A Bit of Lantern Maintenance

Discussion in 'Gardening Other' started by Doghouse Riley, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley In Flower

    Oct 17, 2019
    Likes Received:
    South Manchester
    Still looking for things to do, I decided to give the interiors of our two Japanese lanterns a clean out and also clean the reflectors.
    Not a difficult job other than heaving the tops off. They just sit on the bodies, with their weight no chance of them getting knocked off.


    I've no idea what this weighs but I can assure you it's heavy.


    Dead bugs removed, reflector, yellow acetate filter and bulb cleaned.

    Job done.


    This one was a pain.


    The lanterns are thirty-four years old and the lamps are even older, re-cycled pool lamps. On this one the positive wire was hanging onto the bulb socket terminal by a thread and it was too tiny to crimp a new wire to it, because it was so small. So I had to make a new one by soldering a "blob" onto the end of a wire and threading it through the socket.

    Job done.
    The top of this one was even heavier than the other as it was the first one I made. It wasn't until I made the second one that I decided I'd have them light up that I made a recess in the top to allow for the lamp as the underside of the top of this one is completely flat. So I had to do a bit of "fettling" with it to make it accept a reflector and bulb.


    All that time ago we were looking for Japanese lanterns in garden centres to compliment our koi pool. But they were all expensive and naff or plastic.

    So I decided to make my own. They only cost a few pounds and only a few hours work. They are both made from fine concrete mix with a skin of dyed cement mortar to resemble sandstone.
    They are re-inforced with weldmesh. The grill on the one in the first photo is a bit of weldmesh with a concrete and mortar skin.

    They looked old from day one, just as I wanted them to..

    I dread to think what a garden centre would charge you for one like this, even if you could find one, most I've seen look "brand new."

    If anyone wants to have a go at making them, if you've ever made sandcastles for your kids, you could make one of these.

    These are the bits for the first one I made. Just scrap wood, a plastic pot and one of my wife's "lock n' lock" boxes, (don't tell her)
    I used a square of contiplas to sit the molds on to stop them sticking to anything.
    The base has a steel rod through it to anchor the top. I made it in a box, then waited until it had nearly gone off, then rounded the corners and edges with a file, that way, it didn't offer up much resistance.

    I made the pagoda at the bottom of the garden in the same way.


    Its easy to make stuff out of fine concrete mix in a mold.

    When I was building our koi pool, I made this imitation bridge to go over the filter return. It's reinforced with one of my wife's metal pan stands (but don't tell her)


    When making things like this "it's best to dip a brush in the chip pan's Crisp n' Dry and coat the surfaces of the mold with it." It stops the concrete sticking.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
    Frank, eileen and adam.ca like this.
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