Saturday, February 09, 2008

Its Up! Its Good!

I got the 2 chandeliers hung in the parlors today. It is hard to believe that has been more than 4 years in the making. They will be coming back down, because the room needs a lot of work. Also, there will be plaster medallions up there someday. For now, though, I have more light, along with some pretty stylish 100+ year old chandeliers to look at.

Rewiring the second one did not go as smoothly as the first. I had one of the old wires break as I was trying to use it to pull the new wire through. I had to get the old wire back in the arm, which was not easy, and then re-solder and pull it through again.

Then, once I got it mostly assembled I realized I put the center ring that the arms attach to upside down. Not the end of the world, but a bit of a pain. The last problem is that two of the sockets – one on each chandelier – are missing the pull chains. I didn’t want to put shiny new brass chains on, because it wouldn’t look right. Instead, I tried to figure out which was the on position – not as easy as you think – and just leave the sockets turned on. The fixtures are operated by a wall switch, so its not like I’m ever going to use the pull chains anyway.

Well, I had a 50/50 shot of getting it right, and wouldn’t you know I got it wrong. Now one socket on each chandelier is in the off position and there’s no pull-chain to turn it on. Like I said, there coming down anyway, so I’ll worry about this later.




This is what I’ve been using for light for the last 5 years. You can see where the old medallion was. It was viciously ripped off the ceiling at some point. There is also a black ink line showing where the new medallion will go. I thought I was going to need to open up the ceiling to rewire, so I drew the outline of the new medallion up there in hopes that any damage I made would be covered by the medallion. As it turned out I was able to rewire from above.

The brown circles are remnants of adhesive from those asbestos laden, 12X12 ceiling tiles that were glued to the ceiling. That stuff was nasty. Most of it was stuck to wallpaper, which I later stripped off. Some of it was stuck to the plaster and I had to use a heat gun to get it off. It was the most hideously smelling stuff you can possibly imagine. It took weeks to clear the smell out of the house.



Here’s where I’m at now. This is the front parlor…



And this is the back parlor. The house is looking less and less like a feculent hell-hole all the time.



As I said, I’m missing a couple of pull chains. The one above is an original. Note the little brass acorn at the bottom. Those Victorians just thought of everything, didn’t they. You can see why I didn’t want a crappy, shiny new brass chain up there. Of course, now the hunt is on for antique chains will little brass acorns on them. I have the feeling it is going to be a long hunt.



This is the last remaining original medallion in the house. This is in the foyer.





The three above are for the parlors and dining room. They’ve been in the attic for forever and a day. They are real medallions, in that they are made of real plaster, but they are not real, in that they are reproductions. However, they are real reproductions of real plaster medallions. Two I bought from friends locally, another I bought at Ohmega Salvage, in the bay area.

Getting the fixtures up in the parlors is exciting, but the best part is, this means I'm over the lighting hump. I have now rewired and installed 11 antique light fixtures in the house. There are only 9 more to go, which means I'm more than half way finished. Woo! Hoo!

16 comments:

Rose said...

For what it's worth - in the interim, while you look for the real deal, I think you can 'age' brass by putting it in ammonia, turn it green if you want to, or just dull the finish depending on the length of time you leave it in.

Looks very cool!

Rose said...

Pull chain - with acorn - on ebay - 16 hours to go

Rose said...

Hope ya don't mind, I just emailed you the auction through ebay...

Rose said...

Not sure how long this link will be good, but there were 7 pull chain fixtures (with the acorn) in completed items, might give you an idea of what they go for and what search terms are more likely to get you what you want... you probably already know all this... anyway, very cool project.
completed item search pull chain light acorn

Greg said...

I guess it was a little naive of me, in this age of the internet and Ebay, to think that anything can be hard to find. Thanks for the links. With a quick search, I also found several places selling reproductions.

StuccoHouse said...

Wow, those lights are spectacular!! Excellent job. They will look even better with those medallions.

You have a system that works, but I once watched my uncle rewire an old light by pulling the new wire through using dental floss & a fishing lure.

Greg said...

Yep, I did it once by sucking a piece of twice through the arm and then attaching the wire to the twice. It worked, but I got a mouth full of crap when I sucked on the fixture arm like straw. If I did it again like that I would try a vacuum cleaner.

Jennifer said...

Wow! Looks great! I love the acorns... it's all in the details, isn't it!

Greg said...

"it's all in the details, isn't it"

Yep, thats what its all about.

mindy said...

Beautiful! Glad to hear you found some repro pulls b/c it looks like prices for the antique pieces are hefty.

Katherine said...

They are beautiful. You should compose a song about how pretty they are.

But you still have plenty of feculent hell-hole left to comfort those of us who also live in a feculent hell-hole that we are not alone.

Greg said...

:-)

Ron said...

Do you have glass for these yet? Finding antique glass can make a big difference in how good these look. But I like what I see so far. They are going to look stupendous.

Greg said...

I think I've used up all of my full sets, so I will be trawling Ebay eventually. I doubt I will get glass on these for a while, though. The fantasy, dream-parlor make-over is nothing more than a gleam in my eye at this point.

Larry said...

Looking good!

Brian said...

Great job on the rewiring!

What kind of wire did you use to rewire those chandeliers? (And where did you get it)? I've got 2 5-arm chandeliers to rewire of my own. Sounds like fun.

Thanks!