Monday, February 22, 2016

Repair to Lamp Cap

I'm happy to back in the studio after having my left knee replaced about six weeks ago.  Its a long recovery process but I'm glad to be back working with my beloved stained glass again!

Here is a beautiful lamp which I repaired last night.  See below the process from start to finish .. (Click on any photo to enlarge).

This photo shows where the lamp disconnected from the cap.  Since the cap holds the weight of the entire glass dome, this is a very common place for a stained glass lamp to fail.

When the cap separated from the dome, so did the solder and foil from a few pieces of glass, two of which can be seen here.  (The left side of the greenish piece on the bottom left .. and the left side of the brightly lit piece in center right).

The view from inside the dome shows several light leaks caused by the foil separating.

 To begin the repairs, its necessary for me to remove three pieces of glass which have the most separation.  Here I'm pressing onto the solder to melt it out.

In order to ensure that the copper foil adheres well, its a good idea to file down the glass.  This lamp, and most others, were made with sharp glass, not ground.  Here I'm using a hand file to sand down the glass.

The view from inside the dome .. A section of foil and solder which I'm tugging off of the glass in preparation for replacement.

Now the piece has been removed.  I've also cleaned off the old solder and foil and leftover old adhesive.  Then I've applied self-adhesive copper foil (the roll shown).  Here I'm using a "fid" or flexible plastic wand to burnish the foil evenly on each side of the glass.

Then I cleaned off all the old adhesive from the area and encircled it with fresh copper foil as shown.

I did the same process to three pieces which had disconnected from the solder.  When all three pieces were removed from the dome, I repaired the cap which had bent.  Once the cap was repaired, I carefully pressed on the dome to tuck all of the edges into the channel between the top and bottom of the cap.  Using blue painter's tape, I taped each of the three pieces into place, to ensure that they will be flush with the rest of the dome.  I also taped the cap in place.  (Two of the three replaced pieces are shown here).

I've applied liquid "flux" to the copper foil.  This chemical is a catalyst which allows the solder to flow freely.  Here I'm soldering the foil to fill in the gap between the pieces.

The view inside the dome.  Now, I've added a strip of copper foil to the interior of the cap, to secure it together.  Then I cut a 1-1/2" piece of flat, braided, reinforcement wire and extended it from the solder line so that it overlaps and is bonded to the cap in three places, as shown.  This serves to give the cap more strength and longevity.  There were two minor separations of the glass from the solder, so I covered them with copper foil which I then soldered. These pieces did not require replacement.  After the inside and outside of the dome were fully fluxed and soldered, I spray cleaned off the remaining chemicals with Kwik-Clean Flux and Patina Cleaner.

Here I'm brushing on black patina.  This chemical reacts instantly with the solder, turning it a rich black.  After it sets for a few minutes, I washed it off with Kwik-Clean.  Then I let it dry overnight and waxed the lamp, to protect the patina and give the glass a nice shine.

And here is a view of the completed, repaired lamp.

And, another view.  Thank you, Leroy, for entrusting your gorgeous lamp to me for repair.  May you enjoy its light for many years to come!
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