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Rescue Lamp: A Story of the Transformative Power of Love

It was a sunny Saturday when it came into our lives: our Rescue Lamp. We didn’t set out that morning to adopt a stray, beaten-down lamp, but when we saw it there, lonely, forgotten, abused, marked down to $1 at a yard sale…
Shiny brass desk/task lamp before
We knew we had to rescue it and give it a good home.

It appeared Lamp had been abandoned to fend for itself, and there was evidence it had been abused, such as its broken leg:
Shiny brass task lamp with broken leg
(It couldn’t even stand up straight.)
Bent lamp base
Plus a few wayward bruises…
Bent lamp base on brass task lamp
…its skinny appearance and, most of all, its skittish, shamed demeanor:
Skittish, undernourished brass task lamp
The first step to Lamp’s rehabilitation was to mend its broken bones and heal its bruises. Andy took on the role of physical therapist, and had it mended and straight in no time, with the use of needlenose pliers and sheer, manly, brute strength.
Straight brass task lamp
We were relieved to see Lamp’s bones heal, and see it begin to stand up a little straighter, but we knew there was more to be done to make it beautiful. Enter Rub-n-buff, Antique Gold, which I picked up here.
Rub-n-buff antique gold


(Remember in the last post when we talked about the brass/bronze decor trend? It was all a ploy by me to make you think I’m not crazy for trying to make this shiny brass lamp look like antique bronze with a natural patina.)

I squeezed some Rub-n-Buff onto a sock and began massaging Lamp.
How to use rub-n-buff

I think cheesecloth is recommended for this, but sometimes when you don’t have cheesecloth… you end up with golden socks.

Here you can see Lamp’s base, where I had used the Rub-n-buff to take out some of that offensive brass shininess.
Rub-n-buff antique gold lamp base
And here you can see on the left, a before, and on the right, the after. Lamp was really starting to look like someone cared…
Before and after antique gold rub-n-buff on a brass lamp
…like someone was willing to get their hands dirty in its defense.
Gold fingers
Now I’m happy to show you that Lamp stands taller, straighter, prouder…
Antique Bronze Desk/Task Lamp
…and you can see its beautiful rub-n-buff patina, how it looks a little more like real, well-loved expensive bronze.

Sometimes I catch Lamp alone at night, remembering its past life on the streets. Thankful to have found a place where it belongs, a purpose.
Bronze task lamp lit at night

Lamp, deep in thought.

Lamp has found home with us here. It lives in the office, giving off beautiful task lighting upon our new desk, which I’ll be showing you soon.

Here again is Lamp’s before and after:
Make an ugly, shiny brass lamp look like antiqued bronze with rub-n-buff


Truly a story of how love can transform even the most battered, broken down mutts and make them shine. Have your lamps spayed or neutered.

P.S.: Lamp got spiffed up even more. We hacked it so it runs on batteries! See how you can make any lamp cordless here.

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Comments

  1. Erin @ His & Hers says:

    I will always gets my lamps spayed in the future. You are such a responsible lamp owner.

    Lamp looks lovely! I’ve never used rub-n-buff though I have thought about it many times. Someday.

  2. cassie says:

    i think that lamp was probably sitting in a window singing the song “maybe” from annie, and then you came along like daddy warbucks and saved it and it is going to live a long and happy life full of songs and dances.

  3. I’ve never even HEARD of rub-n-buff….that lamp looks awesome. Good work, Kelly and Andy!

  4. You are the Bob Barker of stray lamps everywhere! It’s gorgeous – you really did that sad, malnourished little guy justice!
    Kelly

  5. Aw, this made me a little bit sad! But yay for happy endings!! I’ve never heard of rub-n-buff. Must lock that one away for the future!

  6. Awesome! I love the look of it now and such a great deal!

  7. It looks great! I have a sad lamp that needs some love!!

  8. Ohhh I NEED to try some rub-n-buff I swear I have thought about buying it about a million times! That stuff is magic I swear! Thank you for the inspiration and what a perfect lamp!
    Jaime

  9. So good of you to take lamp gently under your sock and buff him back to health.

    In the words of my good friend Brick – “I love lamp”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gId6nrMDmUU

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! Any friend of Brick is a friend of mine! (PS: I think they’re coming out with a sequel?! CAN NOT WAIT.)

  10. Love that new (old) patina! That brushed finish is beautiful and makes all the difference!

  11. Oh if only my next door neighbor had your compassion and rescued sad little broken and brassy lamps … instead of feral cats, squirrels, and pigeons …

    I don’t think any amount of rub and buff could improve the pigeons who now roost on my roof … and poop on my freshly painted porch rug!

    Love this post! One of my faves …

    :)

    Linda

    • Kelly says:

      Seriously?! And I bet there’s no line in the homeowner’s association agreement about collecting live pigeons either, is there? (How dare they poop on that famous porch rug!)

  12. I ADORE rub n buff — just bought some in silver to try a mixed metallic finish on a project. So happy for lamp… :-D. Your good deed for the day!
    xo heidi

  13. Looking good lamp! I need to look into this rub n buff stuff!

  14. Now he’s like the belle of the ball … or whatever that saying is. :)

  15. i have never even heard of this rub and buff stuff! it’s so cool! and i love the use of the sock for an application…gotta work with what you have!

  16. I never would have thought to do this. It is such a subtle change but makes a huge difference. LOVE IT.

  17. It looks awesome {and I love the commentary, ha!!!} I’ve been looking for a reason to try Rub-n-Buff…

  18. Rub-n-Buff. I’ve never heard of this magical stuff before. Must try.
    (Will you still be my friend if I admit to liking the before too. :))

  19. Kristy Swain says:

    You are too funny. Love Rub n Buff and love that lamp.

  20. Denise says:

    I love the way that you write…. I was truly feeling desperation for this lamp! Love the post and the final product amazing!

  21. Erin says:

    “Refuses to look us in the eye” Hahahaha…Kills me! And I can’t believe you found that lamp for ONE little dollar. It looks all classy and expensive thanks to your compassionate care. I tried rub-n-buff for the first time recently and had to talk myself out of turning around from my finished project and just starting on the walls. That stuff is amazing! (Definitely keeping it on hand for when the weather makes spray painting a no go.)

  22. Absouletly love it! I am a HUGE fan of brass :)

  23. jenn says:

    Wow, this light is amazing! Even all beat up and bruised, it was beautiful — good find. And, I’ve never even heard of rub and buff, but I’m totally going to try it — the finish is great!

  24. I’m glad the lamp found a forever home :) It looks amazing!

  25. Bless your hearts for taking in such a dilapidated lamp and nursing it back to health. My question is, who rescued who?

  26. $1????? It’s so very beautiful! I can’t believe someone had the gall to abuse something with such lovely bones! I am so pleased it got such a fancy-pants makeover and now has a nice home!

  27. Hello! I love it! It looks so high end now. I neeeeeed one for myself!

  28. may says:

    I love this!

  29. Hahaha I love your description of the Rescue Lamp! I’ve never used Rub and Buff before but I do have some brass pieces that are a little too shiny for my taste so I’ll be sure to put your tutorial to good use :)

  30. It looks great now! I recently rescued a similar lamp, and I think it’s so much happier now with us :) Thanks for posting!

  31. hahahahahaha! Great post, and great makeover :)

  32. Barbara says:

    Really great makeover! It looks brand new now, awesome job!

    Thanks for joining the Keep Calm and Link Up party!
    Barbara @ Chase the Star

  33. What a great transformation. So glad he is all better and shining a light in the dark. :-) I would love it if you would share this on Tout It Tuesday. http://www.claimingourspace.com/2012/08/tout-it-tuesday-19.html

  34. Awesome transformation! And that Price! Wow. I’ve never used Rub n Buff, but I just picked up some candlesticks at Restore that could use some of it. Thx for sharing. I’d love for you to stop by and join my linky party, Twirl & Take a Bow. It’s every Tuesday. Hope you can stop by!

  35. Terry says:

    This has to rank among the best transformations ever! I love the lamp now with the subtle finish —quick question: did you remove the lacquer or just apply the miracle stuff on top of the lacquer?
    Thanks a bunch for sharing this one….

  36. katie goldsworthy says:

    That is totally awesome!!! I’ve heard of Rub and Buff, but the results are even better than I thought they’d be!!!

    –Katie
    @ Creatively Living

  37. Lisa says:

    Kelly, thank you for adding this to the Rub ‘n Buff Linky Party! What a difference changing the sheen on your lamp made – it’s crazy!

  38. I am seriously so glad I found your blog. First I love how it’s written, its very fun to read. Second amazing tips!! So a couple of weeks ago I found a lamp very similar to this but its a floor lamp, you know the kind that are very much in style and cost an arm and leg :) it too was only $4 and very sad and neglected.. it has the ugly brass shade and base with the stand being wood… I had no idea this product even existed! so excited to try this out.

    Thanks so much!

    camille davis @ imperfectly imaginable

Trackbacks

  1. [...] better: at just $80, it was cheaper than building one ourselves! It’s the perfect home to the wayward rescue lamp that we made over here. And yes, I just love it. So Andy got out of building a desk this summer, which means I had to [...]

  2. [...] too… without the cord.This is how we took our sad little rescue lamp, the $1 yard sale find that we fixed up in this post: …and hacked it up to remove the cord so it can sit on the desk we have centered in the [...]

  3. [...] last week. That post has taken on a life of its own – I’m so so grateful – and my little rescue lamp is currently negotiating his own book/movie deal. His goal is *Broadway!* (He says, wiggling his [...]

  4. [...] you would never know judging by how often I do them. Laundry room reveal, coming right up! 2. Our Little Rescue Lamp. I love that point where useless silliness intersects with actual useful tips. 3. Random Acts of [...]

  5. [...] View Along the Way: Rub ‘N Buff Lamp Makeover [...]

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