The Need to Repair
The large piece of glass on your torchiere glass lamp shade has shattered. Glass is a hard substance, but because of its disordered, vitreous structure, it is also brittle and can fracture or shatter easily because of improper handling or repeated, low energy stresses. When one is broken, people seek out replacement glass lamp shades. There are two ways to go about replacing the item.
The first option is to outright seek out a retailer who can match the original lamp shade, or approximate it with something close. There are many art houses in the United States who specialize in glasswork. For a hefty price, one can likely get a very close replacement glass lamp shade or an item that is highly similar. The second option is to try to fix the broken lamp shade by employing the services of a skilled worker.
Glass making is an art form that takes an initially shapeless lump of silicon oxide and transforms it into a beautiful piece of art. A blower can take a look at an existing shade and ascertain the materials, the process and the types of the tools employed in the making of the piece. With this in mind, the blower can set about creating replacement glass lamp shades.
Rolling and Heating
To do so, he or she gathers a blob of molten vitreous substance on the end of a long metallic, hollow rod called a blow pipe. The material, while hot, is inflated by forceful blowing through the pipe. Again, while hot or under reheating, this inflated piece is then rolled on a highly polished steel surface called a marver. The rolling action causes the inflated blob to acquire a symmetric, round shape. The material is then heated again. A tool known as a jacks, which looks like very long thin pliers, is then used to constrict the material at certain points, giving rise to variations in its shape. Without the jacks, the glass can only look like a boring cylinder. The jacks can be used to widen openings in the top, flaring the tip to create replacement glass lamp shades that have a flowery lip. Folding the rim again can make it look more ornate.
Patterns of Color
To duplicate features such as the beautiful coloring pattern of Tiffany glass lamp shades, the artisan worker will use one of several methods. A small piece of a bar of colored vitreous material can be broken off and placed at the end of the blow pipe. After it has melted or softened, it is marvered and then covered with clear material. This produces the starting point of colored replacement glass lamp shades. The artisan worker may also work in reverse, by softening a piece of clear material on the blow pipe, and then dipping the entire blob into colored, crushed vitreous material, which can have the coarseness of small pebbles or fine sand. This is placed into the oven to melt over and color the clear glass.
Methods of Repair
For people who are not willing to settle for an entirely new lamp shade, a broken lamp shade can be repaired for a price. Small damage like chips on the product can be polished away, although there is a risk of breakage for any piece that undergoes this procedure. A customer will likely sign a waiver absolving the restoration store of such responsibility. Larger cracks, fractures and complete shattered pieces can also be repaired using specialty glues that can minimize the appearance of fracture lines. It is unlikely that the restoration will be visibly perfect upon very close examination.