Lamp Shade Repair

While the black walnut wood for the desk project settles, I have an opportunity to help a client with the repair of a 1960s vintage lamp shade that's taken an unfortunate tumble. New wood to replace the damaged part at the top of the shade will need to be matched to the cherry wood in the shade's frame. I'll also need to replace the shade fabric. The fabric is typical of this type of lamp in that it is bonded to a sheet of styrene that rests in a groove in the wooden frame. This shade is part of a set of three. Fortunately the other two just need to have the aging fabric replaced.

The cherry I found should be a nice match, of course the match won't be confirmed until the wood has aged awhile. There is quite a bit of variation on each of the shades, so the new part should blend in well after a time. I planed two small sheets of cherry to a little over 1/8" thickness. Then the two sheets were glued together using epoxy adhesive with their respective grain directions oriented 90° to each other. Although epoxy wasn't used when the shade was manufactured, the two-layer solution is in keeping with the original.

Just a little bit of squeeze out!

Dental tools come in handy when cleaning out these small mortises. I also used a chisel to clean the old adhesive off of the tenons of the four joints that I had to re-glue.

Once the parts were cleaned-up, the glue-up went very smoothly. Below you see me using a plane iron to pare away the old adhesive from the surfaces of the frame. The original had no joinery in this area; just a bit of adhesive.

Shaping a bevel on the new part was accomplished by running the wood over my smoothing plane held in the bench vise. I later rigged up a simple rail and guide system that allowed me to fine-tune the bevel to the precise angle needed to match-up with the frame.

Here is the top, dry fit into the frame, showing the pencil layout for the vent openings.

I started cutting the openings on the band saw, but finished them up with a chisel.

An old unused Stanley block plane gets to see some action as a weight to hold the shade top in position while the adhesive sets.

I trimmed the glue squeeze-out and gave the edges a nice soft feel using a plane iron.

The new fabric looks good in these rejuvinated lamp shades.

Here's a close-up of the repaired shade top. It's a bit lighter in color than the original material, but this should deepen and mellow with time.

I really like the design of these shades. They're a nice compliment to the tall tapered cherry wood lamp bases. With any luck they'll last another 50 years!

Hej då... and happy shavings!