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SkillBuilder-Glass
My aunt, Kai Colombo, is a stained glass artist and owner of Shards Glass Studio in Peabody MA. A prospective client brought in a smashed European Tiffany-Style lamp and inquired about having it restored. When the price was quoted, she thought it wasn’t worth it to fix, so simply left it at there at the studio.

Little by little Kai and her staff worked on the lampshade and completed the restoration. Kai gave the lamp to my wife and I as a wedding present and we’ve treasured it ever since.

Unfortunately, in the last couple of months the shade began to separate from its cap due to the sheer weight of the shade itself. We love the lamp so much that I decided to take things into my own hands and restore it myself. Before undertaking a project like this yourself, Kai advises that if this were a true antique Tiffany lamp, doing this would devalue it, so maker beware!

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Materials

Lamp undersocket (I found one on ebay for $20)
Hacksaw
Brass tubing
JB Weld
DevCon 2 Ton Epoxy
Q-Tips
C-Clamp
Hammer
Drift Pin

Directions

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Step 1: Re-insert any dislodged glass pieces and carefully bend the glass on the lampshade back into place.
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Step 2: Use JB Weld to fill in the gaps and cracks on the underside of the lampshade. You can be liberal in this since it will be hidden once the lamp is put back together.
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Step 3: Wait 24 hours for the epoxy to set. Then measure the distance between the base of the lampshade’s shaft and the bottom of the undersocket. This is the length you’ll want to cut the brass tubing to.
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Step 4: Slip the brass tubing and the undersocket over the shaft, then put the lampshade on top. Now the shade will be supported by the sides rather than the top, hopefully preventing further failure.
Untitled 4

See the full tutorial at Make: Projects.

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Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


Related

Comments

  1. dmoola says:

    i’ve been a glass artist for 15+ years. I’m not going to say what you did is wrong, it obviously got the lamp back up and running but you can see the fix in the final picture. All you should need is some stained glass foil, solder and you could add tinned wire for support and take all the weight off the top of the lamp. The fix is inexpensive but you will definitely pay for someone to properly restore it. Glass shops usually run on very low levels of profit and supplies can be expensive, so you will pay for the service.

    If I come across a lamp like this I will do a tutorial (or if someone wants to donate one/ask me to fix theirs).

    1. Donna says:

      I actually have a question. I purchased a Tiffany Style Dragonfly table lamp for my Stepdaugher some time ago. The base has a place for a light, and I think she put too big of a light in the base, and the welded metal parts are separating? There are rather large gaps.
      Any idea’s?

      1. dmoola says:

        Without seeing it, it sounds like the bulb is too hot or too close to the solder seems. Can you tale a picture?

  2. Understood. This was definitely a DIY fix and I have no delusions of being a pro at this craft. I’d love to see something on Make Projects that accomplishes a similar fix in a better way while still being accessible to the average DIYer.

  3. dmoola says:

    don’t get me wrong, I think your work is awesome, i enjoyed the article! Glass Artists would likely scoff at you, but they then to be snobby, lol. But your aunt is correct, the fix does devalue it.

    I would like to see if you could even out and thin the width of the line of epoxy to match the width of the solder. Perhaps just carefully razor some of it off and it would probably be unnoticeable without careful examination.

  4. Steve says:

    Wow, a fairly practical article on how to fix something that is also fairly practical, and it’s on Make. You have pleasantly surprised me. Thank you.