Author Topic: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses  (Read 799 times)
bank620
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Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « on: April 20, 2017, 12:33:19 PM » Author: bank620
Good afternoon!

I'm the pastor of a small church with a ton of the attached 1960s fixtures.  Regarding the fixtures themselves, all they need is a little bit of elbow grease to make them look good again.

But what do we do with the yellowed lenses/diffusers?  Are there any reasonably priced replacements out there?

Many thanks for your wisdom!

Bill Roth
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sol
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 07:11:57 PM » Author: sol
Unfortunately, replacement side panels will be hard to find. A lot of similar fixtures are now sideless because they became brittle with age and probably broke off or were removed for fear they  would fall. I don't know how handy you are, but you might have luck finding some diffuser material and cut and bend it to fit. I'm not sure how you would go about bending it, maybe some sign shop can help you with that. You might want to try bringing one piece to them to see if they can make replacements. If you go the replacement route, try to get acrylic instead of polycarbonate as the latter will yellow faster.

If you decide to "unyellow" the sides (other members with more experience will have to chime in) be careful as the plastic is probably very brittle.

One last solution : why make an (almost) antique fixture try to imitate what is new ? Maybe the best answer is to leave them as is.

What colour and phosphor of lamps do they use ? You could try upgrading the lamps, and you might get reasonable results with just that. Philips makes F40T12 cool white supreme which has excellent colour rendering properties and may rejuvenate these enough that you wouldn't need to spend a great deal of time polishing.

One last note : cleaning, sanding and repainting louvres like these takes quite a bit of time. That I have experience with.
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RyanF40T12
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 09:53:08 PM » Author: RyanF40T12
I would go ahead and replace them and donate them to someone who wants those old things.  You will not find new parts for these old 50s/60s era fixtures.  What is going to happen is these fixtures are going to break apart due to the plastic now being brittle when you go to change the tubes.  I love these fixtures very much but in consider the safety of those who are in the building.  don't need fixtures or parts raining down on them, lawsuit potential. 
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tolivac
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 11:09:45 PM » Author: tolivac
Yes,because of age--replacement time has come-and the ballasts may contain PCB caps!Sure you can find new fixtures that look like these old ones.
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 01:59:49 AM » Author: Lodge
You can get cleaner for automotive headlights that will remove most of the yellowing from the plastics, and some people have had good luck with bug spray, I just use the walsmart house brand, spray it on, rub it in, let it sit a few min and wipe it off, polish it with a cotton rag and rinse with warm water and soap, and then polish it a bit more with an old piece of denim, then spray them with a clear coat to protect them from further UV degradation, test it on a small spot before doing the entire fixture, and I'll warn you it's lots of elbow grease and some might not clean up great and some might break while your handling them.. 

So like others have said I would look at a local Re-Store and see what they have or Kijiji sometimes you can get stacks of good fixtures for a few bucks each, or even free, I've seen a grocery store do retrofits and bin hundreds of fixtures, they even put a sign out back that said Free lights and still hundreds got hauled to the landfill or scrapper like 2 or 3 20 yard bins full...
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Ash
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 02:36:03 AM » Author: Ash
Use straight and not curved parts. It won't really stand out, and would be possible to cut out of ordinary diffuse PMMA
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #6 on: May 06, 2017, 08:27:00 PM » Author: Lodge
Spray 9, in the automotive department in big box stores seems to work good at taking of years of grime without to much effort or scrubbing as well, and it leaves then smelling nice and clean...
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Lightingguy1994
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Re: Advice for Putting Life Back Into Church Fixtures/Lenses « Reply #7 on: June 12, 2017, 11:47:45 AM » Author: Lightingguy1994
You may have luck with retrobrite, which is hydrogen peroxide, you soak the plastics in it and leave it in the sun all day and the uv makes to take off the yellowing. You will need to make or find hydrogen peroxide that is more like gel so you can paint on and then wrap in plastic wrap and leave out.

Alternatively you can paint the plastics white and apply a few coats of paint and clearcoating. They wont allow light to pass through anymore but will look clean


If i had to make replacements, i would go with the 2x4 prismatic covers used in troffers, measure and cut out strips of the plastic, and use a heat gun to curve it into the same shape as the original. To diffuse it a little more, i would paint the smooth backside of the plastic in a light 'dusting ' of white paint just to diffuse it more.

I have louvers with yellow plastics also and eventually will restore em.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 11:52:46 AM by Lightingguy1994 » Logged
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