Restoring a desk lamp

Found a nice lamp at Emmaus in Pau which I liked the look of, it wasn't cheap at €40 but I thought it would be worth the expense when restored. It was presumably meant to be attached directly to a desk as there was no base with it.

Here's how I did it.

The fist job was to disassemble it and remove the paint, It looks like Hammerite. I was thinking of respraying it black at this point.

All the bits with paint on them go in to a caustic soda bath for a few hours.

I wanted to do something unusual for the base so instead of a chunk of oak or something which I had considered I decided to make a concrete base. I used melamine to make the mould for this as it has a very smooth surface.

Here it is screwed together.

I'm going to add this piece of ply to the mould to act as a knock out, it will leave an indentation in the finished piece, somewhere to put paper clips.

I've cut some bar to place in the concrete later to reinforce it.

Whilst I was looking for the bars I came accross some offcuts of aluminium tile edging which will look great and protect the edges from chipping. I mitred them in to place and they are wedged into the mould held in place by a piece of the bar. I've taped up the knock out to make it easier to release later.

Here I've got some small aggregates and I've stuck them into place with some spray adhesive.

The rest of the aggregates go into a bucket along with the sand and cement

I've used 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 1 part aggregates for this.![](upload://jd7ZC14XfskNocjG5ZFzoJQveFH.jpg)

When its thoroughly mixed I add a 1/3rd part black pigment and continue mixing.

I want quite a stiff mix for this but fluid enough to run into and nooks and crannies around the tile edging.

Using my hands to push it in to place and a mallet to gently tap the side of the mould, this will remove any air pockets.

Once it's full I push the rebar about a third of the way into the mould.

Using a trowel I smooth off the surface, this will actually be the underside of the base so it doesn't need to be brilliant. That's all I can do with that for the time being, we'll come back to that in 4 days time.

Meanwhile, the caustic soda has done it's job and I remove and rinse everything well!![](upload://eNpYOPEODwujIVtZadPeCISEwMO.jpg)

You can see some of the old paint has come away and I can see this is going to be quite an easy clean up.

Using a wire brush attachment I remove the rest of the paint and expose some lovely bare metal, I scrap the idea of painting it black at this point as it's made from stainless steel and aluminium and even has brass thumb screws!

All the paint is removed and everything is clean, notice the shade is made of plastic.

Very industrial looking, just how I like it!

I give the shade a spray with some granite effect paint, I decide I don;t like it and spray it dark grey instead. I think I'll redo it though as it will look good with the concrete base.

It's four days later and the mould can be removed.

I used a chisel to carefully remove the knock out without scratching the concrete.

I could have just left at this point but as I have a concrete polisher I'm going to polish it! Using 5 different grade diamond pads, it gets highly polished underwater. You need a special tool with a safety breaker to do this.

All polished up and ready for re-assembly

Drilling these holes was a little nerve racking!

Rewired and ready, that's it! What do you think?

Thank you Jo :)

Artisan, or what! beautiful............

Thank you all, too kind :)

Another masterpiece, James, well done.....

another fab project - I am still waiting for Rik to get going on the table made out of pallets - Hope you are planning to put them all into a book eventually.

I just call it polished concrete but Terrazzo is the correct term I think. It not widely used in France yet. Aggregate just means sand/stone, the ingredients for the concrete. Glad you like it :)

Fine work, James! It has a nice retro-modern look, especially with the base, which North Americans call "terrazzo". Do the British call it "aggregate"? Haven't figured out what the French call it. I'm a big fan of terrazzo, it's found in schools and office buildings up into the 1950s, and in some old apartments on the Cote d'Azur as well, but my French/Italian OH doesn't understand the term. For him, Terrazzo is a town in Italy. See:

Ours is the Sainte Catherine but there are at least 15 hotels with major clean ups going on at the moment. I'm there most afternoons from 2pm. Tell him to stop by for a coffee if he wants to :D

Just watching the footage from the US and it looks scary :(

Oh well, I suppose if it had to happen in Lourdes then it's at least not high season.

@ Alexander - oh don't encourage him. I will be presented with something that will withstand incoming mortar fire and takes 18 squaddies to move.

@ Finn - exactly!

You may see my nephew and SFN member Charlie Higginson down there, he works for a company that are cleaning up a hotel in Lourdes, don't know which one though, I'll ask him.

Good thinking Finn, thanks!

The hotel is drier than it was ;) but there are at least 4 months of work to be done. On a positive note all of the hot water and electric sections are being moved up to the first floor so that if it happens again, the damage will hopefully be minimal.

How's the hotel Damaris?

Looks lovely James - I could do with one of those for my new office!

@ Catharine - love the thought of you snorting wine over your keyboard...made I chuckle ;)

@ Alexander Keith Watson - you have just made me snort wine over my keyboard.

Excellent job James!

Well done, an inspiration for others!


Love it! MIss renovating lamps. I believe you have inspired me to get started on the stock I have outside on the verandah again :) Thanks!!

You've obviously got tooooo muuucchh time on your hands, lol you could have made "light". work of it and just give it a fresh coat of paint