closer look).

Here's a view of the two damaged crown pieces and the nine dome pieces, all marked with pieces of blue tape.

When the lamp fell, it appears that it rolled on the floor.  Three sides were heavily cracked as shown by the taped pieces.

 Area to the left of the photo above showing more damage.

 This photo shows a crushed pear and apple as well as another pear which has cracked.

There is really no right sequence to begin repairing a lamp with this much damage.  For this lamp, I decided to tackle the crown first.  Below, I've used needle nose pliers to remove the cracked glass.  Here I'm pulling off the old solder.  

I prepared a manila folder pattern using one of the existing crown pieces.  Then I traced it onto the glass.  Using a pistol grip glass cutter, shown below, I made a 90 degree cut across the top of the piece.
 These blue "running pliers" readily snap the glass at the line.

Then each piece goes to the grinder.  The edges of each new piece of glass must be ground, not only to protect fingers but to assure good adherence of the copper foil to follow.

On the left is a 35' roll of 7/32" self adhesive copper foil.  Here I'm pressing the foil onto the glass using a "fid" or flat, plastic, flexible wand.  This assures that no chemicals or liquids make their way under the foil.

Here the two new crown pieces have been soldered in place.

A bank of seven pieces of glass cracked on one side of the dome. This area was also crushed in by the impact.  Before I remove the glass, I put on a glove and carefully pulled up on the soldered lines to get it back into shape. Its important that all the glass be on the correct plane before repairs are made.

Below are two areas which I've removed, cleaned up and re-foiled in preparation for replacement glass.
 The view from inside the dome.  Here I've traced the two openings onto a manila folder which I'll cut out for patterns to make two new pieces of glass.

Here, both pieces of glass have been replaced in the dome.  The top piece has been soldered and the bottom piece is copper foiled.

Now I'm ready to tackle the larger area of cracked pieces.  Here I'm using wire cutters to clean out the old solder and copper foil.  I'll use a hot soldering iron to melt out the old solder and copper foil which border this area.

Now the area has been cleaned up and I've applied copper foil to the perimeter.  Notice that there's a single piece of cracked glass at the lower left.  I'm going to replace that separately.  Because this piece will be removed, I have not added copper foil to it.

After I traced the interior onto the manila folder, I'm preparing the pattern.  I'm using stained glass pattern shears to separate the pieces.  These shears are double bladed.  They take out a small area which will be taken up by copper foil.  This promotes good fitting glass.

 The view from inside the dome.  Here I've removed and replaced the five of the six pieces of cracked glass.

Now I've removed that seventh piece and am applying the copper foil to the interior border.

Now all seven pieces of glass have been replaced.  After I clean off the area, I apply Novacan Black Patina with an acid brush as shown.  It instantly turns the solder lines black.  After letting it set a few minutes, I clean that off also.

Now the crown and the dome are repaired.  Now I'll move onto the sides of the lamp.

Whenever I apply flux to the glass or perform any soldering, I'm wearing an OSHA approved lead filtering mask.  I also use an electric charcoal filtered fan which attracts the fumes.  Safety first.

Below, two pieces of glass have been replaced and I'm working on a third.  I've decided to start on one side of the lamp and work my way across in order.  I'll replace the pear next.

Here's the new pear in place beside a grouping of amber glass rondelles, the grapes.  Notice the wire which I've attached along the border.  All stained glass lamps have this wire.  It reinforces the border and adds a great deal of strength.

A look at the progress so far.  The glass on the right has been replaced .. the blue tape-marked pieces on the left are next.

 Here are the final two pieces to be replaced, a pear and a crushed apple.

Using wire cutters, I snipped off the old copper foil and solder and I melted off the borders as well. I then applied copper foil to the entire border.

Here the new pear and apple are in place and soldered.  I'm applying the black patina to the solder. I also bent a length of wire to the entire bottom edge below the apple and pear.  The wire connects to the existing wire on each side.  After the fruit has been soldered in place and patina-ed, the wire becomes invisible.
 Here's the view from inside the dome.  After I've done all the work on the exterior, I turn my attention to the interior.  I added solder where needed, then I applied the black patina and thoroughly cleaned the entire lamp of all chemicals and bits of solder.  The final step is to apply and buff stained glass finishing compound to the entire lamp, inside and out.  This compound brings out the shine in the glass and protects the patina.  The lamp will need no maintenance other than an occasional dusting.

And here is one of three views of the side of the lamp, repaired and ready to go back to its owner.

Another view of the repaired side ..

And another view, below.  Thanks so much Debbie for arranging for your friends to get the lamp to me from your home down the shore.  I look forward to having you see your lamp back in great shape again.  It was my pleasure to repair it for you and your family!
To see other fruit lamp repairs, click here.  Note: This lamp will be posted first (as of December 31, 2013).  Scroll down to see others.

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Daisy Tree Lamp Repair

My current project is Fruit Lamp Repair #6.  As I work toward competing it, here's a post from a lamp I repaired in September.  Its owner called to say it fell again, so I'll be posting the new repairs in the new year.  Here goes ..

This beautiful ceiling lamp's cap became detached from the dome.  This is a rather common problem. My challenge was to re-attach the cap and make any other necessary repairs which occurred as a result of the weakened cap.  Here's how I went about the repairs.

Before starting any repairs, I do a full inspection of what may have caused the issue.  Here, the inside rim of the cap is gunked up with old solder and old foil.  Its unable to attach to the glass, since the copper foil adhesive has broken down.  Note that I've marked each piece along the border of the dome with a number and an arrow pointing to the cap.  I also took photos of the other side so that I would have a record of where each piece of glass belongs as I begin to dismantle the top edge of the lamp.

Below, I've used needle nose pliers and a hot soldering iron to clean out most of the old solder and foil.

 Here I'm inserting new 13/64" copper foil into the channel inside the cap.  This will give a new surface for the glass to adhere to after soldering.

 I set the cap issue aside temporarily and focused on a very loose piece of glass which was sitting in the spot in the middle of the border, below.  The copper foil adhesive had deteriorated and was no longer strong enough to hold the glass.  Stained glass lamps are commonly constructed with a wire soldered to the outside edge of the entire border.  This wire serves to strengthen the lamp and prevent the loosening of these outer pieces.  This lamp, unfortunately, was not constructed with this wire.  Therefore, as I was working on it, I found three more border pieces which were very loose.  I repaired them all.

 I removed the loose piece and sprayed a solvent on it to clean off the old adhesive.  Then I applied copper foil to the edge.  Below, I'm using a "fid" to press the foil onto the glass to prevent any chemicals or liquids from getting underneath it.

 As for the space which was occupied by this piece of glass, I used needle nose pliers and a hot soldering iron to remove the old copper foil and solder.  Then I lined the space with new copper foil, as seen below.  Using wide blue painter's tape, I secured the piece to the back of the lamp.  Then I applied liquid flux to the seams and soldered the piece in place.

I then reinforced the border piece by adding a length of wire to the top border as shown.  I extended the wire to the adjacent pieces, so that all three pieces will be strengthened.

 After the piece was secured in place, I cleaned it thoroughly and then applied Novacan Black Patina to darken the solder.  I then cleaned off that chemical and went back to the cap issue.
 Below, I've cleaned and prepared the space and two pieces of glass.  I secured them both to the back of the lamp with blue painter's tape.  Notice that there is a thin piece of braided copper reinforcement wire between the edge of the glass and the rest of the dome.  This tape is excellent for adding strength and stability to stained glass pieces.  I inserted this reinforcement wire to three separate areas, for all-around strength.

More pieces have been replaced .. A few more to go.  A total of 17 pieces of glass were replaced.

At this point, I've removed and cleaned and re-soldered 13 pieces of white glass.  Shown is the interior of the dome before it was soldered.  With a bit of muscle and by coaxing some glass to tilt a bit, I was able to work the cap back into place inside the dome.

 Now the cap is securely in place.  Instead of being soldered at a handful of points around the edge, I've soldered the entire edge to the dome to assure that it will stay attached for many more years.
Below, I'm applying Novacan Black Patina to the solder.  I waited a short time for the solder to set, then I washed the lamp, dried it, and applied a light finishing polish.  This protects the solder and gives the glass a nice shine.

 And here is the repaired lamp.  I set it up temporarily on my own lamp stand.  Thank you, Constantine, for bringing your wife's favorite lamp to me for repair.  My husband Eric and I enjoyed meeting you!

Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Floral Border Lamp Repair

This lamp was created by my customer's father and thus has sentimental value.  She found it among his belongings and is unsure of how it broke, but it sustained major damage.  See below the steps I used to repair it like new again .. Click on any photo to enlarge.

The photo below shows two of the three sides which have large pieces missed and cracked, as well as two pieces at the crown of the lamp.

One side was so badly hit that the solder was crushed.

A closer look at damage sustained to the two pieces at the crown.

After assessing the damage, I began the repair by removing all the glass within select sections as shown.

Next, I use a hot soldering iron to melt off any old solder or copper foil from the border.  Then I place a piece of manila folder beneath the lamp and trace the opening.  This becomes the pattern piece for the replacement glass.

 Below, I'm using a pistol grip glass cutter at a 90 degree angle to the glass, cutting in a straight line at the upper border.  If my right hand were not holding the camera, I'd be bracing the ruler with that hand.  The ruler is essential to assure a straight cut. To snap the glass, I use a pair of "running pliers".

 Below, I've cleaned off all the debris from the border of the opening.  In this case, I used a razor knife to remove old adhesive.

 Here I'm using a thin, stiff brush to clean out more of the debris.  A clean surface is essential to a strong bond.

Below, I'm pressing 7/32" self-adhesive copper foil onto the bottom border of the opening.  I'll use a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to press the foil into place on all three sides.

After each piece of glass is cut, I bring it to the grinder to smooth down all the edges.  This makes the glass safer to handle. It also helps the copper foil to adhere correctly.  Notice the purple sponge which wicks water from the reservoir under the cutting surface.  This keeps the grinding wheel cool.  I add a water conditioner to the water in the reservoir to slow down the wear on the grinding wheel.  I also wear rubber fingers, found in any Staples store.  These protect my fingers from the sharp glass and help to keep a firm grip on the glass.

Now the new piece is placed inside the lamp.  Here I'm applying liquid flux to the copper foiled joints, using a metal acid brush.  The flux is a wetting agent which enables the solder to flow properly on top of the copper foil.

I've placed the entire lamp into a large box filled with packing peanuts.  Then I adjust the lamp so that the surface is perpendicular to the floor.  Then I solder the copper foil.

When one side is completely repaired, I repeat the process for each of the cracked and broken pieces on the remaining two sides of the lamp.

When adding copper foil to a square or rectangular area, I use a razor knife to cut into the corner.  This makes for a better fit and a neater application of the solder.

Below, I'm replacing two pieces of glass at once.  I'm using wire cutters to snip off the large lengths of old solder and copper foil.

Here are two new pieces of glass which I created from the patterns.  I've soldered them together as shown, so that they can be added to the piece together.

Shown below are the two pieces of glass ready to be soldered  Notice that I did not add copper foil to the piece on the right side of these two.  The reason is because its cracked.  Its going to be replaced, and it will be easier to remove it if it is not bonded to the adjoining piece.

After the three damaged sides were repaired, I turned my attention to the two top crown pieces.  Here I'm using a heated soldering iron to melt and remove old solder and copper foil.  I've already removed the old glass and solder with needle nose pliers.

Using a razor knife, I'm cleaning off the remaining adhesive from the surfaces where the new pieces will be added.

Below, I've made a paper patten and am trying it on for size before cutting the glass.  Its a perfect fit.

Now the two pieces of glass in the crown have been tack soldered.  I will go in and fully solder them.

Now the three sides and the crown have been repaired.  Now I'm removing cracked pieces at the bottom of one corner to prepare for their replacement.   There were a few pieces of green glass and one piece of white which needed attention.  Below I've removed the cracked pieces and added new copper foil to one border.
Of the three pieces below, two are replacements and one was an original, undamaged piece.  I decided to solder them together as a unit and replace them as a unit.  I've attached them to wide painter's tape which I'll tape to the inside of the lamp as a support when I solder them in place.

The above three pieces are soldered as shown below.  Now I'm working on the pieces on the opposite corner.  Two pieces were re-cut and replaced in this corner.  And that completes the glass repair process.

 I've been giving the lamp frequent cleanings as I worked.  This is a good idea because flux is very caustic and therefore a health hazard to use.  I always wear breathing protection when I flux or solder.  Here I'm applying black Novacan patina to all of the newly soldered areas. This chemical instantly turns the silver solder black.  After its allowed to set, I clean it all off again.

Since this lamp is very old, we noticed that the light socket had deteriorated to the point where it would have been unsafe to use.  Since my father was a volunteer fireman (35 years) and Eric's father was an electrician, we always check the safety of the electrical fittings before returning them to the owners.  Eric installed a new socket and a length of new wire to the lamp.

As the final step in the lamp repair process, I cover the lamp with Livia Stained Glass Polish. This serves to give the glass a nice shine.  It also protects the patina and the solder.  Aside from an occasional light dusting, this lamp will not need any maintenance.

And here are two photos of the finished lamp!  Thank you Ann, for finding me, and for entrusting your father's lamp to my care.  It was a pleasure repairing it for you.  May you enjoy it for many, many more years!
Please visit my website to see my custom windows and repairs (click here).  And if you are on FaceBook, become a fan and I'll keep you up to date on all my stained glass projects.  Call me any time at 201-600-1616 or email with your questions. Thanks!