Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I just obtained my first Giant! Everything was meticulously packed but once I got the lamp set up and turned on I noticed a couple things about the glass on the globe. It looks like there are small cracks around the globe in a few locations, and there is strange streaking on the inside. I know Giant globes are hand-blown, but im not sure if these markings are from that process or not. Let me know what you all think!

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Nice Giant score!

The photos almost look like a mix of manufacturing defect in the glass as well as a scratch that has occurred sometime in its life. That second angle does look like a crack however, if the glass is cracked I would not run the lamp anymore as the temperature changes on the glass will cause it to spread and potentially explode under the right amount of pressure (these lamps pressurize a bit when hot and running, good ole thermodynamics!) The residue inside of the glass might just be wax abrasion that occurred in storage, maybe it was laid on its side and wax scrapped the glass. Running the lamp should hopefully melt it down and get picked up by the main wax glob again. You can aid in this removal by very carefully leaning the globe to the side when it is running, make the lamp glob the wax up towards the markings so it bumps into it and hopefully cleans it from the surface.

Again with this being a heavier Giant I would be very careful if you decide to tilt the globe while hot, that wax will go nutso if it gets jostled too hard or you accidentally tip it over while hot. May just want to go the slow route and see if the lamp slowly collects all the markings over time and runs. If you deem the glass to be cracked though you might want to stop running it now, hunt down a Giant or newer Grande globe and refill it with your Giant wax/water mixture. The fluids and wax in that globe are what you want anyways, it can be salvaged. Make sure you take the coils over to a new globe too if you do a resto-mod!

Thanks for the response! If it is a crack it isn't external- it look like its on the inside of the globe. Would that still cause structural integrity issues? All in all it would be a shame to never run it, ive been dying to see that legendary giant flow!

Sadly I would sway to not running it in its current condition. These globes are not built of glass with any kind of safety laminates or the like. The crack will slowly spread as the pressure changes as well as temperature differences over time. It may bring the damage to the point of a critical failure that could send glass shrapnel in various directions under perfect storm conditions. While they do not pressurize to the levels of a pressure cooker or air compressor, that little bit of fluctuation could get rather feisty.

I would also say do not get rid of the fluids in your Giant! You have some of Lava's best-era mixture, in my opinion. I say transplant that gold into a new vessel and get 'er going!

I have a theoretical question- aquarium caulk can be used to repair minor cracks in glass for heated aquariums that undergo similar pressure changes to lava lamps. If I patched the crack with aquarium caulk do you think id be safe to try it?

I am not familiar with that type of repair to an aquarium. Remember an aquarium is usually an 'open-air' type container meaning that it is not sealed from outside atmosphere allowing it to vent or take in different air to water ratios. A Lava lamp is a completely sealed vessel.

Weighted pressure such as the weight of water pushing against the sides of aquarium tank glass differs greatly from the pressures pushing against the glass inside a Lava vessel PLUS the atmospheric pressures created within the sealed unit. I still advise against running the lamp with repaired glass, I am willing to bet that the vessel will still fail.

Acrylic cracks can be repaired where you chemically weld the void/pieces to itself. This weld ends up becoming the strongest point on a piece of acrylic if done correctly. Glass on the other hand will not take on this behavior no matter what filler/adhesive/patch you might use, at least I have yet to see anything that would repair load bearing glass back to specification. The crack will remain the Achilles Heel of the entire structure and will fail. The only way you can soundly repair glass is by heating the material back down to molten and re-blowing the vessel, haha.

I bought the other blue/white Giant that was for sale and the glass on mine is similar to yours It is full of swirls and bubbles. This is my 4th Giant and this is the poorest glass quality I have ever seen in on of these lamps! However the flow on this blue/white is the best out of my other 3 lamps!

Hi guys,

I have a blue/white Giant with pics you can see that I posted. 

I have a swirl also, that probably is a result of defects. 

What color is your base?

I think these are early production Giants, my other Giant does not have this issue and it has a regular silver base. 

Yes I think you are right mine is dated 11-23-94 which is about when the Giants were first released.

Emil D. Nguyen said:

Hi guys,

I have a blue/white Giant with pics you can see that I posted. 

I have a swirl also, that probably is a result of defects. 

What color is your base?

I think these are early production Giants, my other Giant does not have this issue and it has a regular silver base. 

Hi Rory,
Did you get your Giant issue figured out and were you able to run the lamp at all?
Hey Tim,

Im still too afraid to run it, but the generosity of Dave. P and Chow helped me acquire a replacement globe. Until I find an additional grande globe to transfer the contents to ittl stay dark :(.

Let me know when you do change it over. I just recently drained out completely my 50th Grande with great success and would be glad to chime in. 

Just make sure that the Grande vase is SUPER clean before adding the Giant contents into it. Good luck and keep us posted!

Rory said:
Hey Tim,

Im still too afraid to run it, but the generosity of Dave. P and Chow helped me acquire a replacement globe. Until I find an additional grande globe to transfer the contents to ittl stay dark :(.

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