Thread Number: 40308  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
What do I need to put a shade on this lamp?
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Post# 428149   7/4/2020 at 14:45 (197 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Earlier this week, I posted the following in another thread about flea markets, thrift shops, etc. Instead of further hijacking that one, I'm creating a new one. For reference (and to save a few keystrokes) I'm including the relevant text from that post below:

...The former was a leaded glass lamp shade, probably contemporary manufacture but a classic design, attractive in its simplicity. Sure, I would have loved something ornate with dagonflies but this one's cool in an arts-and-crafts sort of way. I've got an antique art nouveau lamp base down in the barn that I grabbed from my parents' basement when they were moving four years ago, with the idea of possibly finding such a shade to put on it. I'll post photos once I excavate the base and put the two pieces together. I'm not sure what, if any additional hardware I'll need. A decorative finial, maybe? The nice thing is if I ever find something I like better, the price of this one was cheap enough that I can upgrade without losing any sleep over it.

New text begins:
It took a few days, but I finally found that lamp base, buried in deeply in the barn (see photos) but I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to need to attach the shade; in fact, loath as I am to admit it, being an English professor, I'm not even sure I possess the proper vocabulary to describe the parts I need. Granted, one could argue that knowing, or at least being aware that I don't know something is the basis of wisdom, but we'll save the philosophical ruminations for another time.

What I'm seeing is a top plate with about a 3/16-inch threaded hole in the middle that something needs to screw into but I don't know what that something is called. I'm also not totally convinced that anything screwing into that tiny hole will be sufficiently strong to support the weight of this leaded glass shade. The end that connects to the shade would need to go through a 3/8-inch hole at the top of the shade. In addition, I have only one screw to attach the top plate to the lamp, so I would need to find another one for the other side. This is fairly easy in that it screws into a tab in the sheet metal so the diameter and threads don't need to match up exactly. I can most likely dig a suitable screw out of my screw jar.

The lamp appears to have been rewired at some point but the cord has gotten stiff. While there are no breaks in the insulation, my gut tells me it would be best to go ahead and replace it. From an aesthetic standpoint, my preference would be to replace it with period correct cloth insulated cording.

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Post# 428151 , Reply# 1   7/4/2020 at 18:08 (197 days old) by bikerray (Middle Earth)        

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Originally the shade would have had a large opening that fit down over the top and rested on the lip. Then you would have a cap that went over the top of the shade with a finial to hold the lamp shade in place. In some cases the shade just rested on the lip without being held in place, so if it got knocked over there went the shade.

If you're doing a new shade you will have to find an adapter to screw into the center hole and convert it to a 3/8" hole (most likely) then raise the new shade up slightly to compensate for the lights etc. so they don't hit on the underside of the new shade.

Post# 428160 , Reply# 2   7/4/2020 at 21:26 (197 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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So that plate in the second picture screws onto the top of the lamp? And presumably, the glass shade would sit on that plate, then?

Well I think your first order of business is to determine the bolt size and thread pitch of that hole in the center. If I had to venture a guess, I would say 1/4 x 27, as apparently that's a lamp standard for finials. However, it's a slightly unusual thread pitch for literally everything else but lamps. Only guessing, anyway. I'll bet you could screw in a bolt from the underside of it, then use a standard finial to hold on the shade. If you are unlucky, and it is an abnormal size, you could still screw in a bolt from the underside, tighten it, and just use a nut and washer to hold on the shade. An inelegant solution, but still a solution.

Also that other screw is likely more specific than you think it is. It looks in the picture like it's also a machine thread. Go to the hardware store, and start looking.

Post# 428168 , Reply# 3   7/4/2020 at 22:12 (197 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Madman: You are correct that the glass shade would sit on top of the plate. The screw hole in the middle of the plate is definitely smaller than 1/4". It measures closer to 3/16" in diameter. Just for fun, I found an open pack of #10-24 x 5/8 machine screws that I'd bought to replace a couple of missing ones on my Electrolux PN1 and they screwed readily into the center hole. The one side screw in the first photo does have machine threads but it doesn't screw into a threaded hole; it just goes into a flat metal tab. The screw looks a lot like one that would hold a light switch plate or outlet cover in place. I also found an open pack of 6-32 x 1-1/4 machine screws that snug into place nicely but they're way too long. I could certainly cut one down if I don't find anything else that works. You're right. I'm going to have to check some hardware stores but I'm doubtful Lowe's or Home Depot would carry what I need. I wish I knew where an old fashioned hardware store was around here, preferably one that's been in business for about 100 years and still has stock from long ago. I was also thinking of drilling that center hole out to 1/4" and attaching the appropriate riser with a nut and washer, then securing the shade with a fitting finial.

Post# 428170 , Reply# 4   7/4/2020 at 22:26 (197 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I took a finial off of another lamp and tried one of those #10-24 x 5/8 machine screws in it. The screw is way too small for the hole on the finial. I almost wish I had a second plate that I could experiment on without worrying too much about ruining it beyond the point of usability.

Post# 428177 , Reply# 5   7/5/2020 at 02:10 (197 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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#10 is not that far away from 1/4. If there's enough meat around that center bolt hole, you could drill it just a tiny bit and tap it to 1/4-27. Apparently you need a #3 drill bit, and a tap. And then a bolt. Alternatively, you could just screw in a #10 bolt from the top to hold the shade on, but then you don't get a finial. The tap is available on amazon, but I'm having trouble finding a bolt. That might require some looking. I suppose there's a slight possibility you could steal one from a lamp harp.

Post# 428178 , Reply# 6   7/5/2020 at 02:21 (197 days old) by OldSuck (Houston, Texas )        

Did you try searching "lamp parts"?
You’ll see many dealers with a surprising selection of reproduction parts.
This is just a screenshot from the first site I clicked on-
If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, most of them are very helpful if you leave them a message.
I collect lamps too. Lamps, fans, clocks, vacuums, and, oddly enough- sewing machines.
But yeah, I can always find the parts I need from these places, sometimes even better than the original parts (or whatever a previous owner jerry-rigged together in 1978 😏).

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Post# 428198 , Reply# 7   7/5/2020 at 14:59 (196 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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I just got home from Lowe's and Home Depot—complete washout at both places—but I got a crazy idea on my way home. It's a classic bit of 'redneck engineering' (is that too un-PC to say these days? I can't keep up), a little crude but it should be effective. What I need to start out with is a finial with female threads, then get a bolt to fit it with threads its whole length, long enough to run between the plate and the shade, and a few nuts and washers (flat washers and lock washers). I'll then need to drill out the center hole on the plate, obliterating the existing threaded fitting, and run the bolt through the enlarged hole with the shaft facing upwards, snug it onto the plate with a nut and washers, then run another nut-and-washer set onto the bolt as a height adjuster for the shade, which may require a wide sleeve washer. Test fit the shade and adjust the height adjustment washers to hold the shade with enough of the bolt sticking through the top to attach the finial. Part of me would almost rather find another 3.5-inch top plate to butcher up so I don't have to destroy the original but other than that, it seems like a pretty do-able idea using only basic hand tools and a power drill.

Post# 428204 , Reply# 8   7/5/2020 at 21:27 (196 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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So apparently 1/4-27 is extremely odd. 28 thread pitch is common, 27 is exclusively for lamps. However, thread taps are available, and there's a link to a 1" long threaded rod. Good luck finding any nuts. I suppose 1/4-28 might be close enough to just fudge it. If you're gonna drill it out anyway, why not try to tap it?

Some of your decision making should probably be influenced by the shade you're gonna use. Some of them have bigger holes for 1/4" pipe thread, or whatever that is.

Actually, this place has 1/4-27 nuts:


Post# 428224 , Reply# 9   7/6/2020 at 17:33 (195 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Sometimes, unexpected solutions will present themselves at the oddest times. After I got out of the chiropractor's this morning, I went to walk around at a nearby thrift store that I seldom visit. There was this brass lamp with two light bulb sockets on pull chains that caught my eye and it was so cheap at $9 that I decided I could either break it down for needed parts for this vexing lamp project or just put the glass shade on it and be done. When I got it home, I discovered it was a Stiffel, which is hardly junk, and decided it was too nice to scrap for parts so I've chosen the latter option. The stud for the shade (approx 5/16") is the exact size of the hole in the top of the shade. Now, I've just got to get a finial to fit it. I've got one with a removable adapter on my eBay watch list that I think will do the job perfectly, minus the adapter. Ironically, the finial will end up costing more than I paid for the lamp.

Proportionally, the lamp and shade look nice together although polished brass finish isn't what I would have picked to go with the shade. An antique finish would have looked better but considering what the entire lamp has cost me, I really can't complain, although I may decide at some point to research methods for antiquing the brass as the finish is showing its age.

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Post# 428229 , Reply# 10   7/6/2020 at 21:13 (195 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Is what you need to put on a lamp shade.
Thrift stores here have quite a few. Ikea has a variety.
The pic you first posted a leg lamp?
Looks good.

Post# 428231 , Reply# 11   7/6/2020 at 22:20 (195 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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The shapes and proportions of the shade and the base are so right for each other, even if a polished brass base is not usually what one pairs with a leaded glass shade. It isn't that bad and the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. I looked up procedures for antiquing the brass but for something that size, it would be a majorly messy undertaking involving a whole bunch of nasty chemicals so I feel like I'm better off leaving it as it is. Just find a nice finial and call it done.

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Post# 428292 , Reply# 12   7/7/2020 at 23:37 (194 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
You have a Stiffel lamp

I have one given to me,sans the shade. I've seen one with the shade. They are quite large. The base on mine is avocado green with gold trim. It just has the inner white glass shade that directs the light upward. It stands about 3 ft. tall. What does your look like?

Post# 428293 , Reply# 13   7/8/2020 at 00:49 (194 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I have a brass stiffel lamp too

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When I had to replace the shade, I got a genuine Stiffel shade at JC POenny's

Post# 428310 , Reply# 14   7/8/2020 at 12:08 (193 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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This Stiffel lamp stands about 30 inches tall with the shade in place and it's monstrously heavy. As you can see from the photos above, it resembles an art deco interpretation of an artillery shell. I've got the perfect finial on the way with a green glass ball. Should set the whole thing off nicely. I've got to try to do some repair work on one of the light sockets. The base of it is bent and the upper portion comes loose every time I pull the chain. I'm guessing the lamp toppled over onto it and probably totaled the original shade in the process. I have no idea what that shade would have looked like, but I envision a shallow glass dome, possibly frosted or colored to hide the light sockets. Hopefully, I can just pull it back into shape. Right now, I've got the lamp sitting on my sideboard, plugged into a socket that's on a wall switch so I don't have to touch the pull chains.

The other lamp base that I considered using has this art nouveau meets neoclassical look to it and the more I looked at it and the shade, the less it spoke to me and the less apparent it became how I would even get it to work with that shade, so I was actually relieved to find the Stiffel lamp. Things are coming together much more easily with it.

Post# 428359 , Reply# 15   7/9/2020 at 13:02 (192 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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So I got out my vice grips a little while ago and was able to straighten out the bent light socket and press everything back into place and without making any unsightly scratches or gouges. I can now use the pull chain on that side with no problem, although the lamp is still plugged into the wall switch outlet. All I really need now to complete this project is the finial, which should be here as soon as Saturday.

Post# 428413 , Reply# 16   7/10/2020 at 12:26 (191 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
So I just googled Stiffel Lamps

There are a lot of lamps mostly from the 50's to present. The lady that gifted me my lamp said she had it appraised and 400.00 was the number. That was 21 years ago, so don't know if the value has gone up or down. Not selling it anyway. There are Stiffels going for 2800.00 on the sight I landed on. If you click on the 50's decade there are a lot of really nice lamp styles shown,mid century modern was coming on strong!

Post# 428480 , Reply# 17   7/11/2020 at 16:06 (190 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        
The finishing touch...

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So the finial just arrived. It required a 1/8F to 1/4-27M adapter, which makes it sit up a tad taller than I would have liked but the overall look is still pretty nice. The green marble doesn't show up well in the photos but it balances with the band of green at the bottom of the shade. Perhaps a red or amber marble would have worked better but this one works. As stylistic a mashup of prairie deco and mid-century modern, it's funky, it's unique, it's not at all what I had originally envisioned, but it's complete.

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Post# 428526 , Reply# 18   7/12/2020 at 15:09 (189 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Post# 428531 , Reply# 19   7/12/2020 at 16:57 (189 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        

Nothing succeeds like success, it looks very nice. What's next?

Post# 428534 , Reply# 20   7/12/2020 at 18:05 (189 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Not sure what's next. The next couple of weeks, I'll be hip deep in school stuff, wrapping up the summer term and getting things ready for the fall semester, which begins in a little over a month.

Post# 428551 , Reply# 21   7/13/2020 at 09:01 (188 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
It looks very nice.

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What do you teach?

Post# 428554 , Reply# 22   7/13/2020 at 11:58 (188 days old) by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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I'm an English and Humanities professor at the local community college.

Post# 428560 , Reply# 23   7/13/2020 at 14:11 (188 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Nice, I'm a 'literacy specialist"

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at one too. I currently teach English to students from 16 different countries.
I used to be on the faculty at
The Peabody Institute Music conservatory) in Baltimore. Plus, I used to be a Catholic elem school teacher.

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