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Old 11-06-2015, 02:04 PM
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Default Restoring a Chandelier

I am restoring an old chandelier that's been in my family and would love any advice or guidance so I don't accidentally destroy it in the process!

What it used to look like:



And now after being in storage for at least a decade it's in various pieces (there is an entire box full of all the glass pieces that weren't still hanging on it, wasn't worth taking a picture of):





The main thing I have a question about is the metal.

A lot of the metal is tarnished and what I assume is paint is chipping off of the gold/brass looking parts. From poking around online it looks like the best approach is to clean off as much as I can (whether this is done with sandpaper or soap and water or some sort of vinegar mix seems to vary) and then paint it.

For painting it sounds like I spray it with some primer (I'd cover up outlets and whatever glass parts I can't remove with tape) and then with whatever color I choose.

As for the other parts:

I have a coworker who is a licensed electrician and tested it out, no rewiring will be needed! I'm going to switch out the bulbs to LEDs because once it's hung up it's going to be a pain in the ass to ever change bulbs.

The biggest timesink will be removing the wire from the old crystal, washing the crystal and then redoing the wires. Apparently this was often cleaned by just spraying Windex on it and letting that sit there, so there is all sorts of gross sticky gunk on there. But I tried washing some of the pieces and that all came off really quickly so I'm not too worried.

It used to have small stands that helped the squares stand up on the edge of the chandelier but so many of those have broken over the years I plan on skipping that. It will also now be high enough up you couldn't see those anyway.

Anyway, I don't want to destroy this since I only get one shot and I've never done any kind of craft metal stuff so any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:42 PM
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Hmm, maybe aluminum wire for sculpture armatures or similar would be best. It should be a good balance of malleability, strength, light weight, and tarnish resistance. Get some good wire clippers and needle nose pliers if you don't have them, and some lightweight leather work gloves so you can keep your dexterity while also keeping your hands from getting chewed up. Once you test and know which length of wire you need just calculate how many pieces you need and cut them all at once. This will save you some time and you can watch TV or something.

Likewise, soaking the glass squares in warm soapy might save you some time.

For repainting, You will want to just go at it with sandpaper and be as thorough as you can, then use a primer, then the color you want (if it isn't available as a primer), and finish with a clear coat. Glossy will clean up easier in the future for dusting, etc.. Remember to use many thin coats for each step, or else some areas might get lumpy. I really like the Montana Gold brand chrome metallics. They really do get almost as shiny as real polished metal.

If you get used to working with the wire then maybe you can jury rig the stands for the edge too. I had an old bicycle that was held together primarily by wire. It's great stuff.

Edit: and polishing will be unnecessary if you're repainting, go straight for the sandpaper.
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:06 PM
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That was super helpful, thank you so much!
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Old 11-07-2015, 11:11 AM
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You're welcome. I hope it goes well, it looks like it'll be beautiful!
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Old 11-09-2015, 07:37 AM
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That's going to be gorgeous once it's done! And I can't stress mulitple, light coats of spray paint enough, with a few hours of drying time between each coat.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:26 AM
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So it's been over a year (we had to wait until summer to have night temperatures stay high enough to do the paint), but great progress has been made!

Guys, it was so gross.



Rust or just dust or something? Bleah.



After only a bit of sanding so much of that red/brown crap came off.

I didn't get a picture but the glass cleaned up beautifully. There were more broken pieces than I had hoped, but we spaced things out and you can't tell easily.

But repainting went great (thanks for the advice!) it's up now and we just have some final electrical stuff to do. Really excited that this all worked out.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:36 AM
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Woah cool! I'm excited to see the final results.
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Old 12-20-2016, 09:05 AM
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Yay, nice to see it coming along!
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:01 AM
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And it's up!

We have a dimmer switch which is just great as it's SO BRIGHT. Cleaning it will be a hell of a thing, but hopefully we only have to do that once a year or so.



Totally worth all the time it took. Definitely glad I'm friends with the company's electrician as I'm sure this would have cost much more than she charged me if I just called a random electrician.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:40 AM
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Beautiful!
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:42 AM
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That's so cool. Congratulations. This thread has been a journey.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:00 AM
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Wow! The difference is astonishing. Nice work!
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:43 PM
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wow, what a difference!
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:55 PM
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Whoo! Fancy.
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:55 PM
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That's pretty boss! The final result looks great!
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:11 PM
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holy fuck that's a hell of a chandelier
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  #17  
Old 02-21-2017, 05:51 PM
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Glad to see your saga came up sparkly!
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:12 PM
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Looks fantastic! So did you ever end up having to paint it, or did just sanding and polishing do the trick?
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  #19  
Old 02-26-2017, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traumadore View Post
Looks fantastic! So did you ever end up having to paint it, or did just sanding and polishing do the trick?
Sanded and painted with a couple coats. Most of the brass/gold came off in sanding, so it was another kind of metal underneath.

We had to wait a few months for the weather to be nice enough to do that outside and ended up changing one of the inner rings from silver to white in the process. The silver made more sense in the low darker ceiling of the old house, now it's about 15 feet up against a vaulted white ceiling!
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  #20  
Old 02-27-2017, 09:21 PM
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Okay, that makes sense. For a second I was wondering if it was old enough to be solid brass. You made pretty good time on this project considering this is the kind of thing that tends to sit in a garage for years. Nice work!
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