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Chalkware Lamp Repairs

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I have been busy lately fixing a few lamps that our friend Stephen brought to us that he purchased online and received broken. He always manages to find really great lamps.

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This lamp had 8+ breaks in it. The only frame to this lamp are the white poles that go through it so it was gonna need some crazy gorilla glue to hold it together.

The first lamp I want to talk about is the really cool green Plasto Mfg. Co. lamp that he purchased. As you can see, this would have ended up in the garbage by most folks but Stephen thought I could fix it. After a lot of gluing, spackeling and sanding and a good amount of paint here is how it turned out!

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I am amazed at how things turned out. Stephen also had me paint the lamp shade frames white and I relaced the shades. I also had to install a new push switch. Once Stephen gets the lamp back in place I will have him send me a pic to show it off.

The Next Lamp Stephen asked us to repair was a really cool Capri lamp. The damage wasn’t as bad as the one above but it did have a few good breaks. Here are a few pics of the damage it suffered during shipping:

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I marked the areas that had damage with those really cool pink ovals…..I love pink! Anyways, here are closer images of the damage:

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That looks like a pretty good crack!

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This is towards the base, it seems to go all the way through.

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Here is another crack up underneath one of the brass poles.

The one thing that always makes Stephen’s lamps a challenge to repair is the finish on each lamp. I have to really try hard to duplicate it with toothbrushes or stiff metal brushes. It would be interesting to see how they originally did it. I imagine they maybe used an airbrush to get that unique finish. Here is the lamp repaired and ready to go!

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Look great!

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Ok, that is a really cool lamp!

The next lamp may seem like deja vu but Stephan managed to find another very rare Frederick Weinberg horse lamp. Unfortunately like the other one he acquired this one was damaged too. This lamp had damage to the top of the front legs and it also had many small cracks. We were able to repair it in the same way we repaired the other one and it looks great in his home!

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As you can see from the photo the crack goes all the way to the metal frame.

As usual, after glue, spackle, sanding and paint it was back to like new condition. These lamps are soo Mad Men! I could see these sitting in the background while Don Draper is trying to sell a pitch to some company at his advertising agency. These are very cool.

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Here it is like new!

Here are both of the Weinberg horse lamps repaired and in Stephen’s home, they look soo nice together.

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I know as long as chalkware lamps are shipped I have job security. I love being able to save these from the scrap heap and make them new again. The alternative is to just throw them away and I couldn’t do that. This is why I try to share my techniques so others can save these fascinating relics from a time gone by.

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Reglor Chalkware Lamp Restoration- Heart Break and Rebirth

Melody and I had won a couple of lamp sets on Ebay that we had been trying to hunt down for sometime. Unfortunately when we received them they were in really bad shape. The green jester set was packed soo poorly and was busted beyond repair. I was able to file a claim and got our money back on that set but the issue wasn’t the money….it’s the idea that this fantastic set is now history and all it had survived from its birth counts for nothing because someone did not take the right amount of care to prevents its demise. Here is what arrived…

It broke my heart when I pulled these out of the box and there was more chalkware in the box than on the lamps.

The male figure appears to have gotten the brunt of the damage. I ended up just throwing these in the trash and that was hard to do for me. As you all know I restore things, but I couldn’t see any way to bring these back.

The next set that arrived damaged was the famous Reglor bullfighter lamps. These were going to be paired with our bullfighter Carlo’s. Unfortunately they would need repair first. Here is how they arrived…

The female bullfighter had a busted neck, waist and a large portion of her cape was broken off. The only damage to the male bullfighter was a busted neck.

To repair both of these lamps I used the same process that I blogged about earlier on the fairy lamp. Anyways after a few days of working on them and repainting them here is how they turned out.

They glow now.

It is amazing what stucco and glue can do.

His neck looks great!

These have been saved from the scrap heap. I am so glad they were able to be salvaged and will look great next to our Carlos.

Hawaiian Chalkware Lamps & Rewire

Mel and I picked these up at a local antique store and knew they would look fantastic in our Tiki room. As you can see from the before photo they were really dusty and needed some freshening up. Per my previous posts you know that I love to re-finish old lamps. These needed to be cleaned and repainted. I took a little creative license when it came to the repaint and I think they turned out great! Here is how they turned out:

Here she is. We were able to get these venetian shades but they were lime green and I knew that would look too strange so I painted them to match.

Here is the hula man. They both turned out well.

I even added facial features such as eyes, eyebrows and lips. When you redo a lamp don’t be afraid to add your own twist.

After both of these were re-finished I wasn’t comfortable with the “burn down my house” cord that was still attached to both. I decided to run over to Lowes to pick up a couple of lamp rewire kits so I would not have any worries when using these.

Required items: 1 faulty wired lamp, 1 rewire kit, cross tip and flat tip screwdriver & wire strippers/side cutters.

The first step is to dismantle the existing light assembly. I always recommend that you hang onto all pieces of the old lamp till you are done. These rewire kits you purchase are generic and sometimes the hardware doesn’t work with your lamp so you may have to reuse some of the cosmetic pieces.

Remove lamp harp, light bulb sleeve and shroud.

Next you need to disconnect the two wires connected to the light assembly.

Remove the rest of the hardware from the upper part of the lamp. Leaving just the wires sticking out of the top.

The next part is to cut the plug portion of the old cord off and push it through the base of the lamp so it can be pulled through the top of the lamp later. Now take the new cord and feed it through the base of the lamp (once the new cord is though the base tie a knot in the cord but make sure it’s loose so you can adjust it later) and twist the ends of the new cord together with the old cord. This will allow you to pull the new cord through the lamp when you pull the old cord out through the top. It is important that when you try to pull the new cord through the lamp that as you pull on the old cord you are pushing on the new cord.

Here you can see the new wire pulled through the lamp. Once you give yourself a little slack on top adjust the knot on the bottom to be tight against the base. The knot prevents the wire from getting pulled out if someone tugs on the cord.

I had to use the old base hardware but I was able to replace the harp holder and lower bowl for the bulb.

The next step is to re-attach the wires to the light assembly, slide cardboard insert over light assembly and then the metal sleeve and push the whole assembly into the light assembly bowl till it feels secure, it should lock/snap into place. Install the new harp and attach the lampshade and screw on the finial and you are all done. You just rewired a lamp! Not too hard huh?

Now I don’t have to keep the fire extinguisher handy when these are on.

Continental Art Company: Trillium Chalkware Lamp Restoration

Camila bled for her lovely lamp! Way to go!

Mel and I were approached by our friends Camila and Matt to repair their busted up Continental Art Company lamp. Ok, here is the story with this lamp…Camila saw a lamp just like this one but with different colors. She could not get that lamp out of her head so Camila made the ultimate sign of love……she got a tattoo of it on her forearm. A couple weeks later good fortune smiled upon Camila when she saw it online for sale for next to nothing. It had been broken in half, glued back together, and had lots of chalkware busted out and missing. I felt really good knowing Camila trusted me enough to fix her fantastic lamp. This lamp is so cool it will be hard to give it back. Mel and I debated on going into hiding to keep it…We could send pictures of it to them along its adventures (kind of like that gnome guy). But, anybody who loved this lamp enough to get a tattoo of it would track me down, steal my life, and take the lamp back. Thus, leaving Mel a widow.

Anyways, here is what we were dealing with when I got the lamp…

Here is the front with areas marked that need attention.

As you can see the back of the lamp appears to have taken a lot of damage.

The first thing to do was to fill all the cracks and areas that had missing material with spackle.

Here is the damage around the switch filled in.

After the DAP spackling dried I sanded it down and painted it.

After all the damage was filled and sanded I started to repaint the whole lamp. I used a semi gloss Valspar house paint. Mel and I shot over to Lowes to match the colors so we could make this lamp look like we didn’t change anything.

As you can see even with a complete repaint (yes, the entire lamp was repainted, everything) this lamp looks just like new and original. Mel even helped with some of the detail work!

As you can see the back of this lamp looks perfect and who could tell this lamp had previous damage?

Mel and I love the way the lamp turned out. I hope Camila and Matt love it too!

Here’s the final piece!

Chalkware Lamp Restoration-Continental Art Company Fairy

WHY!!!! Broken but not dead.

I thought I’d blog about how to fix a chalkware lamp. These lamps are also known as plaster lamps. I came across this at my friend Franks house. He received it from a friend of his but as you can see it had a major break to the base. I wasn’t sure I could fix it but I thought I would give it a try. I asked Frank if I could purchase it and he said “sure can” so I went home to start work.

Wow, it’s really bad looking isn’t it? Maybe if it faces the wall no one will notice.

The first thing that had to be done was glue the broken pieces back to the body of the lamp. I debated between a few different adhesives such as silicone, JB Weld or rubber cement. I though about the flexibility those adhesives have which would eventually cause the fix to fail. Then I remembered “Gorilla Glue“. This stuff is crazy good when gluing things together.

Glue of the Gods!

Once I managed to get the cap off the glue tube (they stick sometimes after use).  I started to glue the shards back to the lamp. You only need to hold the pieces in place for 30 seconds and they will hold. I wanted to make sure it dried so I let it sit for and hour before I started sanding.

Glue is holding like a champ!

I wanted to sand before I applied the filler to level out the surfaces.

The next step was to fill the gaps left from the pieces that were missing. I wasn’t sure what to use but then I remembered that  “DAP Spackling” was a chalky substance and would fill the gaps perfectly. This stuff is usually used to patch holes on walls but I had confidence it would work.

I applied that spackling in small amounts till I had all the gaps plugged.

Once all the gaps were filled I had to wait 4 hours before sanding or painting. I placed it out in the sun to help expedite the drying time. Once I got it into the light I realized that the fairy was very faded and I decided at that point I would have to paint it as well.

Catching some rays.

Once it was completely dry I sanded off the excess spackling. You want to sand it enough to when your finger slides over the surface it feels like there is no crack. Paint shows all faults so if this isn’t sanded completely flush it will show, trust me.

Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Now time for the paint. I swung into Lowes and had some paint mixed. I ended up purchasing BEHR eggshell “Mountain Ridge” house paint. I would of tried to spray paint but that would be hard to control.

I had to paint the fairy and the base the same color. the cream color would of been very hard to duplicate because it had a spackled finish.

As you can see from the paint I am applying how faded the fairy was.

Once it was all painted it just needed to dry. House paint is kind of funny because you think you have a good coat and later you will find some spots that need touch up. As it sits now it looks great but maybe tomorrow I might have to do some touch up. So without further adieu here she is!

Where is the crack?! It’s gone!

I am very pleased with its repair and restoration. I will now have to shoot over to Meteor Lights to order a shade for it.

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