When originally manufactured, glass components were attached to the metal using Plaster-of-Paris as a bedding compound, a reversible process when soaked in water for a period of time and gently manipulated.
So, here are my tips for those of you who are afraid to make that "Great Buy" because the parts are loose:
1)After a patient soaking period, and once apart, gently remove any old plaster that's loose. If it's solid, don't scrape and cause damage. Use wooden dowels instead of scraping the metal fittings with knives or screwdrivers.
2)Once the parts are ready, be sure the bedding area and glass projections are clean and solvent-free.
3)Pre-fit the parts together in a "dry-run" ensuring that you have the necessary props in place to hold things motionless for the time it takes for the Plaster to set. If there is a particular alignment required, be sure to mark the parts appropriately.
4)Once you are ready to assemble, mix a bowl (clean-up is with water is easy) of Plaster and water** to make a soft paste.
**Often, the new plaster is visible when finished (glass-topped jewel box)...I always add black coffee as a partial substitute for my water and color to a dirty cream shade, which is what old plaster bedding compound looks like.
5)Place the Plaster paste into the receiving cavity and using your alignment mark, insert the other part in place....press firmly to ensure proper seating. Be sure the cavity is uniformly filled and smoothed. If you can wipe the excess Plaster without allowing motion between the parts, do so. Do not worry about clean-up at this point because it is easy to do later. The Plaster residue can be wiped away once the Plaster sets, which is a chemical reaction and does not take too long.
6)Once the Plaster sets-up, I generally treat the item gently for a day, and perform my final clean-up with water or glass cleaner.
FINALLY..... NEVER USE EPOXIES OR MODERN ADHESIVE COMPOUNDS AS BEDDING AGENTS....THEY ARE NOT REVERSIBLE AND WILL LOWER THE VALUE OF THE PIECE.
Marion E Frost