Professional Secrets to Rawhide Lamp Shade Care

Professional Secrets to Rawhide Lamp Shade Care

Go To Rawhide Lamp ShadesRawhide lamp shades are works of art perfect for Cabin lighting and Lodge decor.  You don’t have to settle for paper or faux materials when genuine hand laced rawhide shades are not only beautiful and functional but affordable too. Rawhide leather Lamp shades have no equal for character and charm in rustic decor. 

Rawhide shades are hand-made by craftsman using high quality translucent rawhide. A welded frame and hand stretched and laced rawhide creates a beautiful one of a kind shade. 

The translucent character of the rawhide allows light to emanate from within to create a wonderful natural atmosphere, perfect for warm, friendly and inviting southwest, western and country decor.

Protect your investment in rawhide lampshades by understanding how rawhide shades respond to their environment and prolong their life by using the same techniques for use and care as the professionals. 

From a consumer's viewpoint, we want more light in the room so we use bulb wattage to meet our lighting needs or leave the lamp on for long periods. But the rawhide can't handle it and the way in which the shade is being used pushes the rawhide beyond its limits. It may be that rawhide is an inappropriate material choice for a certain application. Understanding that, it is also important to realize that rawhide wears out sooner or later even with the best of care. Most people who use rawhide shades do so because they like the rustic look and there is no substitute for rawhide. So, we accept the fact that replacement will be a part of ownership and enjoying rawhide.

Mission Del Rey has years of experience in producing rawhide lampshades and have identified various threats to shade life and developed techniques for care and use. When a rawhide shade splits it is obvious that there is a problem. It is rare that a shade splits for no reason. Rather than being the problem, it is best to think of splitting as the result of the problem, heat and drying. To avoid splitting, heat/dryness has to be addressed or it will continue. 

Rawhide is not tanned like leather. It is "raw hide" constantly expanding and contracting with heat and humidity. When wet or humid it loosens and when heated or dry it tightens. Heat will cause the hide to tighten until it finally tears. Usually it is a combination of things that cause splitting like too high of wattage bulb for shade size, or direct sunlight, extended use causing high heat or placement near a heat duct or not conditioning the hide or not frequently enough.

Rawhide lamp shades can easily last several years. We have also heard stories of a shade splitting in one hour with a high wattage bulb and of shades splitting prematurely when being placed near a heat vent and when placed in a window with direct sun. Smaller chandelier lamp shades are at greater risk because of the close proximity of the bulb to the shade, while lager shades last longer because the heat can more easily escape.

The best results are achieved by regularly conditioning the shades. We recommend neatsfoot oil. Weekly or monthly applications may be needed depending on the dryness of your location. Arizona and Colorado for example need more frequent conditioning. Air conditioning dries the air causing the same result as heat. 

Along with regular conditioning, using a fluorescent or LED bulb rather than a traditional incandescent bulb is the single most important tip to prolong shade life. Modern fluorescent bulbs have very nice light and produce a fraction of the heat, while saving energy too. Finally, try to use the lamp more for atmosphere rather than a main light source and avoid extended use to keep your rawhide shades looking good. We hope you enjoy the beauty of hand-crafted rawhide lamp shades for years to come. Copyright © Mission Del Rey

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Jul 22nd 2015

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