Friday, June 14, 2013

Making Cloth Cord C-6 light string safe to use again.

How to repair your old series wired C-6 lighting strings.

Hello all.

Many of the die hard Vintage Christmas collectors still use the older  C-6 light strings on their trees.  Lets face it, the colors on those old bulbs are unmatchable.   Not to mention the wonderful “hunting” for the burned out light. And, the even the smell the older paint gives off as it warms up.  As many of you remember, and for those interested without previous experience, all the C-6 light strings were wired in a series  configuration.

This simply means that all the lights need to be working in order for the light string to light.  Also, they need to be snug, but not over tight in their sockets.  Should a bulb happen to be burned out, or loose and not making contact, the set will not light.  C-6 light bulbs can be easily tested by using a square 9 volt battery.  See more info on this on my website.

All of the earlier sets, used cloth wiring.  It is VERY common for the cloth cords to fray at the base of the sockets.  This can be easily repaired. 

The brass sockets are simply pressed into the Bakelite or plastic socket jackets.   They can be easily removed by pushing them out from the bottom.  PLEASE NOTE  … not press straight in from the bottom, or you will push out the socket bottom, and not the brass screw in threaded socket.  Push in with a small nail punch or an equivalent tool on the base edges of the brass.  Push gently.  Work your nail punch all around the edges evenly until you have gone completely around.  It may take some time to gently work the brass threaded socket out of the Bakelite jacket.  BE PATIENT.  If you try to pry it out from the top, you risk the chance of breaking the top edges of the Bakelite jacket.

Once you have the socket pushed out from the jacket, you will be able to see the solder connections.  Simply unsolder one wire at a time. 

Now use some clear nail polish on the cloth cording below the frayed area.  Let it dry thoroughly.

Once the nail polish has dried, simply trim the wire back with some wire clippers.  Use a sharp razor to trim off the frayed cloth, and re-solder the wire back in place.  Repeat the same process for the second wire.  Now gently press the brass threaded socket back into the Bakelite casing, just until snug.

Once you have removed all the fraying, and the exposed bare wiring, you can now safely use the light set once again.

It is also common to see fraying around the plug where the wires enter the plug.   Use the same process as above to repair the fraying damage.

This can save those priceless light strings your parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents used on their trees.

Always remember, if you are unsure on tackling a project like this, make sure you have a qualified person perform this work for you.  It is never worth a short circuit, or fire because of frayed or bare wired touching.  Always be safe.  Remember, even a damaged set of C-6 lights  are still  good sale-able items on eBay.  Collectors seek all styles, manufacturers, and conditions of these sets.  Decorate safely and have fun!

Should any of your brass threaded sockets need replacing, I can supply them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Rewiring your Favorite Electrical Christmas Decoration

Hello all, Using our favorite electrical decorations, is only a part of making the holiday memorable. Often times older items such as light sets, window candles, or mantle/table decorations are in need of rewiring. The older cloth covered electrical cords become frayed with age, and the rubber coating used underneath has become brittle, cracked, and disintegrates easily. This makes your decoration a saftely risk to use. I have been lucky enough to find a supplier of New cloth covered cord......a perfect match for keeping that vintage look to your decoration, without the risk of an electrical shock or fire. This wiring is covered with the gold silk wrapping, and it protected with the wires being coated with rubber inside. The wiring is soft and flexible, allowing safe use of your decorations again. It is only available on 100 ft rolls, and I would be happy to provide you with the lengths you need to repair the piece yourself, or if you'd like, I can rewire for you. I have been rewiring vintage holiday items for over 20 years now. So go ahead an pull out your grandmother's favorite bubble light tree, or candolier this year........ We can make it work again. Remember to always check your wiring for signs of age, cracking, fraying, or any deterioration. If you have any questions about it's saftey, have it inspected by a professional. It's not worth the risk of a fire.
Hope the summer is treating everyone well, all the best, Paul & Brian

Friday, June 22, 2007

Repairing Cellophane Windows in Cardboard Houses

Hi All Do you have some favorite Cardboard Village Houses that are in need of window repair? It is very typical for the red cellophane windows to become loose from age and use. The cardboard has become dry with age, and the older glue used seems to let go quite easily. Also they seemed to get damaged from handling, fingers, and other decorations that poked through the cellophane easily. When you are ready to repair them here are some tips to help you out.
Sometimes the easiest thing to do, is try to use a pair of tweezers. Have the new red cello windows cut and ready to go, a couple drops of clear duco cement...seems to work very well. It is in a green tube, available at wal-mart. If the light opening in the back is too small to work with, you can try to separate the base from the house itself....use an exacto knife, and very carefully score around the base of the house. Once separated, it is much easier to repair the windows.
If using the tweezers, overcut the cellophane bigger than the window opening, and put a drop of the duco cement on all for corners of the new cello window. Pick it up with the tweezers, and gently place it through the small opening in the back, and set it into place. Use a small pencil with an eraser to help press the cello firmly against the cardboard. Allow to dry overnight, and enjoy!
To reglue the house to it's base, I like to use elmer's glue....line up the house to the score markings, and use a small amount of glue to resecure it. If you happen to have a box of mica snow, you can always sprinkle the snow around the base to cover any excess glue that may leak will now blend in much better. Please understand that in repairing these houses, the dollar value of the house may diminish, however, the value itself will be much less if the windows are damaged and need replacing. Take your time, and your end results will be well worth it. Paul

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

1955 General Products 8" Illuminated Santa

Hello all, I was quite lucky this weekend during my regular yardsaling. I happened across a nice 1955 General Products Illuminated Santa, in quite nice shape. There are a few of the typical cord marks around the boot area, but very minor. He was clean, wiring in great shape, and went right into our collection. New England is a wonderful place to find all the older christmas goodies.....
According to the Electric Christmas Lighting Enclopedia, the value is near $60 A very nice addition to our collection. The book I have mentioned, is a wonderful reference book for those who want to know more about their electrical collection. They are available on ebay quite regularly on ebay for around $15, written by Greg Olson, and Cindy Chips. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Olson in person, and I can attest to his profound knowledge on the subject of vintage christmas electrical decorations.
All the best, Paul & Brian

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How to Care for and Clean Christmas Window candles

Hello, how often have you taken you vintage window candles out year after year, and noticed how dingy they have become. Quite often, typical practice was to tape the window candle to the wooden sill, which often left marks behind on your candle bases. The materials used to make the candles varied over the years, and the tape did as well. Wooden based candles and candoliers, often were painted an off-white color, in many cases gradiant coloration was used. Cardboard tubes stood as sentinels in your windows. They collected dust and dirt over years, but fear not - they can be cleaned easily, often restoring much of the luster they once had. This same process can be used for the more current plastic varieties as well. Often with these, we wrapped the electric cords around the bases of the tubes. Little did we know the rubber, and vinyl material used would react with the plastic often "melting" cords marks into the plastic of the candles. In some cases the melting effects are severe, and can not be cleaned effectively enough for a nice display piece.
First, get a small bottle of common household ammonia, along with a clean soft cotton rag. I prefer lemon scented sudsy ammonia., over the clear type, as I have found it works better. Wear a pair of rubber cleaning gloves, so you don't risk exposure to the cleaning agent. Eye protection is also recommended to avoid irration from the ammonia fumes. Wet a small area of the rag with the ammonia, and gently start wiping the candle. For your wooden based candles, check to make sure you are not going to strip the paint by the use of ammonia......test a small area.....I have rarely ever had this happen. Proceed cleaning the base, and ever so gently wipe the cardboard do not want to soak the piece, just wipe it with the damp cloth. You will see the results on the rag. Repeat the process with a lightly dampen rag with water, and let it dry. Now you are free to use your best furniture wax to bring the luster back to the piece, for either cardboard or plastic tubes. For the plastic variety, use the same process, however if the melting cord marks are significant, you might want to consider discarding that particular candle, and looking for a replacement. Almost all the vintage styles are available on ebay....keep watching, and find a quality can still find them at very reasonable prices.
As with any vintage electrical piece, always check to make sure the wiring is good condition. Vinyl cords can be cleaned with the ammonia as well, which makes a great time to check for any cracking of the vinyl.....or any worn bare spots. If you find any, it's always safer to replace the candle or have it rewired. Make sure the candle is unplugged before cleaning.
Feel free to ask a question - I'll be glad to answer it and share information in a future blog posting.
All the best. Paul & Brian

First Blog Post

Welcome to my new blog! I sell vintage christmas items on ebay and also belong to the Golden Glow of Christmas Past, a vintage christmas collectors club. Old christmas decorations, especially lighting, are my passion. I hope to share some tips and information on the topic and offer other collectors a chance to add to their collection (or mine!). Thanks, Paul