Whether your removing the lamps paint finish because of its colour or condition, choosing the correct method is important. In this article and its video guides we will look at the different paint stripping methods, their pros, cons and a detailed demonstration of the way we strip lamps.
Paint Stripping Methods.
Abrasives, sand paper, emery cloth and mechanical sanding machines.
Taking basic abrasive paper sheets of varying grades and physically sanding off the paint. This method is by far the cheapest, safest and simplest of all available. However it is also the most labour intensive, time consuming and if done poorly can sand away edges of arms etc.
This video by Valéry Pazano shows the technique in action, he left the lamp unpainted, preferring a polished metal look.
With so many components left on the lamp it would be very difficult to spray paint it, as the paint would cover plastic knuckle joints, bolts and spacers. Choosing not to repaint works well in this situation, but if your finished lamp needs to be painted, you will need to strip the lamp down a lot further then in the video.
Over all, sanding is a cost effective simple method and done with care can produce a good clean surface ready to paint or polish.
Heat Gun paint stripping.
One effective and ideally suited paint removal technique is the heat gun method. Being metal the 1227 lamp arms, shade and base can be quickly stripped with a heat gun. There is alot less mess than with sanding, less aggressive and less chance of reshaping corners by accidental over sanding.
One main drawback is the heat will melt any rubber, cable or plastic spacer left on the Anglepoise lamp. A complete dismantling of components is a must.
This short video by shows how to apply heat and with the use of a metal scraper the paint can be removed.
Care must be taken not to scratch or score the lamp parts, but if needed small scratches can be sanded out. One tricky issue can be holding the hot components in place as you scrape of the paint. We found especially on the light aluminium arms that screwing them down to a sheet of wood works well. A large screw through each of the pivot point eyelet does a fine job.
Remember the components stay hot after you use this method, so proper safety precautions are a must. Good ventilation, gloves, goggles and a mask must be worn. (remember some earlier paints are lead based and vapours from them may be harmful).
Chemical Paint Strippers.
A note of caution here, chemical paint removers are among the most toxic products you can use in your home or workshop. The ingredients in a lot of paint removers are organic solvents which can cause skin irritation, eyes, respiratory tract, nervous system, and internal organs complications. So precautions must be taken when using propriety chemical paint strippers.
Furthermore a distinct fire risk is present with these paint strippers as solvents form a large part of their make up. so be aware of simple precaution, e.g. no smoking/naked flames etc. and keep the area very well ventilated.
Personal protective equipment is a must, gloves (chemical proof, not leather or woollen ones) goggles face mask and I recommend an apron, unless you don’t want the clothes your wearing any more. Cover the work are with disposable materials and have a eye bath or full water bucked nearby to neutralise spill or splashed chemical.
Some paint stripers are so strong that simply saying their name near by a lamp can cause involuntary paint shedding on all but the most stalwart lamps (allegedly). They can also melt every plastic component in a Anglepoise instantly, ruining it or at least costing you a fair amount of money.
Okay now I’ve scared the living day lights out of you with precaution which are very necessary, I can also reassure you that chemical paint stripping is by far the best solution. In this video (….) show how to remove paint with a chemical stripper.
The benefits, well time is king, in 15 min your lamp could be in bare metal from start to finish. With some strippers no scrapping or abrasives are needed, just simply way off the paint under the tap, removing any risk of metal damage. Speed and quality of results far outweigh the in convenience of having to wear protective clothing or needing a fully dismantle the lamp. There are a few good make Nitromors for example some that are less aggressive but safer to use such as Enviromose.
What we do at relight lamps.
But what if I was to let you into a big trade secret, come here, a little closer I whisper it in your ear.. Detol. Yeh you read that right, we the “professionals” use a household anti bacterial “soap” to strip paint.
Why?, it’s safe on plastic so no need to dismantle the lamp completely, its far less dangerous to use and smells a whole lot better than any paint stripper we have found. Unless you got a thing against that hospital ward sort of smell, but its cheep.
Yes it takes a little longer to work, yes you may need to wash of a layer or two of paint and then retreat the diehard bits , but did I mention its cheep and does not want to blind, gas or kill you.
Here’s Ron in the workshop showing how to strip an Herbert Terry 1227 in Detol using household containers.
The important thing to remember is all Detol is not created equal, the paint stripper version is the Anti Bacterial version with (and it says it on the front label) ” chloroxylenol “. It must be that version else all you’ll get is a funky smell.
It is aluminium and plastic safe, to a point, e.g. don’t leave it in the pot for a fortnight, but 24 hours is just fine. Oh it is a de-greasant so unless you want to remove the oils in your skin and hands use gloves /goggles. It can discolour cloth so best not do it on the settee watching TV over your Persian rug.
The whole process is in the video, but in a nut shell :-
Strip the lamp of its electrical components, wire, lamp holder and switch.
Dismantle the lamp to a point where you can fit it into a water tight container and have the wherewithal to afford the volume of Detol needed to fill it up, above the level of the lamp.
leave the components or whole lamp to soak for 24 hours.
Remove and wash in cold running water, use a soft brush to help remove stubborn paint.
Repeat the process until the paint is removed. It would be very unlikely to replace the Detol as the concentration seems strong enough to strip a lamp, even when the solution is discoloured and paint flake ridden. But if necessary a fresh Detol bath would have no ill effects for your lamp.
Rinse thoroughly and dry, pay particular attention to the base as it has a cover plate that may trap water between the cast iron base and cover causing rust issues in the future. Its best to strip the lamp to small bits but whatever your comfortable with.
Now your lamp is removed of its paint finish it is time to move to the next phase of your restoration. Whether its chromium plating, metal polishing or a coat of fresh new paint we will cover the step in upcoming videos.
Hope this article was of help and again we would like to thank Ron in the workshop for making the video and sharing a rather nice trade secret. As usual please post any questions on the comments below or on our you tube channel. Also if you could like the YouTube videos it would help us a lot.
Thanks for your continued support.