FAQ Index

Light Table

Construction / Molds

Choosing Glass

Pattern Preparation

Pattern Hints

Scoring / Breaking Glass



Fitting The Glass

Lamp Positioners

Solder / Soldering

Reinforcing Lamps

Special Considerations


Releasing a Shade

Ring and Rim



Special Applications

Tools, Aids etc.

Health & Safety Concerns


Selling Your Artwork

Workshop Renovations

Photographing Lamps


Joan Bengtson: The polishing method that works for me is to apply Kem-O-Pro fairly sparingly with cottonballs, but don’t let it dry before brushing it in. I use a big old soft shoe brush, first brushing in circles to get into the edges and then spread out the polish using long brush strokes. After the polish has dried to a haze I buff it thoroughly with the brush again. Be aware that Kem-O-Pro will remove patina if it’s brushed too vigorously or too soon after applying the chemicals. Waiting a day or two to let the patina set will give better polishing results.
Barb Grollo: To get into grooves, when I’m cleaning or polishing textured glass, I use old toothbrushes. For easy use, I’ve transferred the polish, Kem-O-Pro, into a spray bottle. I bought a 12 pack of heavy duty cloth diapers and use them for polishing since they do a great job and don’t get caught in the crevices like terry cloth does.
Eric Scott was not pleased with the appearance of his finished lamp after applying a coat of lacquer. (The glass looked like plastic!) Paul Crist responded that we should simply wax the shade with cordovan (or dark brown) shoe polish - the residue collects against the solder lines and adds to the look of the patina.
Jennifer Buckner: To help you polish your completed lamp, try a dremel tool with a small bristle brush attachment to get into those tiny areas that you can’t reach by hand and takes a lot less “elbow grease” to polish a large lamp. A good product to use for polishing is Giraffe Joos. It helps reduce the residue that builds up along solder lines.
Nikki O’Neill: If you happen to have a circular sander, you might try a lamb’s wool polishing bonnet attachment to polish your lamp. It will reach inside tight corners and saves on q-tips and elbow grease.

John Baker: After a lamp project is “completed”, I like to put it on a base, light it up and view it for the first time...up close and personal. Since no one is perfect (on the first try anyway), I get my stuff ready to DETAIL my lamp.
1. Use multiple toothpicks to clean out any missed wax. They don’t scratch the lead and are cheap! Usually wax and flux show up in tight cracks of leading. Also use toothpicks to dig out any buried BB’s of solder hidden in the many crevases.
2. Use an exacto knife with a new blade to trim off any “overlaps” of copper foil. With a carefully placed cut, you can even up most of them. You can also use the knife to trim off the worst “split edges” of foil where it was forced to curve more than it wanted. When done properly, it looks like you foiled it right the first time.
3. Look for any leaded seams that didn’t take a good patina. (My favorite stuff is copper sulfate solution which has aged for several days with lots of contaminates.) I use a fine wire brass bristle brush which is soaked in a hot batch of the patina. By carefully brushing the troublesome areas, the brush scrapes off the offending crud and
allows the patina to “take” - all in one step.
4. After a thorough washing and drying, I re-examine for other flaws while it’s on the lighted lamp base. If satisfied, sit back and enjoy the view; otherwise, back to step one.
5. Use brown shoe polish on the patina after it has aged for about a week.