Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hot Shot Mail Slots

My mailman's name is Charlie. I know this because I live in an old neighborhood where, rain or shine, Charlie still delivers the mail door-to-door, 6 days a week. While I've provided Charlie with a handsome wall-mounted mailbox to deliver my mail, many of my neighbors have mailslots. And, according to Charlie, many of those neighbors should consider replacing their worn out mailslot with a new mailslot from Shop 4 Classics.

If you live in a neighborhood where the letter carrier delivers mail to your door, you likely have a mailslot or have a neighbor with a mailslot. Mailslots are typically found in older neighborhoods where the mail carrier walks his route, delivering mail door to door. The US Post Office Department (now known as the US Postal Service) introduced free residential mail delivery in 1863. Initially, the mail carrier went home to home, knocking on doors and delivering mail to those that answered. Eventually, homeowners began installing letterboxes and mailslots so the postal carrier could leave mail when the homeowner wasn't available to answer the door.

Mail slots are usually installed horizontally in the front door. Mailslots have an exterior flap that covers the opening to provide privacy, prevent insects from passing through, and provide protection from the elements. The flap may rely on gravity to keep it closed or may be springloaded. Springloaded is usually best but a thick metal flap can be heavy enough to eliminate the need for a spring. If the mailslot is installed vertically rather than horizontally, a springloaded flap is required. Most mailslots include a plate for the interior as well. Often the interior plate also features a flap to provide additional weatherproofing and privacy.

Mailslots should be installed high enough to provide easy access to your postal worker but low enough to prevent damage to parcels inserted through it. Mailslot sleeves are available for installation between the interior and exterior plate. Sleeves are recommended for hollow core doors to prevent mail from falling into the cavity between the door panels. Although not required for a solid door, a sleeve can help mail pass through without getting snagged on a rough cut opening in a solid door.

There are two basic mailslot sizes, magazine and letter. Magazine mailslots are generally between 11" to 12" wide. Letter mailslots are normally between 7" to 8" wide. If you are replacing an existing mailslot, you may want to choose a similar sized mailslot to avoid modifying the opening in your door. Otherwise, the magazine mailslot is recommended so your mail carrier is less likely to find it necessary to bend mail or force magazine sized parcel through a letter sized opening.

Perhaps the mailslot's greatest asset is that the homeowner isn't required to step outside to retrieve mail. Capacity is another benefit. As my mailman will attest, my mailbox is occasionally overwhelmed with mail. A mailslot has no realistic limit to how much mail it can accept. On the downside, mailslots are a bit more difficult to install and, from a mail carrier's perspective, they can require a little extra effort to operate than a mailbox.

Shop 4 Classics offers a variety of mailslots in today's hottest finishes. Ranging from contemporary mailslots in satin nickel, to Arts & Crafts bronze mailslots, to gothic mailslots in vintage iron, to traditional polished brass mailslots, to hand-crafted Craftsman copper mailslots, you'll find many mailslots at Shop 4 Classics.

Charlie won't be delivering my mail on Monday. Monday is a holiday. To Charlie, Newman, Cliff Clavin, and all postal carriers as well as all Shop 4 Classics' customers, have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brass Accents Renaissance Collection is Reproduction Door Hardware Done Right

Brass Accents has earned a reputation for producing quality solid cast brass reproductions of Victorian door hardware. This year Brass Accents has greatly expanded its door hardware offering with the introduction of the Renaissance Collection. The Renaissance Collection consists of four distinctive designs taken straight from Victorian era door hardware catalogs.

The Nantucket series is a faithful reproduction of the popular Roman style Hadrian collection from Russell & Erwin Hardware, circa 1909.

The Gothic series features a German Gothic style plate that is a reproduction of the Yale & Towne Lock Company's Colburg collection of 1910.

The Apollo series is a reproduction of door plates from Russell and Erwin Bramante collection of 1899. Classically designed in the Italian Renaissance style that was popular around the turn of the last century.

The Oxford series is created in the Sargent & Company's Belfort pattern, circa 1894. The design reflects the Gothic style that was popular at the turn of the 20th century.

As with Brass Accents’ other door hardware series, each pattern is offered with a wide range handle options that include a variety of decorative solid brass knobs and levers as well as genuine crystal knobs and levers. All of Brass Accents reproduction door hardware is also offered in today’s most popular finishes including polished brass, antique brass, satin nickel and oil rubbed bronze. Further, Brass Accents stand behind their finish with a 10 year limited warranty.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Singing the Praises of the Sign of the Crab Oval Shower Enclosure

Sign of the Crab clawfoot tub shower enclosure sets have always been popular with Shop 4 Classics' customers. The most frequently requested modification to these enclosures has been to replace the rectangular shower curtain ring with an oval shower curtain ring. While most customers are happy with a rectangular shower curtain ring, others prefer an oval shower curtain ring. Unfortunately, Sign of the Crab did not offer an oval shower surround. We've helped some of our more adamant oval shower curtain ring enthusiasts assemble a Sign of the Crab shower enclosure set that replaces the rectangular shower surround with a Sunrise Specialty oval shower curtain ring but this did not come without limitations.

The first issue with the Sunrise Specialty solution is that Sign of the Crab does not offer their clawfoot tub shower enclosure kits without the shower surround. The shower surround cannot be simply deleted from the shower enclosure set as it would no longer be a set. The Sign of the Crab clawfoot tub faucet, shower riser, and showerhead can all be purchased separately to assemble a kit from parts but the shower enclosure set is not available as a kit without the shower curtain ring.

The second issue deals with support for the vertical shower riser. Sign of the Crab's rectangular shower surround includes a tee that supports the shower riser. The Sunrise Specialty oval shower ring does not have a tee and, therefore, provides no way to support the Sign of the Crab shower riser and showerhead. Support could be provided with a wall mounted shower riser holder if there were a wall at the faucet end of the clawfoot tub but if there was no wall, there was unfortunately no way to support the riser with the Sunrise Specialty oval shower ring. A resourceful customer might fabricate a piece to brace the Sign of the Crab riser to the Sunrise Specialty oval shower surround but most customers compromised their preference and accepted the rectangular shower surround.

In March, Sign of the Crab published their 2010 catalog and prayers were answered. Included in the 2010 catalog was an oval shower ring. "Hallelujah!" exclaimed the oval shower ring zealots. The Sign of the Crab oval shower surround includes a clamp to support the shower riser and although this clamp is part of the wall brace, the wall brace can be converted to a ceiling brace with an elbow (see "No Walls. No Worries. Installing a Shower Enclosure Without Wall Support"). In addition to the wall brace, the Sign of the Crab oval shower curtain ring includes two ceiling braces. The clamps for all three of the braces allow them to be placed on either end or either side of the shower surround resulting in a very versatile oval shower curtain ring.

Currently, the Sign of the Crab catalog only includes one shower enclosure set with the new oval shower surround. However, the rectangular shower surround can be deleted from any of the other Sign of the Crab shower enclosure sets and replaced with the new oval shower surround. Substituting the oval shower surround in place of a rectangular shower surround still results in a complete shower enclosure kit and does not necessitate purchasing the parts individually.

If you prefer your shower enclosure set with an oval shower curtain ring, contact Shop 4 Classics for help customizing a Sign of the Crab shower enclosure set for your clawfoot tub.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shop 4 Classics Coupon Codes For Added Savings

Shop 4 Classics has been providing top-quality, name brand plumbing and home hardware products at greatly discounted prices for almost ten years. Now, Shop 4 Classics has introduced coupon codes as a new way for its customers to save even more money. Shop 4 Classics’ currently active coupon codes allow its customers to save up to an additional 10% on qualifying purchases from a single manufacturer.

Coupon codes are simple to use. Enter the coupon code in the promotion code box in your shopping cart to apply the coupon code to your order. The discount amount will be shown in your shopping cart and deducted from the order total. All items added to your cart from the manufacturer will receive the code’s discount. For example, if you add $1,000 of Hamilton Sinkler door hardware and $100 of Hamilton Sinkler cabinet hardware, the 10% HARDWARE10 coupon will be applied to both the door and cabinet hardware for a total savings of $110.

Check out all of Shop 4 Classics’ currently active coupon codes listed on the Shop 4 Classics Coupons, Specials, and Special Offers webpage.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Vintage Kitchen Faucets: Enriching Your Kitchen

Choosing a kitchen sink faucet is an afterthought in many kitchen remodels. The selection of a kitchen faucet is often overshadowed by decisions about the sink, appliances, lighting, cabinetry, paint color, kitchen ergonomics, etc. However, the kitchen faucet is critical to a vintage kitchen remodel and should mix in to the design like the ingredients of your favorite recipe. In fact, the correct kitchen faucet for a vintage kitchen may significantly influence those other decisions. The kitchen faucet shouldn't be taken for granted and therefore it is the focus of today's post.

Early kitchen sink faucets had separate hot and cold taps but around the turn of the 20th century, kitchen faucets featured mixing valves. As opposed to separate taps, mixing valve faucets blend hot and cold water in the faucet body instead of the sink bowl. Even a perfectionist restoring an early 1900's kitchen with any functional intent is likely to compromise by choosing a kitchen faucet with a mixing valve and you should not be reluctant to do the same.

Antique mixing valve faucets usually had two handles; normally marked "hot" and "cold". The mixing valve was new technology at the time so the indicators were helpful at a time when homeowners and their guests might not yet be familiar with the handles' function. The early kitchen faucet also often incorporated a soap dish on its spout but lacked a sprayer.

For the first three decades of the 1900's, kitchen sink faucets were wall mounted. Even apron front sinks and farmhouse sinks had faucet holes through their tall integrated backsplash for the purpose of mounting a kitchen faucet. A wall mounted kitchen faucet is not only appropriate for the restoration of an early 1900's kitchen but for any spatially challenged kitchen with narrow or limited countertop space. Wall mounted kitchen faucets have become more difficult to obtain but Shop 4 Classics still offers antique reproductions from Sign of the Crab and American Standard.

The first kitchen faucets were finished in polished brass or polished nickel. Polished nickel was replaced with chrome by the mid 1930's. Polished nickel kitchen faucets were hard to find for many years but there has been a resurgence recently. Shop 4 Classics offers polished nickel antique reproduction kitchen sink faucets from Sign of the Crab.

By the 1930's, kitchen countertops and cabinetry began to get deeper providing more room for deck mounted kitchen faucets. Countertop mounted kitchen faucets remain the most popular option today. The number of options, styles, and finishes has expanded greatly for the modern kitchen but even modern kitchens can benefit from the traditional appeal of a vintage kitchen faucet. Belle Foret's kitchen faucets include the modern convenience of a sprayer and are available in popular finishes such as oil rubbed bronze and stainless steel. Belle Foret's period inspired kitchen faucets are also available at Shop 4 Classics.

Kitchen renovation projects require many decisions; of which the selection of a kitchen sink faucet should not be the least. The faucet is especially important to vintage kitchens. Whether quenching your thirst, preparing a meal, or cleaning up afterwards, the kitchen faucet is an integral part of the kitchen, traditional or otherwise.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vintage Faucet Creative Recyle Reuse

Thinking green during your remodel does not necessarily have to be limited to the selection of environmentally friendly products. Thinking green during the demolition phase of your project can result in creative reuses of products that would otherwise be discarded. Components of antique bathroom faucets and clawfoot tub showers and tub fillers, for example, can be transformed into towel hooks or simple decorative accents. Drywall screws were affixed within old faucet handles to create the “Hot” and “Cold” themed picture hanger shown at left.

If your home renovation includes a bathroom remodel, we invite you to browse Shop 4 Classics extensive collection of: antique style pedestal and console sinks, vintage bathroom sink faucets, clawfoot bathtubs, clawfoot tub faucets and showers, and antique style high tank toilets.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Stepping Out With Clawfoot Tub Feet

Rescuing an antique cast iron clawfoot tub is a noble thought; however, it does not come without challenge. Depending on the condition of the tub, refinishing a cast iron bathtub may require skill with expensive tools, experience with safety equipment, care with harsh toxic chemicals, and a great deal of patience. Fortunately, professional help is available for those of us lacking one or more of those qualities. Whether you choose to employ a professional or to venture out on your own, the greatest challenge may be one you did not anticipate; locating feet for the clawfoot tub.

Often the reason a clawfoot tub is discarded is because it is missing one or more feet. If you are fortunate enough to have all four feet, you may find that one or more of the feet will not stay on the tub. Replacing a missing or damaged foot is not as easy as picking one up at the local salvage yard. You may find it difficult to obtain a single clawfoot tub foot that matches the appearance of the other three feet but more importantly, you will likely discover that not all feet attach to the tub in the same manner.

There have been many different methods for attaching legs to a clawfoot tub. The legs may be installed via special brackets, or they may be bolted to the tub, or they might even be welded to the tub. You will find that clawfoot tub feet, and the method for attaching them, are specific to the tub. Locating a foot to complete your clawfoot tub restoration may seem like a lost cause but don’t abandon your project so hastily.

Put your best foot forward, with a visit to Shop 4 Classics. Shop 4 Classics offers clawfoot tub leg kits from Strom Plumbing that can be used with antique cast iron clawfoot tubs to return them to active duty. The leg kits include four matching feet and a set of metal straps. The feet do not attach to the tub so the method of foot installation for your antique tub is irrelevant to the installation of the leg kit. The leg kit’s metal straps bolt to the included feet to form a cradle. The steel straps can be cut onsite to fit the cradle to the tub. When properly assembled, the tub will rest in the cradle, stabilized by its own weight.

The clawfoot tub leg kits’ feet are available in today’s most popular finishes and styles. The leg kits are offered with classic ball & claw tub feet that are found on traditional clawfoot tubs or with the lion paw tub feet that are commonly found on large soaker tubs.

Today, May 1, marks the start of National Historical Preservation Month. It is a fitting time to start your clawfoot tub restoration project. A restored cast iron clawfoot tub can be a point of pride and the focal point to a classic bathroom renovation. Don’t let the dilemma of a missing tub foot sidetrack your project. Step out in style with a clawfoot tub leg kit from Shop 4 Classics.