More Seattle / Vancouver adventures coming up, but I thought I’d digress for a moment and share one of my other hobbies: handyman work. In this particular case, I took on a project to restore the luster on two unique, one-of-a-kind lamps. We’ve had these lamps since 1999; they were purchased at an estate auction for the whopping price of $10 each.

Alas, I don’t have a photo of the complete lamp for the “BEFORE” picture. But imagine, if you will, a battered lamp shade filled with crayon marks on it. Then, there’s the mechanism you see below. The glass housing was caked with dust and Sonia’s crayon marks. The wood platform also was replete with crayon marks. In short, the lamps were an eyesore.

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Below is a photo showing the two lamps side by side. The left image is the untouched lamp (before restoration), while the right one is newly re-stained. The stain brought the wood back to life.

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What I love the most about these lamps is that they’re fairly unique. Inside the glass are an intricate collection of gears that run the electric meter. When the lamp is plugged in, the gears spin, ever so slowly.

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Removing the glass housing was surprisingly easy. Here it is, after a thorough cleaning with vinegar, followed by soapy warm water and soap.

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Below are the newly stained lamp bases.

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And here’s a close-up photo after the housing was cleaned and reassembled.

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Finally, I added a new lampshade to complete the effect. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

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To make this restoration possible, I used medium grade sandpaper ($5), a small can of stain ($4), sponge brushes ($6 for a 6 pack), and a new lampshade ($15). Before the restoration, these lamps were on Aarti’s “toss away” list. Now, (just like me) she can’t imagine parting with them.

-Krishna