House Light Fixture Demonstration
September of 2006, Matt Weber of Della Terra Studios was commissioned
to re-create several light fixtures for the Historic Price house
located near the Chandler Fashion Mall in Chandler, Arizona. 300
S. Chandler Village Dr. The
following is a detailed demonstration of the construction of the
Doorway Fixtures. Per
our contract, we had to re-create these pieces as close to the
original drawings as possible.
The project started off with some forging. I stamped the mounting
plates with the Flypress, forged some leaves on the ends of twisted
stock for the sides, and veined and twisted the supporting arms.
I did some thinking on how to form the dome tops. They are round
on top and hexagon on the sides. My first thought was to form
the dome from a single piece of round stock, then crease the edges
over a stake to form the hexagon shape. This probably would not
have been a bad choice if I had not already had the hexagon plates
cut. Trying to determine the correct diameter of circle to st
art with, and
trying to figure how much diameter I would loose in the forming,
just to make it fit the hexagon plate was too much. I had visions
of throwing many out until I got the right form. So I decided
to form it from six separate pieces. This didn't turn out to be
bad at all.
started with a cardboard template to ensure a good fit. Then traced
the template onto some 18ga CR sheet, and cut it with the Beverly.
Then I clamped them together and sanded the edges smooth to ensure
and even fit.
connect them, the pieces are welded in pairs. This allowed me
to hammer them on the the shot bag, and weld them up as they formed
together. Non-marring plastic hammers work great for hammering
metal that you eventually want smooth. After each dome was completed,
I smoothed out any noticeable lumps with the English wheel.
attach the small decorate twists on top of the domes, I welded
a rivet from the back side. This will also serve as the mount
for a leafy finial.
the sides that support the fixture and hold the glass, I used
1/2 angle iron. Since the 90 degree angle of angle iron obviously
doesn't match up to the angle of the hexagon, I set the check
nut on my Flypress and pressed it to shape.
also had to give some thought on how the light bulb was going
to be changed. These are outdoor fixtures and I want them watertight.
So I decided to make a mounting plate, and cut out the bottom
of the fixture. The fixtures will be secured from underneath with
screws. I was getting anxious and figured this was a good time
to add the twists as well.
Following the design of the sketches, I used the Flypress to re-create
the zig-zag design.
design called for hood vents. This really makes me wonder what
type of lamps these were. I assume from the date of the drawings
(1920's-30's) that they were electric. Who knows. But the hood
vents make me think they might have been gas lanterns. Anyway,
light bulbs don't need vents and I don't want water getting in
these fixtures so I made some fake vents. (actually, heat can
vent out the tops of the glass pains. However, I still don't think
design also called for rosettes all around the fixtures. I used
the flypress to make some quick and easy rosettes (needed 24 of
them) that turned out nice. I sliced 24 wafers about 1/8 inch
thick out of 1 1/4 inch cold roll bar with the band saw. Pressed
the flower petals in, set the center hole for drilling, set a
1/4 rivet in, and punched it for a flower effect.
it's time to assemble the bases. I really like to assemble things
standing upright like they will be mounted. I feel it gives you
the best perspective to judge the balance and reduces surprises
at install time. I made a quick jig out of a 2 x 4 and leveled
it off. The wall mounts were pressed against my table so I still
had a good ground for welding. I ran a tube along the arm that
supports the fixture to run the wiring through. This is both functional
and mimics a gas tube that would have been found on gas lanterns.
Finally! All the metalwork is done. Here they are cleaned up and
ready for a patina.
started with PC9 to blacken everything up. Then applied a light
rust patina to add some reds. This will go well with the exterior
of the house. After washing the chemicals off and thoroughly drying,
I apply a light coat of Permalac to see what colors I've got.
I then highlighted the textures and various area's with German
Silver Gilders Paste. Then applied about five final coats of Permalac.
After cutting the glass and wiring the fixtures, I can call these
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