Introduction: Vintage Torch Lamp Restoration
Hi, my name is Mark and I like to restore vintage items, equipment, toys, and other various things I find at antique markets. Once thing I see often are these old torches. I never thought of them as a useful restoration because they just seemed unsafe and inefficient as a real torch (I suppose a lot of restorations are). One day after running out of things to restore, I finally picked one up that was in decent-ish shape (depending on your definition). I was contemplating actually restoring it to make it shoot fire like it once did, but then I had another idea...a much safer idea. I could make it into a lamp! This first picture is of the torch on the day I bought it. The top piece was covered in so much soot that my hands were covered as soon as I touched it. That's how I knew this would turn into a neat project.
- Old torch (The more dirty, the better it might look in the end)
- Elbow grease
- And actual grease (more like penetrating fluid; WD40)
- E12 candelabra light socket
- Switch (I purchased a simple foot pedal switch, but any switch should do)
- Hack saw
- Screwdriver (flat head)
- Paint Stripper
- Sand paper/polish
- E12 light bulb (if you want the flame effect, buy a flickering one like I did
Step 1: Taking It Apart
This was probably the hardest step considering some pieces were pretty much welded shut from its own heat and soot. I included a diagram of what they look like on the inside for those wondering. Pretty interesting concept if you ask me.
- The handle was help together by 4 screws; 2 for the wood piece, and 2 for the metal holding it to the body. These were easy to unscrew and take out.
- The combustion chamber (top piece) could be unscrewed with the dip tube from the body with a little WD40. There are a few pieces around the combustion chamber (i.e. clean out plugs, needle valve, top hook) that could be unscrewed for easier cleaning in the next few steps. Or you could just keep them in and keep everything looking dirty because hey, it looks cool and rustic.
- Once the combustion chamber had been unscrewed, I could easily unscrew the priming cup with a flat head screw driver, and it just slide right off.
- Unscrewing the dip tube from the combustion chamber was probably the highlight of this project. It took a little heat, WD40, and brute force to unscrew it. These are two pieces that need to come apart if you want to wire the bulb.
- The pump can be unscrewed from the body. These are usually shaped so that they can be taken apart with a wrench.
- Lastly, the filler plug on the bottom can be unscrewed.
Step 2: Cleaning/finishing
This is usually the most satisfying part of restorations.
- I usually like to start off with rust remover and then paint stripper. Since this torch had minimal rust, I decided to just use paint stripper on the body. Make sure you're wearing appropriate PPE (i.e. respirator, chemical resistant gloves, goggles) when apply the paint stripper. After scrapping the paint off of the body, I was able to sand it down a bit and polish it with a polishing wheel and a little bit of car wax. I did the same to the pump as it was also painted that gold colour you see in the pictures.
- Next was the combustion chamber. This took a lot of soap, scrubbing, and polishing, but alas, the soot came off and it sparkled like it once did. I also did this to the other pieces attached to the chamber.
- Lastly, the wood handle was just sanded down, re stained, and re finished.
Step 3: Cutting/wiring
This is the part when we decide that this torch will never be used as a torch again. It's sad, but at least it will get more use as a light than a torch (for me at least).
- The only piece I had to cut was the dip tube in half. There seemed to be something stuck in mine, so cutting it to expose the hole was what needed to happen.
- From there, the E12 socket fit snug right in the chamber, and I was able to feed the wires through the chamber and down the dip tube. Once screwed into the body, there were no wires in sight. I wrapped some tape around my socket just to make it a little more snug so it doesn't wobble.
- Next I fed the wires through the body and through the hole at the bottom (where the plug used to be). From there, I just twisted and taped together the wires from the switch and then the plug so everything was together.
Step 4: Finished!
Ah yes, the finished product! Screw in a light bulb, plug it in, and turn it on! This torch has a new life, it looks awesome, and I don't have to worry about it bursting into flames anymore!
Thank you for reading this, and I hope I inspired you in some way to go out, make something, and enjoy it! Its fun to be creative and even if you don't follow someone else's steps perfectly, that's okay, this is your project!
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