Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mission Stained Glass Lamp Repairs

This project is to make three cracked lamp shades into two usable ones.  My customer has had these for a number of years, during which they each sustained cracks.  The one on the left has one cracked piece, the middle one has two, but the third has the most damage.  Since she needed only two lamps repaired, we decided to have the most damaged lamp be the "donor" for glass to the other two.  Here we go!

Here's a photo of the three lamps on the light box.  The blue tape squares mark damaged pieces.  The one in the far right is the donor.

Close up of the lamp with one crack.  Each of the two lamps I'll be repairing had cracks to the lower corner pieces.

These are Dale Tiffany lamps which are made in China.  Replacement glass can be very difficult to find, so having the donor lamp saved a lot of time and searching.

Here's the donor lamp, the one with the most damage. I'm in the process of extracting a good corner piece to use in the first lamp.  I've melted off the solder points for the metal channel, or frame, which runs along the border of the lamp.  I'm using needle nose pliers to tug it off so that I can gain access to the piece.

In order to remove the piece without cracking it, I'm scoring and removing the adjacent piece first.  Here I'm using an oil-filled pistol grip glass cutter to score the piece.  Then I'll use the metal end of the cutter to tap repeatedly on the glass and then carefully some of it.

I've taken off some of that adjacent piece.  I've also used the hot soldering iron to break through the solder on the corner.  Since the metal border is removed, the only contact point is the upper border.  I took hold of the piece and gently bent it up.  While doing that, the old solder and foil gave way and the piece came out readily.

After I cleaned off the old adhesive, I ground the edges of the piece.  This will help the copper foil to adhere better.

I dried the piece thoroughly and added 7/32" adhesive copper foil to the border.  Here I'm using a "fid" or flat plastic wand, to burnish the copper onto the glass.

Now I'm working on removing the cracked piece from the first lamp.  I use the same process of scoring the piece with the cutter, and then extricating the pieces with the needle nose pliers.

Here I'm using the hot soldering iron to melt off the remaining foil around the edges. Then I used a generic cleaner to get rid of the old adhesive from the copper foil. Then I added new foil to the borders.

After melting out the corners and doing some tweaking, I fit the donor glass into the space where the cracked piece used to be. Perfect fit.

Then I brushed on the liquid flux in order to prepare for soldering.  The flux acts as a catalyst for the solder, allowing it to flow freely onto the copper foil.

And here's a view from inside the shad which shows the completed soldering.  I turned the shade over the soldered the outside as well.

Then I used a neutralizing spray to clean off the flux. I followed up by brushing on black patina as shown. The patina instantly turns the solder black.  After I let it set, I used the same spray to clean it off.

And here's the first lamp with the new replacement piece in the lower left corner.

Moving on, I'm melting off the solder in the next piece of the donor lamp.

The donor piece is removed.  Just by bending the adjacent piece back, the two will readily separate.

Now I've removed two pieces of corner glass from the donor lamp.  I'm using a generic cleaner to get off excess adhesive from the old copper foil.

This second lamp was slightly askew, so I square it up and soldered on a length of wire to reinforce it.  The photo shows one side rough soldered into the seam. I then soldered the other side to the interior of the cap, cleaned up the soldering and applied the black patina.

Cleaning off the border to prepare for the insertion of the replacement glass.

After I soldered the new piece into the second lamp, I reinforced the corner by adding a short length of wire as shown.

Now I'm applying patina to the back of the new piece.

Then I moved onto the second cracked piece.  Here I've scored it and I'm removing the glass using the pliers.

Another length of wire goes into this corner for reinforcement.  Note that the replacement piece has been soldered at the corner.  I went back and completed soldering the rest of the inside as well as the outside.  Then I applied the patina and repeated the cleaning process between each step.

And here are the repaired lamps!  They are not exactly the same colors which I think makes them really interesting.  I love the color palette and the blue which they have in common.  Thanks so much Pat for entrusting me with your lamps.  It was a pleasure repairing them for you!
For more information on my other projects, please click here to visit my website.

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