Removing a lamp's collar is a common practice since old lamps sometimes have damaged collars. How easy that process is depends on how much of a "tinkerer" you are. The gauge of brass used for old collars is very thin (about like an index card) and they are normally held in place with hardened plaster of Paris. I use a strong pair of needle nose pliers. The adhesion of the plaster to the collar may be tenuous enough that one can peel away the collar like removing the lid from a sardine can. If you cannot grip the bottom edge of the collar to try this, then split the side of collar using a nippers or Dremel cutting disc.

Sometimes the collar just does not want to give and requires you chip away the old plaster bit by bit. I use an old used dental pick to do this. Many hardware stores stock them, or you can ask a local dentist if he has one that he is going to discard. In any event you must be careful not to crack the lamp's glass neck as you do this operation.

Some of my customers have told me that they have had good results using an acid solution called "Etchant Solution" sold by Radio Shack. I think it is a solution of nitric acid that is normally used to etch away the copper of printed circuit boards. They invert the lamp in a cup of the solution for about 15 minutes and the acid eats away the collar completely. Then they chip away the plaster and install a new collar, attaching it with grout, latex caulk or some similar premix that hardens as it dries or cures. A thick paste of Plaster of Paris is preferable since it is historically faithful.

If the diameter of the lamp's glass neck permits, one can replace a US made collar with a European Kosmos collar, or vice versa, although European collars are often a heavier gauge brass and more difficult to remove, and are sometimes attached with an Epoxy-like adhesive. Since Kosmos burners are more efficient and produce very bright flames it is fairly common to remove a US collar and replace it with a Kosmos collar and burner.

Bonnie from Arizona reports that she has had good luck with this method: "soaking the lamp upside down in water for several days. Then most of the time you can hand twist the collar off without damaging it."

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