Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print
awm03

Advice on fixing a broken chandelier arm?

9 years ago

I'm so upset -- I broke my DIL's chandelier today. The arm snapped right where the red arrow is in the picture. It's a wired arm, maybe brass, maybe pot metal. Can this be soldered? Should I bother trying a super glue or JB Weld? As you can see, the arm supported a light and several crystal pieces, so it needs to be a strong repair.

Comments (27)

  • 9 years ago

    I'd probably use an epoxy.

  • 9 years ago

    Identification of the material is crucial in deciding on the best repair technique. How old is that fixture? Any chance of identifying the manufacturer and buying a replacement arm?.
    Is it possible to see the top surface of the arm while standing on the floor? If not, extra material could be added there in the repair process as that is the area of greatest stress.
    Often community colleges have welding programs and welcome challenges as teaching opportunities. Some of the instructors are quite competent.

  • 9 years ago

    Some expert at silver soldering would be the one to call. I know a guy who is a stone and metalwork conservator.
    Casey

  • 9 years ago

    bus_driver, we're clueless about the chandelier's manufacturer or age. It came with the house my son just bought, so I think it could be from 60s or 70s, but no guarantee. I'd covered it with a plastic garbage bag because we were painting the ceiling, and when I removed the bag, the arm snapped.

    I'll try searching the internet. Maybe it's a stock chandelier part that can be replaced. Keeping my fingers crossed...

  • 9 years ago

    Ours is very similar to this one. Check to see if the arms screw into the base. I think they should. In that case you can probably find a replacement part on eBay.

  • 9 years ago

    FWIW, most of those chandeliers like that from that period were solid brass, usually made in Spain. A lot of them have a brass tag somewhere to that effect. I agree, try ebay, or if you're in an area where there was a lot of condo building back then, check local thrifts, since a lot of them wind up there when folks redecorate, and you might get the whole thing for less than the cost of an arm.

  • 9 years ago

    Thanks everybody. Your responses have sparked some ideas, which I really appreciate. There is a lamp repair place near by that I can send a picture to; they can advise about the repair. But perhaps the better approach is, I belong to a large arts guild that has both jewelry making and metal sculpture departments. An instructor there probably could do the repair and do it well (silver soldering, as Casey suggested) for a fee.

    Maybe an electrician can unwire the arm for removal. We have to get an electrician out to the house anyway.

    I spent last night searching all over the net/ebay/etsy for a replacement arm. Found similar, but not the exact same. The chandelier is most likely from Spain, which made a lot of ornate cast brass chandeliers for export with similar castings, flourishes and lots of tear drop crystals. They must have been the decorating trend back in the day. My DIL was so thrilled that the chandelier came with the house -- I feel awful for breaking it. At least you GW'ers have given me some hope!

    ETA: writersblock, our posts crossed. Good to know you think the chandy's brass & Spanish too.

    This post was edited by awm03 on Mon, Dec 29, 14 at 9:18

  • 9 years ago

    Release the guilt. Accidents do happen and you were helping them to paint.

  • 9 years ago

    Well, it can also be an opportunity to get something new, if the dil isn't in love with it, as it did come with the house. Is that the style she really wants?
    Nothing wrong with it, just asking. I look at broken things, at least the things I don't love, as new adventures.

    I certainly wouldn't spend much fixing it, beyond a bottle of glue, unless I loved it.

  • 9 years ago

    Just spoke with DIL. How's this for good fortune: her friend who was planning to visit this week to help out is a jewelry maker with welding experience. She will bring her jewelry welding equipment to see if she can fix the arm.

    And if that doesn't work, Trebuchet, will try your suggestion. Thanks.

    This post was edited by awm03 on Mon, Dec 29, 14 at 10:43

  • 9 years ago

    If the arm snapped that easily, I have a feeling that the arm had been previously broken and "fixed."

  • 9 years ago

    I had the same thought as newhomebuilder - the piece may have been broken previously. Metal parts shouldn't break that easily.

    Instead of actually welding it or using a general-purpose epoxy, you might be able to use a metal re-enforced epoxy. JB Weld has a line of epoxies for various materials that might work. I haven't tried any of them, but they're worth looking into.

    If you don't succeed in repairing it, another (but pricier) option would be to have it fabricated by a foundry. I bought an old made-in-Spain brass chandelier that was missing an arm, and was able to have the arm made locally. My chandelier arm wasn't wired, and I was able to give them another arm to create a mold, so it was a fairly simple project. Just be sure to ask them to try to match the color of the original metal as closely as possible. Mine is just slightly off, but still pretty close. I'm sure that I wouldn't notice the difference if I didn't know that it was a replacement.

    There are also companies on the internet that replicate missing hardware, but I found that they would have been more expensive that getting it done through a local foundry. However, most foundries probably wouldn't want to do such a small job.

  • 9 years ago

    dilettante, will keep your foundry idea in our bag of repair tricks. Maybe somebody at my arts guild could do this -- or make a facsimile out of resin or some other material.

  • 9 years ago

    We have almost the same light in our dining room and our house was built in the late 50's early 60's. Ours has a curl that goes up instead of down on each arm. I have never liked ours....It is such a dust catcher and a pain to dust. Can't convince the man of the family that we need a new fixture. Good luck with your repair.

  • 9 years ago

    It's commonplace for hollow castings to have thin spots, and QC departments couldn't catch them all. They are fine until overstressed. Also could have had a hairline stress/cooling crack from day one which only now got exacerbated. It's not like forged jet engine parts that get x-rayed 8 ways til Sunday to pick up defects that could result in loss of life.
    Casey

  • 9 years ago

    I like it!

    Wouldn't want to clean it...hope it fixes up nicely!

  • 9 years ago

    If the arm is hollow you could put a peg inside the hollow part so it holds both pieces together and then try to weld it or glue it. The peg will help hold it in place.

  • 9 years ago

    insteng -- brilliant! I was stumped about how to hold the arm into position for either gluing or soldering. I have a box of wooden toothpicks -- those might work.

    fori, thanks! We like the old thing too, even though DIL & I don't have fussy tastes normally. The scale is good, the smokey crystals will be pretty with her fashionable gray colors, and the brass is muted (underneath the dust). Here it is without the former owner's xmas doodad hanging beneath it & before the accident; it ought to look nice with some shade of her color samples (these three weren't quite right).

  • PRO
    9 years ago

    "She will bring her jewelry welding equipment to see if she can fix the arm."

    awm03:

    Sorry, but I don't like this idea at all. You've got some wire inside that arm wrapped in 50-year-old insulation, probably dry cloth type. Guess what's going to happen when that gets enough heat to weld?

    Get the Rapid Fix. You'll be done in 10 minutes without even taking the fixture down, and the wire insulation will remain safe.

  • 9 years ago

    "If the arm is hollow you could put a peg inside the hollow part so it holds both pieces together and then try to weld it or glue it. The peg will help hold it in place"

    It HAS to be hollow, doesn't it? That's where the wire goes, and it would weigh two tons and a half if it was cast solid. Change that "peg" to "tube", perhaps rolled from a piece of soup can metal. One seriously reliable rule of thumb is: J B Weld is our friend!

    "Can't convince the man of the family that we need a new fixture."

    What if one of the arms were to, unfortunately and inexplicably, snap?

  • 9 years ago

    They are plastic covered wires. We will have to dismantle the arm from the chandy to work on it as there is no way to hold the two pieces in position while the chandy is hanging. That means we'll have to remove the wiring first.

    re soup can metal: how would you get it out after the repair? I wouldn't want stray metal inside an electrical apparatus. Would rather take chances with tooth picks.

  • 8 years ago

    Okay, I realize this post is months old, but, I have a similar problem! I have a brass chandy- thinking from Spain as well- heavy on the crystals, etc... Pretty much like the original poster's. I have a similar issue as well- except I bought mine for 5 bucks at an estate sale and it's been in storage for 2 years. Well, I'm not sure if it was broken in my storage or already broken when I bought it (doesn't matter) but one of the arms that holds crystals is broken. It is solid- doesn't have any electrical running through it... Just need to put it back together so I can reattach it and hang the crystals. How did it get fixed? I've looked on eBay for 3 weeks with no luck. I'm going to start hitting up Goodwill around here to see if they have a chandy that I can buy just for parts- I'm to the point if I can't repair the arm itself. Any help would be appreciated!

  • 8 years ago

    Hi Miranda. Must have been a fashion in the late 60s to have these Spanish import chandies.

    After our failed amateur attempts to fix it, we found a mobile lamp repair person who was able to remove the arm, take it to her shop to weld it, then come back to reinstall the arm. $150.

  • 8 years ago

    Wow!! Well, we do have a lamp repair place in town, which will probably be my best bet to buy the wiring I need to rewire a smaller chandy. I will have to drop by there Monday. Thanks so much- my husband has soldered stuff together here around the house but we weren't sure with this. I didn't want to get into it and it be a failure! Thank you for saving us from frustration!!!

  • 8 years ago

    They're a dime a dozen at most antique stores, ranging from $100 and up in most cases. You might save yourself the aggravation of trying to fix for a small price.

    I used to see them in thrift stores, but it's been at quite awhile since i've seen any. Furniture consignment stores might also be a worth a try.

  • 8 years ago

    Keep in mind that we are in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where nothing is cheap. So it may be less expensive to repair where you live.