Friday, August 21, 2015

How To Restring an Oil Rain Lamp

I am the proud new owner of a Creators Three Goddess Oil Rain Lamp! Sadly, one of the monofilament line got broken during shipping and I had the seemingly odious task of restringing the lamp foist upon me.

Searching online yielded very little information about how to take apart the lamp and what to expect upon doing so. There are two PDFs online describing the process of restringing and one describing repair of the lamp, how much mineral oil to use, but none with helpful photos.

Prior to taking apart the lamp, spread out a large trash bag  or plastic sheeting to catch any oil which might still be in the bottom of the lamp.

Disassembling the lamp is done by removing the three brass acorn nuts which hold the bottom of the lamp (the oil reservoir) to the center portion of the lamp. The lamp pump assembly is affixed to the bottom of the center portion of the lamp. Unscrew the top nut of the lamp where it joins the electrical cord/chain and slide it down the electrical cord and away from the lamp center. Working on the lamp from a position where the lamp is still suspended in mid-air is extremely helpful. Tying a knot in the electrical cord at the top of the lamp will allow you to suspend the lamp while you work on it.



The monofilament line is held taut by a series of interlocking brass couplings. The larger, outer brass couplings are the portion you can see sticking out of the top of the lamp, where the monofilament line appears to come out of the top of the lamp.



The smaller brass coupling is what holds the monofilament lines taut as the filament is threaded through the holes in the bottom of the lamp base and then back into the brass coupling in the top of the lamp. Make note of the threading pattern, you will replicate this pattern when you're replacing the monofilament line.



Using a small chisel or tool with a beveled edge, pry the smaller fitting out of the center of the larger fitting. Collect all small fittings and place them in a lidded container containing a mix of hot water and Fantastik (or some other grease cutting cleaner). Once all of the small fittings have been removed, remove the monofilament line from the lamp by unthreading it from the holes. Remove all large brass fittings and place them in a lidded container with a grease cutting mixture and let them soak. Clean the center of each small brass fitting, ensuring there are no clogs or blockages present. Set aside the small brass fittings to dry. Repeat the cleaning process with the large brass fittings. 

When all fittings have been cleaned thoroughly, restringing the lamp can begin. Work from the inside out to make the process simpler.
I tied the "starter" end of the monofilament line to a pencil to keep a good length of filament on the bottom of the lamp so I wouldn't have difficulty making a good knot in the filament when I'd finished threading it through the lamp.



I used 40 pound clear, monofilament line to restring this lamp. Monofilament line is also commonly referred to as fishing line. Do not use anything heaver than a 40 pound line, as you will have difficulty reinserting the smaller brass couplings (I'll cover this a few paragraphs later).

The inner circle rain pattern on this lamp is diagonal. The filament was threaded from the bottom of the lamp and then two holes to the right of the hole which would create a vertical rain line. The length of the inner circle rain pattern filament line was approximately 24 feet in length. This length will allow for a foot or so extra length at the bottom. This will make knotting the thread at the end easier.

The outer circle rain pattern on this lamp is vertical. The filament was threaded from the bottom of the lamp and straight up into the hole in the top to create vertical rain lines. The length of the outer circle rain pattern filament line was approximately 40 feet in length. This length will allow for a foot or so extra length at the bottom. This will make knotting the thread at the end easier.

Each run of filament is tightened by pulling on the filament enough to stretch it enough to allow you to press the small brass fitting into the larger brass fitting with the filament pinched in the center. As the filament is pulled/stretched, the diameter of the monofilament will decrease by a very small amount, allowing you to pinch the filament in place with the smaller brass fitting. Use a tiny hammer to tap the smaller brass fitting into place. It does not require much force, tap gently.

When you've successfully threaded the new monofilament line through the lamp, tie a knot in the filament underneath the center of the lamp. Tying three tight knots, one after the other will be sufficient to keep the filament in place.

The oil ran lamp uses mineral oil to give the effect of rain drops cascading down the monofilament line. Mineral oil is readily available at drug stores or grocery stores. The typical cost of a pint of mineral oil is just over $5.00. The lamp will take about 2 pints to fully submerge the intake hose of the pump in the base of the lamp (2 pints = 32 ounces). This equals ~$15 in mineral oil. People are selling 32 ounce bottles of mineral oil labeled as Rain Lamp Oil for $24.95 plus $13.00 S&H. Don't be pulled in by this tactic! Buy your oil rain lamp oil from your nearest grocery/drug store! 

If the pump is the problem with your rain lamp, replacement pumps have been seen selling on eBay for $65.00 plus S&H.






46 comments:

  1. We own 4 rain oil lamps. There is a difference in the mineral oil you purchase at the drug store and the drakeol 35 you get online. The mineral oil runs faster and produces smaller beads and tends to splash a little. The drakeol 35 is a bit thicker and runs bigger beads. In my opinion the drakeol oil is worth the extra cost because it produces a much more relaxing and even rain. Thank you for the tutorial on stringing a rain oil lamp. I LOVE mine.

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  2. I had one of thses lamps growing up (@CollabSensei)

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  3. Melissa - thanks for the tip about mineral oil. I haven't had a problem with splashing and since I'll have to drain/clean the lamp after it collects a lot of dust over time, I can't see paying the extra money for the drakeol 35. I'm glad you liked the tutorial & if it keeps rain lamps running - I'm all for it!

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  4. I ended up buying that ebay oil :( now my pump is not pumping the oil up to the top

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  5. Thanks for such detailed info! I just received one that was rescued from a scrap pile. What do you think about tying knots for each two strands? So I don't have to deal with such a long piece of fishing line.

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    1. If your lamp has both of the brass couplings intact, use a single strand of fishing line for each "circle" of rain. You'll be able to string the fishing line tighter if you can use the brass couplings rather than tying knots. I hope his helps!

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  6. Any idea where to buy replacement brass couplings?

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    1. Unfortunately I think you'd have to find and buy a non working rain lamp for its spare parts. I know people have substituted fish pond pumps for the rain oil pump when it goes out, but I've not see anyone selling replacement brass fittings/couplings.

      Even broken rain lamps can be quite expensive on ebay so your best bet is probably Craigslist or maybe getting lucky at an estate/yard/rummage sale.

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    2. Brass Couplings sold on ebay ten for 5 bucks. Overpriced yes but my old ones were impossible to get apart without crushing them so stuck if you want to do it right

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    3. Makeitrainoillamps. One word. Seller on Ebay.
      They're called 'rain lamp pins'. He's selling them in sets of 10(so 20 pieces) for $5. 3.50 s&h no matter how many sets you get.

      VERY reasonable for an item so vintage. I just checked too....he still has em.

      Hope ya'll see this in time!

      J

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    4. Those pins he's selling has to have an alternative use. These can't be just for rain oil lamps. Trying to look around for them. If anyone finds pkease let me know. I did find eyelits at Michael's that fit the hole perfectly but half as long.

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  7. Any description how to disassemble the top of the lamp?

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  8. The second picture in the post shows the way you disconnect the plastic top hood from the top of the lamp. There is a nut that screws the hook assembly onto the top plastic hood. Disassembly of the top and bottom of the lamp is quite easy.

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  9. my lamp only has the diagonal lines with one row of holes. What do I use to get the old dust contaminated oil out of the lamp/pump?

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  10. If your pump is currently operational, it will get flushed out when you empty out the old oil in the bottom reservoir and add clean mineral oil in its place. The bottom part of the lamp (typically) is where the oil is held when the lamp is not on and "raining".

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  11. Thanks. Will run to Wally after church for fresh oil!!

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  12. I know this is and older post, but I'm having a hard time finding answers elsewhere. I cleaned my rain lamps, put them back together and now the oil is leaking from the top, on both lamps. I have tried 2 different oils. Any suggestions?

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    1. When the rain oil lamp is put back together, the oil is supposed to leak from the top down the monofilament line. The oil you should use is mineral oil from the grocery store. It's the cheapest and works the best for the cost. If this doesn't make sense, let me know!

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  13. Cleaned both of my lamps, refilled and now oil is leaking from the top. Help!

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    1. I'm having the same problem. The leaking oil that is being referred to is not what runs down the filament. The leak is almost like a condensation build up, only with oil. It collects along the outside rim. Should there be some sort of gasket?

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    2. Its suppose to leak down through holes, if it is leaking elsewhere on top i would assume a crack is somewhere. If you remove top by unscrewing the chain on top you should see. Although i guess it could have to much oil maybe.

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  14. Hi I need help!!! Please! Trying to locate a "well" bottom of my large lamp that was destroyed by USPS/FEDEx. If anyone knows of one please let me know. I goes to a rare Don Juan light and it is a dark brown in color. It measures 13 inches in diameter. Please email me at gldngrl59@gmail.com. Thank you, Samdi B

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  15. The 9th picture in this post shows the top of the rain lamp disassembled (where the lighbulb is). To get to this section of the lamp, you simply unscrew the top of the lamp where it joins to the hanging loop of the lamp chain.

    To get the old/contaminated oil out of the lamp, you should drain out the bottom of the lamp and then clean the monofilament with a clean cloth. Use a toothpick to unstick any build up in the pipes/brass couplings at the top of the lamp (this is where the oil will drip from when the lamp is on).

    @simpleist - if your oil is leaking from the top (not from the brass couplings/monofilament) you may have a leaky pump hose. One of the three supports has a clear tube running up it that is connected to the pump at the bottom of the lamp. The pump in the bottom of the lamp sends the oil to the top of the lamp via this hose & then the oil is supposed to run out the top where the monofilament line passes through the brass couplings.

    Hi Sandra - if you have all the pieces you may find that you have to use a 2 part epoxy to glue the pieces back together OR you may play the waiting game and try to find a replacement bottom by searching on eBay. So sorry your lamp was so damaged in shipping!

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  16. Any idea on how to slow down the rain drops on my lamp? I just restrung w 30lb testline and cleaned my lamp and put in new mineral oil. Is it because it's mineral oil or too much oil? I have the grist mill lamp which also has a waterwheel feature. Thanks!

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  17. where do i get a replacement bulb?

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  18. beautifully explained post. i just got one yesterday from thriftstore. there was no oil, strings r intact, motor runs (spins) as i could see. i am novice in such fixing. before i start restoring i am collecting info. questions:
    a. one of the 3 supports apparently has nothing connects/runs through unlike the 1 running clear hose connecting pump. is it normal or a part is missing from the supports bottom?
    b. possible to share/post a clear picture of the full bottom showing the pump and all connections?

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  19. I just found a rain lamp at the scrap yard...it needs new line in it....is it fairly easy to replace the line. I'm scared that ill get it apart and not know how to put it back together

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  20. I just purchased a rain lamp, cleaned it, changed out the line. The pump is working and it brought up the oil one time. I can't get it to come up the thing again. I had forgotten to put that little metal piece in the top so I ran a line down but as soon as I put in that middle piece it flowed right up. After I turned it off and back on, it's not doing it again. I repeated the steps and nothing. Any suggestions? Please?

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  21. Thank my mother is running loud is this common or is there somthing wrong I replaced with new oil

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  22. Hello Jennifer, I have a goddess oil lamp that I inherited from my stepmother after she passed many years ago.
    To make a long story short, I realized it needed cleaning so I took it upon myself to do so without researching this type of lamp.
    My problem is, underneath the bottom of the goddess is suppose to be a small hole for a stud or screw shaft to hold her up.
    Her mounting hole is busted into a bigger hole which tells me she is dry rotted and brittle.
    How do I keep her standing up while I'm working on restringing the lamp?

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    1. What I did was remove the goddess while I was restringing the lamp & then stretched the strings apart just enough to squeeze her back in before I put in the oil.

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  23. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post!
    I've taken apart and cleaned a couple of rain lamps, but this was the first time I've had to restring one.
    I had no assistance, but after a few hours nd a screw up here and there, I finally got it back together!
    Mine has the 3 goddess, but their faces aren't as pretty as those on your lamp, must be a different manufacturer?
    I'm probably going to put a different figurine in mine, possibly an angel.
    Well, thanks again!

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  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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  25. my lamp doesnt have the clear tube running to the top. There is a small tube on the bottom coming out of the piump that is clamped to bottom of 1 of the 3 support bars. seems the oil just goes right up that bar and out the top

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  26. I know this is a old post. Does anyone know how to replace the power cord. Ours I think has a short because it will flicker if its on and the cord is touched

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    1. You can order a replacement power cord with an inline switch from a lot of places online. Replacing the power cord is pretty easy to do, the challenge will be weaving the power cord in and out of the chain as you're replacing the old wiring.

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  27. A very old post and don’t know if you’ll receive this, but am the new ecstatic owner of a gorgeous rain lamp, which sadly came quite dirty and with broken strings, but, thanks to you and your very detailed explanation with illustrating pictures, my amazing new rain lamp will be up and running good as new! Thank you!!!
    Cheryl

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  28. I recently restored mine and the oil seems to be leaking from a screw at the top, I thought it may have been overfilled, but, it seems Everytime I turn it on some oil spurts out on my floor. I have taken the top off several times to maybe realign it, but to no avail. I don't know what's wrong, is it a sealing issue? No other screws leak🤷 please help

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  29. I know this is an older post, but i just inherited my parents lamp we had in the 70s. She runs good and even the light still works(😳). Most of her lines are still strong, but 4 are broke. Can i just replace those lines without having to string it completely? Any reponse will help, please.

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    1. You can't replace just those four strings because the monofilament is run as one long piece (or two long pieces) zig zagging up and down the rain lamp. If you disassemble your lamp like I did, you'll see how simple it is to restring yours. Best of luck to you!

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  30. hi! mine has a crack in the bowl that is plastic.. i've been trying to find a replacement for haven't do you know of a way to seal that crack so the oil doesn't leak out?
    thanks!

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    1. You might have some luck with a two part epoxy that is formulated to work with plastics. I would rough up the inside of the bowl where the crack is with sandpaper (to give the expoxy a place to adhere) and see if you can't seal the crack from the inside.

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  31. I know this is an old post but I recently inherited a goddess oil lamp. She is in great shape just very dirty. My greenery is a goner. My husband petsmart fish tank greens but is there another place to get these to replace them

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    1. I would also recommend fish tank greenery. Any plastic fern like greenery will work. You might even find something in the artificial flower section of your local craft store.

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  32. My mother has just found my grandmothers lamp and would like to restore it, we have quite a few of the brass couplings missing,does anybody know where I can get them from??

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    1. I know of the seller on ebay but I know there's got to be another source. They're called "compression insert fittings" but I don't know what the dimensions of the two fittings are. I'd have to take my lamp apart and measure them to be sure.

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