ORCA Lampshades: Production, 1

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updating our site!

We are going to skip the testing documentation on this site, and go straight to the production.

We had the historic lampshades, our prototypes, and the disassembled shade on table to the side for comparison during the production.

The pattern was drawn lightly on the Kochi Mashi with about 2 inches extra all around to allow us slop in our final cuts, and shellac was applied outside the pattern.

In between coats each was allowed to thoroughly dry; as the coats built the drying time increased, as is typical for shellac.

A first application of 1-lb coat of superblonde shellac (isopropyl alcohol with lac) with 1-4 drops of #6004 Transtint “Medium Brown” was applied to the Kochi Mashi.

Once started Kate moved through in an even fashion without stopping or it will leave an unsightly line; moving quickly with just the right amount of shellac on a 1 1/2-inch wide flat imitation sable brush.  (Note: applying exact amounts (not to much and not little shellac) lest clabbering and drag occurs.)

First coat, center left; second coat, the sheen begins to build, center right.


A second application of 1-lb coat of superblonde shellac with 2-4 drops of #6004 Transtint “Medium Brown” was applied.  We found this evened out any anomalies in the first coat and provided strength.

Note: We moved through the shellac container quickly as a good deal of shellac is used.
We recommend using a half cup canning jar, or approximately 100 ml glass jar, due to exposure time.

The Kochi Mashi was turned over and a third application of 1-lb coat of superblonde with Transtint was applied to the backside, providing a translucent quality to the shade.

The underside may appear mottled when wet, but should dry relatively clear.


Faber Castell pastels (#87 and #76) were mixed directly on the sandpaper, and none-to-well, so the colors would vary on the paper; these were used to “distress” and age the finish on the Kochi Mashi in order to match original lamps as they are today — that is, the dirt, smoke and grease buildup.

Eventually we came to realize this must be done prior the shellac being completely cured, but not so as to be tacky, for the best results.  The pigments were powdered on sandpaper, then loaded on the brush in very small amounts.

The pigments were dropped in a pattern.  We used a brush to dab the pigments, and used both brush and our hands to rub color.

When the level of aging (and we checked between our “dirt art” and the historic patterning) was completed, we used Absorbeen to selectively and gently remove areas of bold pigment.

The nearly completed lampshades were sprayed with four light coats of atomized shellac then allowed to thoroughly cure for two weeks.

Above, the shades curing.  Note the variation with the same artist (Kate) from one to the other.  Random patterns are the most difficult to reproduce.

After curing, the shades were quite shiny.

Kate used Gamblin’s Cold Wax Medium to reduce the sheen.  (Ignore the dark color of the shade — it is a trick of the camera not the actual color!)  Small quantities of wax were rubbed with a flat hand in a circular motion.

After curing the sheen appeared flat or dull, which assisted in making the shade look old and dirty or distressed.


The brads used were 1-inch brass-plated fasteners from Officemate.

These brads were not quite accurate; however, we tried all the sizes we could find and the original size was in between.  The originals had rounder caps, though the size was close.

The tops were scratched on sandpaper to remove brass and give a surface to paint.  Brads were painted with Gamblin’s Asphaltum Oil Paint to mimic the original fasteners.


The leather lacing we used to replace the original matched both in shape (square) and color, though the original lacing had years of grime embedded into the lacing.  It was dark brown 1/8-inch latigo lace; put-up 25 yards.  The lace was precut into the length needed based on the excavated original lacing.

Next page, ASSEMBLY.

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