It’s Jessica Burne here with an update from the home-front. I’ve been meaning to write this post now for months. As I mentioned on my blog about kitchen faucets, I’m loving all things brass. I recently discovered this lamp I had hidden away in storage. It was a hand-me-down from my grandma and I kept it because I loved the size of the shape. My plan was to remove the yellowed lacquer that screamed 1980s. The big question was if it was solid or plated brass.
The base of the lamp was actually stamped with the manufacture and the date. This seemed a promising indicator that it was solid. Another way to determine if its plated is to simply stick a magnet on the material. Solid brass is not magnetic so it should not stick. If the magnet adhered to the metal then most likely it is plated over steel or another magnetized substrate.
Lucky for me the lamp passed all my preliminary tests and I deemed it solid! Then came my ambitious plan of removing the yellowed lacquer and restore the lamp to the original softer brass patina.
My first attempt was to use acetone and a cotton ball but it was really slow to remove the finish. I switched gears to a chemical stripper and lathered the goofy stuff on the lamp. I’m a big baby when it comes to watching these chemicals work so I got impatient and tested a little too early. I panicked a little bit because the underlying brass was so much lighter without the lacquered. I held up a stainless steel knife as a comparison and was relieved to see that lamp was definitely a much warmer color.
After the chemical stripper I simply used an old toothbrush to scrub off the remaining lacquer. The last step was to wipe the lamp down with a damp towel.
The hardest and most time-consuming part of this whole project was trying to find a lampshade without spending a lot of money. I searched online, flea markets, lighting stores and then ultimately found something at Home Depot. It’s not perfect but it’s a whole lot better than the original yellowed pleated shade.
Overall the project was fun and I’m on the hunt for other castaway 80’s relics. I keep a magnet in my purse just in case I stumble on a potential find!