Besides the normal repair and restoration of customer lamps, we also pick up lamps in our travels. Many times we use these to test new methods and processes. Or in some case, it’s just for the fun of it, just to get the creative juices flowing!! This one was just for fun. If you look around flea markets or antique malls, there are a bunch of ugly ones out there. It can be a challenge to figure out how to make them current. My wife picked up this pair at a local trades day. Looking at all the choices she had, these would not have been my pick. Since she carries the “designer” title in this organization, She gets the first and last vote. The first picture is the before and after comparison of one refurbished next to one original. (Yes we have two of them). Follow the story to see the process.
Lamp Assessment: The lamps were loosely assembled which can be an indication the base may be cracked (they were). Electrically, it didn’t mater as they would be completely rewired. We have sources for newly manufactured bases, but I try to use as much as I can of the existing fixture, unless we are going somewhere totally different. The decorative base was a bit tarnished, and through my discovery, it is cast aluminum with a brass finish.
Disassembly: Once taken apart, we discovered some problems. As you can see, over the years of service, past owners have continued to tighten up the fixture head. In doing so, it caused the light aluminum base to crack. These cracks result in a constant give or looseness that will alway be a problem if not properly repaired.
Per the designer, she did not want to fully respray the base as she wanted to retain the natural petina of the base. Unfortunately, polishing did not work out since there was a loss of finish in some areas. So, we had to re-coat the bases to bring them back.
The Restoration Plan:
- The base will be rebuilt using 2 part epoxy, to add strength to the original base
- The base exterior color matched to gold details found in the ceramic base.
- All exposed brass hardware will be replaced as to match the bright gold finish
- Total electrical rewire
- Replace base felt.
- As you can see, we rebuilt the base interior to add strength and support to the structure.
- The base was refinished with an industrial grade material to match the gold highlights in the ceramic body.
- We polished the exterior ceramic surface to reveal the natural highlights of the design.
- The brass hardware was replaced with new parts. Harp saddle and final.
- We replaced all the electrical parts including the socket, switch and cord. The wiring and cord were replaced with a period correct lamp cord and plug end.
During the dry fit process, I realized the base was uneven, so I had to resurface the base so it would sit flat on a table. Then I added a new felt skin to contain the exposed portion of the base.
As you can see in the final picture, the designer picked out a bright red shade with added trinkets around the lip. It may be hard to see, but there is a red detail in the ceramic body. As she told me, the intent was to capture the kitschyness of the style and to not take it too serious, she did and I didn’t… Actually, in the right place, I kind of like them……… However, they can be yours:).