Friday, October 30, 2015

Antique or Vintage Chandelier Gold Tone Metal 4 Socket Hanging Light Fixture Repair

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and wanted to get it in tip top shape and working order. This is a nice old pan light fixture and you might know from our Lamp Part Index. The pan is the most important feature of this lamp and it seems to be in good shape.

First thing to do is a visual inspection for shorts, burns, breaks or cracks. We do notice a crack in the top portion of the body.

Our goal is to keep this fixture as original as possible so we are going to repair this crack and any other dents along the way. To fix this crack we take the lamp a part. The bottom finial is attached to the threaded rod, so when it is removed the lamp opens up.

The pieces are removed and laid out on the work space. To fix the crack in the body, we are going to use solder. Brass is a top choice for lamp parts for many reasons: soft, flexible, doesn't rust, and can be repaired.

Using a pair of vise grips the cracked piece is held together. Using a small sander or Dremel tool, the lacquer and burs are smoothed off. Now the brass is  and soldered on the inside.

Even the small cracks are repaired.

Now the piece is ready to be placed back on the fixture.

With the body work out of the way, we turn our attention to the wiring and electrical parts. This fixture has some original GE Made in the USA sockets with porcelain interiors. They are really nice so we want to reuse them.

I love the patent information and date. It really puts this lamp in perspective. These sockets were designed and patented in 1910. This character should stay with the lamp (as long as it's safe).

Inspecting the sockets means mostly visual. We look for burns where heat has damaged or a short caused problems. Then we turn, push or pull the switch and listen for clear click. These sockets look good except the socket insulator (paper shell inside the socket). They look like 100+ years and need to be replaced. That is easy to do and allows us to keep the sockets. Sockets over 50 years old are flair shaped and sometimes called fat-boy sockets. We use a fat-boy type socket insulator to replace the old insulators.

One by one, each socket is wired to the fixture. The socket cap is connected to the shade holder, the shade holder attached to the lamp arm, wire is threaded through the socket cap, a UL knot is tied; the socket interior is wired to the cord (smooth wire to brass screw or middle contact, ribbed wire to the nickel screw or the threaded portion), slack is pulled up the shade holder, socket key is placed on interior, socket shell snaps into socket cap.

The wires are collected in the pan. Then they are stripped and held with a wire nut. We marked the wires black and white to match the wires in a home. The ribbed wires are connected to the white wire and the smooth wires connect to the black house wire.

The pan top and bottoms are put back together and the bottom finial connects to the threaded rod. We add some bulbs and connect it so power.

Beautiful. This fixture is ready for another 100 years.

Total Cost: < $20  Total Time < 2 hours

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Heavy Glass or Crystal Table Lamp Repair

A customer brought in this lamp the other day and wanted it to be rewired. The old lamp plug was not polarized and the customer wanted a harp base on the lamp so it could have a lamp harp and shade.

This lamp is pretty straight forward. The threaded rod from the socket to the bottom of the lamp holds everything together. Pry the socket shell from socket cap and remove the socket interior. Loosen the nut on the bottom of the lamp and the lamp starts to come apart. In pieces the lamp looks like this.

We gather all the lamp parts for repair and place them in the photo.

The new lamp parts include a nickel push-thru socket, nickel harp base, clear silver lamp cord, nickel seating ring, and 3 felt washers (best for glass lamp bodies). Notice we painted the lamp rod. The rod was plain steel, but with a little soap water and silver spray paint it fits right in.

The lamp goes back together in the same order it came apart. The new felt washers are placed against the glass. On the top section of the lamp, the parts are from bottom to the top: glass lamp body, felt washer, seating ring, harp base and socket cap.

Thread the lamp cord through the lamp body. Tie a UL knot in the cord. Attach the cord to the socket interior. The smooth wire connects to the brass screw and the ribbed wire connects to the nickel screw.

Pull the cord slack back down the lamp body. Make sure the push-thru knobs are in the center of the harp base and snap the socket shell into the socket cap. Add a bulb and test the lamp.

Wow! Total Cost < $ 15  Total Time < 30 minutes

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Brass Floor Lamp With Plastic Socket Replacement

A customer brought in this lamp the other day. They complained the socket was loose and not working properly. They asked us to replace the socket and tighten the lamp. Our plan is to replace the socket cap and shell but to reuse the lamp cord.

We start by removing the old socket. Unscrew the socket key from the socket. This plastic or phenolic socket is simple to disassemble: the socket shell (top) unscrews from the socket cap (bottom).

We removed the socket interior from the lamp cord by unscrewing the wire terminals. Pull the socket cap off the lamp cord.

  Here are the replacement lamp parts: solid brass socket (cap and shell) with a turn knob interior. Unscrew the plastic turn knob and reuse the extended brass knob.

Our replacement socket has a set screw in the cap. We do not have access to the set screw on the lamp to tighten so we are removing the set screw. The only other option is to use a lock washer. This is the most important part of this repair. Without the lock washer, the problems with a loose socket will probably return. The lock washer goes on the lamp cord first.

Next the socket cap goes on the cord and is threaded on the pipe.

Tighten the socket cap to the threaded rod. We are using a special socket wrench in this photo but you can use pliers. Be careful with brass or metal sockets not to damage the socket cap.

Tie a UL knot in the lamp cord.

Attach the socket interior to the lamp cord. The ribbed wire goes on the nickel screw and the smooth wire goes on the brass screw. Pulling the cord slack back through the lamp, the socket interior should be flush with the socket cap. Attach the socket key to the socket interior.

Snap the socket shell into the socket cap.

Add a bulb and test the lamp.

Complete. This lamp is ready for many years of service.

Total cost: <$15  Total time: < 25 minutes