Monday, April 13, 2015

Large Crystal Table Lamps Cleaning and Repair

A customer brought in this pair of nice large crystal table lamps the other day and wanted them cleaned, rewired and refurbished. They required a lot of new parts but in the interest of attention retention, we will keep it semi brief. If you have a question about the process and want to know more, you can post a question and we will reply.

When you are working on a lamp like this it is important to remember the order of which the parts are on the lamp. You can take a photo, write it down or in our case: we are only going to work on one at a time so the other one acts as a model. Here are the two lamps. The one on the left is already restored and the one on the right has the original parts.

Looking at the brass parts on these old lamps you can see that some of them have turned or aged well and others look poor. Solid brass will not rust; it will turn in color. Some of the parts on these lamps are brass plated (steel) or plastic with brass color.

The lamp parts needed for this project include many different seating rings, felt washers, rubber washers, brass breaks, brass necks, brass base, harp base, solid brass socket, gold colored lamp cord. We lay the parts out to help keep stock on what we will need. Every break will need two felt washers (one on top and one on the bottom). The rubber washers will be used generously, but not at every stop.

First we pry the socket cap from the socket shell and start un-wiring the old socket. The cord is removed and the top nut is unscrewed from the top of the lamp.

Carefully remove the crystal glass pieces from the lamp rod.

Using a large sink, wash the crystal like you are washing dishes. Warm water and dish liquid work well. These lamps had a decal so we did not let them soak in the water, but just scrubbed around the decal.

With the crystal washed and dried, they are placed back on the lamp rod and new brass base.

Add the last neck, harp base, and nut. On a level surface, make sure the lamp is straight before you give it the final turn with the wrench. Note: When you replace parts on a lamp this style, you might have to shorten or replace the threaded rod. For these lamps, we had to cut about 1/4 inch off the rod since the replacement parts were slightly shorter overall. 

The new cord is pushed thought the lamp body and the socket is wired on the lamp. The socket cap goes first, then a UL knot is tied in the cord. The wires go on the screw terminals on the socket interior with the smooth wire going on the brass screw and the smooth wire going on the nickel screw (for polarity). The socket shell is snapped on the socket cap.

Finished (with one). The lamps look clean and new. If you were looking for a different finished look, you could reuse more of the original hardware and replace some parts with antique finished brass.

Total Cost < $50.00 Total Time < 1.5 hours.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Making a Lamp from a Wood Block

Wood is a great medium for lamps. It can be shaped, painted, stained, or unfinished. We can teach you how to turn any wood block into a lamp.

A customer of ours is a furniture maker and can do anything with wood. He asked us to make a lamp out of a turned block. We did and wanted to share the process.

The tools we use are a file, 23/64 drill bit, 1/8IP tap, and drill press. The lamp parts we need are a socket with a cord hole in the socket cap, 2 inch threaded rod, polarized lamp cord, harp base, lock washer, and seating ring.

Since this block is solid and does not have a path for the cord to come through the lamp, we will need to only drill a short hole in the top of the wood. The lamp cord will connect from the socket cap. We start by filing a level top on the wood.

Next we place the seating ring on top of the wood and make sure it is level. With a marker, we mark the position of where to drill the hole.

Then we load the drill bit in the drill press. You can use a regular drill, but it will be more challenging to get the whole in a plumb position.

Using the 1/8IP Pipe tap, we create the threads in the wood for the threaded rod to pull on to.

Now the lamp is ready for the seating ring, threaded rod, harp base, lock washer, and socket cap.

Wire the socket interior (don't forget the UL knot and polarized wiring as discussed throughout this blog). The lamp is ready.

Total Cost < $15.00 Total Time < 25 minutes