Lamp: how to clean, how much to clean, how to finish

chibimimiMarch 6, 2012

So I recently bought this little deco-moorish lamp. It was sold to me as cast iron and my original plan was to paint it satin black or ORB, before taking it to the electrician for rewiring.

However, when I began cleaning it prior to painting, I found brass color on the high spots on the base. The center medallion is a silvery grey, as is the underside of the base, The neck is brass colored.

In the cleaning, Barkeepers Friend did little to nothing. When I switched to plain old dishwashing liquid and a scrubby, the grime started coming off, revealing the metal colors.

A couple of questions: Is it cast iron, with brass plating in parts? It does not rust with the washing, which has been my experience with iron. It is too heavy to be spelter (I think). The casting also seems to be too smooth and fine for iron.

Second question: how much of the "grime" should I try to take off?

Third question, should I even paint it? I kind of like the two-tone metal look with patina, but is that look too esoteric? Paint would be unobjectionable, but what about unpainted?

And finally, if I decide to leave it unpainted, how should I protect the bare metal from rust?

It is the first four pictures in this photo album:

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Does it hold a magnet? Iron holds a magnet.
If it's cast iron, I would scrub it well and put a clear lacquer on it to keep it from rusting....if it's not cast iron....doesn't hold a magnet, I would polish it.....try brasso.
Nice lamp....replace the sleeves on the sockets, re wire and get a shade.....and it will be very nice.
Linda c

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:09AM
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It might be a mix of brass and pot metal (spelter, that grey cheap casting metal). Spelter is heavy.

I like it!

And can we see a better picture of the fireplace tile? It's interesting.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Too much detail for spelter.
Put a little scratch on the bottom with a screwdriver and tell us what color it is.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 3:19PM
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The scratch is a brass-color and the entire lamp is magnetic, except for the finial. Thanks for reminding me of the magnet trick! I used to carry one in my wallet for testing "brass" until it wiped out a couple of credit cards.

My husband says he thinks it is steel, with brass-plating on the base. (Though why someone would brass-plate the base and not the rest, I don't know.) I've never seen steel used like this in a lamp, but then again, I haven't seen everything ... or maybe I have, now.

The man has no soul. He suggested taking it to an auto body shop and having it powdercoated in candy-apple red. I hope his tongue was in his cheek. I think I'll follow LInda's suggestion and spray it with lacquer once it's cleaned up, then take it to the electrician. This is not the kind of thing I would rewire myself. I've ordered a wire candelabra-lamp frame to cover -- just have to pick out fabrics for it.

Lazyg, I'll see if I can get a shot of the whole fireplace. It' ll have to wait until tomorrow, when there's more light. The surround and hearth are English handmade tiles with glass tile accents -- not too expensive, since it's a small space, and the tile has a lot of impact. We remodeled this room recently.

What? No one noticed the beautiful cat? I couldn't keep him away from the camera.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Fori is not pleased

I noticed the cat. :)

It reminds me of the polychrome lamps a little bit--the ones with the slipper shades. I don't know what they were made of.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Sorry....I had my eye on the brass candlesticks......

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Here's the frame that's on the way. It might be a little over-the-top, but that's never stopped me before.

Linda, I'll take a picture of the brass candlestick collection just for you. It started with a pair that was a wedding gift and snowballed from there.

Fori, it's from the same era as the little polychrome lamps and I thought at first it might have been painted at one time.

Here is a link that might be useful: lampshade frame

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Linda and lazyg, I've just posted more pictures of the candlesticks and fireplace to my album.

Linda, this is a partial view of my collection -- the dining room table isn't very large. The smallest pair were the wedding gift that started the whole thing. I have several others, singles and pairs, throughout the house, as well as antique wooden candlesticks.

lazyg, I hope you can get a better feel for the fireplace surround and hearth from the photos. It's kind of hard to get a good shot of the glass tile.

The board isn't letting me link up to my album, so here's the address. I still haven't figured out how to import the photos straght into my post.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Very pretty fireplace. A good use of material to make an impact.

And, for some reason, I didn't even notice the cat.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:21PM
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I love brass candlesticks...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:11PM
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