June 23, 2010

Fiberglass Shades Go On Trial

Yes kids, it's time for the Commander to fire-up the old projector and give another one of his infamous slide shows. You may as well sit down and relax, because all the doors have been locked (hehehe)...

Okay, lets have the first slide - dubbed "Exhibit A"...

Look at 'em. They are quite a mess aren't they? When I picked up this pair of matching bedside lamps back in the 80's they looked pretty spiffy and bright with that spring motif from the lamp body repeated on the shade itself.

And now, after spending the past decade in storage the fiberglass has yellowed and the fiber lacing has disintegrated. What a neglectful owner I've been - Boo hoo!

I've heard rumors of a cleanser that can lighten yellowed fiberglass such as this. Would simple vinyl lacing found at the craft store fill in for new lacing?... we'll see to those later. But first we have even more eyesores to behold . . .

Next slide please... "Exhibit B"

This fiberglass lampshade found in my Grandma's attic has a different set of troubles. There's a couple of noticeable dents that just refuse to pop out and play nice.

And the final slide... "Exhibit C"

Yes, I would gasp too to see such an unsightly blemish as this. These are dirt stains from a leaky roof that have soaked underneath the fiber. Gently patting (never rub downward on fiberglass) with a damp cloth doesn't even touch this. Perhaps a soak in a warm dishwater detergent solution will help? But this shade has a paper binding, not lacing. Oh, what to do?!

I'll be offering some possible solutions (hopefully) and my own results (good or not so good) in upcoming weeks... or maybe longer if the Judge decides to throw the book at me =O

But first I'd like to know what YOU have tried and found works best for your own fiberglass shade woes. Please feel free to leave your comments right here and share your lampshade restoration knowledge for Everyone to learn from!

=== repost of comments ===

1950's_atomic_ranch_house said...

Wedgewood Tulsa mentioned I might try ironing the dents out of my crushed lampshade. Use a towel over the fiberglass and between the iron, of course. But I'm not sure if that will work on fiberglass still mounted on the frame in the conical shape?

The metal frame looks bent on mine as well. Ugh.

Let me know if you found lacing that isn't that shiny bright plastic. Maybe go to Tandy Leather (are they still in biz?) or let me know what you use, because I need some of that, too. =O

Hope you get some answers, or can find the fixes to share with us!

Space Commander said...

I'm sure there's plenty of people who'd like some help, including me! I heard the ironing/blow dryer method works for plastic, I think I'll try it on my one shade if nothing else works.. Thanks :) Wish I was close by you, I can prolly fix the frame.

Tandy Leather still exists, but no longer locally around here. They offer a mail order catalog. Here's the lacing: http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/home/department/Lacing/Lacing.aspx
Hard to tell the finish from those photos...

This manufacturer sells replacement lace (looks like vinyl to me): http://www.moonshineshades.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=1

Maybe a person could take off some of the shine with fine sandpaper, or skip vinyl and go with the leather??


Space Commander said...

And the problem of the disappearing post is finally fixed! I wish Blogger would fix *something* so that wouldn't happen =P

Anyway, I tried a plain old bath on the first pair of shades tonight... they're lookin' squeaky clean.

Jennie@Wedgwood Tulsa said...

I used the craft store lacing on a lampshade with good results. The lacing I found was black with a matte finish. I'll try to post some pics over at my blog within the next week.

I've also cleaned yellowed shades with a technique I read about somewhere online. It's been a long time, and I don't remember the specifics, but I used dish detergent that I frothed up with a hand mixer. The lampshade I cleaned had a printed design, and some of it scrubbed off along with the yellowing and dirt. The design didn't come off completely, but it is lighter now. The dish soap cleaner would probably work really well with a plain shade.

Space Commander said...

Thanks Jennie! I was a little worried about the printing on mine last night when I scrubbed them, but they don't look any worse for wear. Maybe different shades have different results...

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