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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:59 pm 
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A reader writes:

Hi Paul,

Happy New Year! Hope you are well. I snagged a great deal on ebay last
night when the rest of the world was out dancing, I guess, and got a set of
10 Lionel #58 gooseneck street lamps for $80 bucks.

I bought them "untested" and am thinking they need to be rewired and
possibly repainted. I'd like to do both myself. Do you have any
tips/articles on rewiring these lights (threading that wiring up and around
the curve seems to be the big challenge)? How about painting? They are
that nice creamy yellow beige but look kind of knicked up. Not sure if
spray enamel is the way to get that nice finish... any thoughts?

I do have a great train store (Nicholas Smith Trains) that is fairly local
so if I need parts I can go there. Thought I might see if one of the
guys there would help me with rewiring, but then thought maybe you knew of
some articles or videos on the subject.

Appreciate your thoughts.

----------Our Reply---------Please log in and add your .02, especially if you think I'm wrong about something---------


Thanks for getting in touch.

I love those lamps myself. As a user, not a collector, I wouldn't be bothered by the idea of refurbishing them.

You might be surprised about the wiring, it could still be good in most of the lights. Cleaning the sockets out with something mildly abrasive, like a toothbrush and baking power or Comet, then getting them VERY clean and dry before you put the bulbs back might help restore conductivity. If wiring needs to be re-run you might try something you can PUSH through the tube first, like a nylon fish hook leader or a good stiff fishing line, then once you got that through, attach your wire to it and pull it through. Depending on how tight things are, "attach" might not mean knotting - it might mean laying the wires alongside the last inch or so of the nylon line and taping it smoothly so it will go through the tight diameters.

THIS is how I would refinish them. I'll copy a friend who has more experience with this kind of accessory so he can have his input.

The original enamel was actually baked on, using materials that you probably would have trouble finding today. If you want to try to keep that color, try to match it with a spray can you think is close. Depending on how dexterous you are (or how much paint fumes bother you), you COULD manually prime the parts that need touch-up.

Clean the whole lamppost. Then get a can of metal primer (usually gray) and some cheapo kids craft paint brushes - the ten-for-a-dollar kind. Go someplace with EXCELLENT ventilation where a little overspray won't be a problem (I do this outside on warm sunny days, which mean I don't do it often this time of year). Shake up the primer can thoroughly, then spray some into the cap. DON'T breathe the fumes. Use the cheapo brushes to dab the primer out of the lid and onto the dings. If you have time for this step, the overall project should look a lot more even when you're done.

A day later, use masking tape to cover the socket completely.

Spray the whole thing with a cleaner that doesn't leave residue and wipe it off carefully, being careful to get every surface clean and dry and NOT to touch the surface barehanded again, after that. Once that's dried thoroughly (maybe an hour), shake your cream-colored paint can thoroughly, then go some place with good ventilation where a little overspray won't be a problem. You should be able to stand them on something in a couple rows, then work from about eight inches away, going very lightly, then after a few seconds changing the angle and going again.

You want enough coverage, eventually, to blend the dings into the rest somewhat, without building up so much that it actually changes the shape of the lamps. And that part is WAY more art than science.

I hope this make sense. Since you have ten, each stage will take you a little more time than if you just had one or two, but not THAT much longer, since it's mostly prep.

I'll also post this on my BigIndoorTrains.com forum (without your name) and see if anyone else has input. I'll send you the link when I get it up.

Best of luck - Paul


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 12:19 pm 
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One thing to watch for is chipping in the original finish. Chips in the dipped enamel paint of the originals can be tough to hide if simply repainting...the chipping tends to show through and give the new paint an irregular-surface appearance. Sometimes it's worth the effort to disassemble, strip the old paint, prime and repaint. An alternative is to use a bit of fine-grit sandpaper and try to sand the chips down so they are relatively smooth and won't show through on the new paint.

Paul II


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:15 am 
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Good tip, Paul. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 7:05 am 
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Greetings to all...

Very soon I will be starting my own restoration of four of these vintage street lamps...(I really only have room for four)...I'll be posting the topic over on one of Paul's other sites...the Cardboard Christmas Forum...and I'll post a link here...

Wish me luck...Howard...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:08 pm 
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greetings to all...

my project has started...here's a link to the topic on the Cardboard Christmas Forum...

http://www.cardboardchristmas.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1117

my very best regards...howard...


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 3:45 pm 
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greetings to all...

this has been a fun project...and i'm finished with everything except the wiring harness...(more about that later)...

just a couple of notes...before cleaning, priming and spray painting i had to do a few repairs to get them to illuminate...this involved the following...

re-soldering a loose shade and epoxy a crack where a shade meet the downturn of the bent top tube...rebuilding and rewiring one socket...replace a few of the wiring terminal nuts and bolts...re-insulate two terminals...

then checking and rechecking the connections to make sure all the lamps burned...i am looking for two vintage knurled brass nuts to replace the modern bright ones on one of the lamps...i also ordered a handful of reproduction pearl color bulbs...

the final finish was two light coats of Rust-Oleum® American Accents Semi-Gloss Hunter Green spray paint...

now it's on to another project...that's no surprise to anyone i'm sure... :shock:

my very best regards...howard...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 3:54 pm 
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Very nice Howard...they will look great on the layout/display!

Paul II


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:42 pm 
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They look fantastic, Howard!


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