Saturday, April 20, 2019

Another antique floor lamp redone and ready for use

Fresh from my success with that last lamp, I tackled another. This one is a little unusual in that the center reflector fixture is not a mogul fixture and apparently never was one. Still three lights in a cluster around it, and then also there is a nightlight in the base of the lamp, on a foot switch.

The whole lamp has always been frustratingly wobbly, never standing straight. So I hoped to fix that while I was at it. We have never used it. I bought it at a sale sometime and never did the work necessary to make it useful.

Before pictures:

I took the whole thing apart and cleaned it. Boy, was it in need of cleaning. Rusty on the insides of the iron pieces, corrosion on the other metals, and a horror of rotten wires inside. Plus a dead mouse. Not really. But you could have hidden lots of things in the cobwebs up inside the base, amongst bare wires. Scary.

After I scrubbed, derusted, and decorroded the metal parts, I sprayed all the parts except for the center rod and tube with a clear matte acrylic spray to protect them from the next round of moisture damage. Once they were dry, I began rewiring.

This lamp had key switches on each of the 3 cluster lights, and a key switch on the reflector light, and a foot push button switch on the nightlight - BUT there was also a push-button switch underneath the cluster that was a master switch for all the top lights. Okay for what it was, but not what I wanted, and that many key lights seemed weird to me.

I replaced all sockets on the top portion with new keyless sockets to simplify things. I kept the nightlight socket which was in great shape once cleaned up. I then rewired with a new 3-way rotary switch in the place where the push-button switch had been under the cluster body. I wired it a little differently than traditional, putting the cluster of 3 on the primary switch, the center reflector light on the secondary, and then the tertiary position was all three on at once.

The reason for the wobbliness I'm embarrassed to say I never really solved. The center rod is not long enough for the way the lamp is set up. The last person to work on the lamp had decided to move it up higher so that it held the reflector socket in place, but this meant it did not go all the way down to the base and that's where the wobble was. Basically it was a plastic piece holding the whole lamp upright, and not very well. I elected to use the rod with the threading making good contact at the base, for stability. But this meant it only connected at the top where the cluster body connected, and the reflector lamp was left hanging by its cord. I "solved" this by using plumber's putty to first settle the porcelain reflector socket inside its holder, then fasten the holder to the cluster body, pulling up the slack on the cord inside the cluster body. I held my breath to see how this worked, and it was successful: The center reflector light is solid and firm and doesn't seem like it's anything less than attached the way it's supposed to be. This morning after the putty was dry I used a gold metallic oil-based Sharpie pen to color the putty this morning and everything looks really good (to me).

Again, we used Edison-style LED bulbs, this time with an amber tint. And this lamp already had an opal glass shade for the reflector light so I went ahead and used it.

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These were taken before I Sharpied the plumber's putty. The next one shows it with the color corrected.

And the base, lit and unlit:

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Finally the lamp base, which is made of cast iron, has 6 little bare metal feet that can scratch a nice floor, so this morning I used 2 packages of black Sugru modeling compound to form 6 little "socks" for the feet. The weight of the lamp now rests on this and it's drying.
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By tomorrow morning this lamp should be ready for use.

Our 1913 House: Remodel, Continued

Frog and his son DJ, with help from other contractors, have made great progress on the front rooms remodel. They have removed all the lathe and plaster from walls and ceilings, removed the center wall (while bracing up the second floor), put in a lam beam to hold the weight, framed in the outer walls, replaced a window, added lots of good wood bracing and framing both to reinforce the weight of the second floor and to provide space for spray insulation, and have replaced/moved some ductwork. There's just a little bit more framing to do, I believe, then electrical, then insulation, then drywall.

Some pictures:

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Friday, April 05, 2019

Our 1913 House: Living Room(s) Remodel Begins

I'm excited to share that the last part of our first floor that is not insulated is up for its turn for remodel! Our house (built in 1913) has two front rooms. We call them "the living room" and "the other living room." They are divided by a wall with a doorway that once closed with pocket doors. There's stained glass in one window of each room.

Today the demolition started and this video shows you what it looks like:

I'll post more as we go.