Saturday, June 26, 2010

Refresh Your Cabinets with Decorative Knobs and Pulls (Part 1: Types of Cabinet Knobs and Pulls)

With the temperatures rising outside, now is a great time to turn your attention to indoor renovation projects. Replacing existing cabinet hardware with decorative knobs and pulls is a simple and economical way to refresh the look of kitchen and bath cabinets.

Cabinet Knobs

Cabinet knobs are the most basic type of cabinet hardware as they generally mount with a single screw. Therefore, replacing existing cabinet knobs with new knobs is a quick and simple renovation project. However, since cabinet knobs are offered in an endless array of sizes and shapes, selecting new knobs can become a lengthy but fun process. As discussed in future blog entries, cabinet hardware style and color should compliment the cabinets and kitchen or bath design.

Cabinet Drawer Pulls

Cabinet drawer pulls are offered in a number of different types but all pulls generally mount with two screws. Understanding the distance between existing screw holes in the cabinet drawer is the first step in selecting an appropriate replacement cabinet pull. This distance is typically measured in inches between the center of the first drill hole to the center of the second drill hole. This distance measurement is referred to as the drawer pull’s "center to center", "centers", or "boring". Keeping in mind the pull’s required centers, the next step is deciding on the basic type of pull. Drawer pulls can be classified into three basic types: cup or bin pull, bar pull, and drop pull. Cup pulls and drop pulls are normally only designed for drawers with horizontal centers but bar pulls can be used for drawers with horizontal holes or mounted vertically on a cabinet door.

Cup or bin cabinet drawer pulls are most commonly half circular or rectangular in shape. Cup pulls are typically used for small to medium sized drawers. They first gained popularity during the mid-part of the 19th Century but are increasingly popular today.

Like the cup pull, the cabinet drawer bar pull is a rigid pull. Bar pulls are available in large appliance style pulls as well as small drawer pulls. They are often offered with optional back plates, which are flat metal plates that fit in front of the bar drawer pull to provide protection for the drawer’s surface as well as make the pull more decorative.

Cabinet drawer drop pulls have handles that are not rigid but hang loosely. Drop pulls are available in three styles. The ring drawer pull is a small pull with a circular or ring handle hanging from its backplate. The pendent drawer pull is the smallest of all drop pulls and has a single pendant handle hanging from its backplate. The largest of the drop pulls are the bale drawer pulls. Bale pulls are like bar pulls except that their handles hang loosely rather than being rigid.

Check in later this week when I discuss further the styles and material options of cabinet knobs and pulls as well as discuss the types and styles of cabinet hinges.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shop 4 Classics Catalog Expansion

Recently, the expansion of college athletic conferences has been a hot topic. Shop 4 Classics has also been expanding in recent weeks; albeit a bit more subtly. We've extended our selection of antique reproduction hardware to include products from three new manufacturers. Today, we'll provide a brief introduction to these three new manufacturers.

We started our expansion by adding Artesano Iron Works. Artesano Iron Works specializes in authentic hand-forged, solid wrought iron architectural hardware such as drawer pulls, door knockers, and shutter hardware. Artesano Iron Works' unique designs are produced with centuries old blacksmithing methods that result in pieces that appear to have been custom made for your project.

We continued our expansion with the addition of Acorn Manufacturing. Like Artesano Iron Works, Acorn Manufacturing specializes in hand-forged iron hardware. Acorn Manufacturing has a broad catalog ranging from decorative to fully functioning gate and garage hardware, door and shutter hardware, cabinet hardware, and much more. In business since the 1930's, their hardware and brand clearly stands the test of time.

We then went in an opposite direction with our expansion by introducing Copper Mountain Hardware. Copper Mountain Hardware's catalog offers mostly brass hardware featuring fancy Victorian inspired designs and lustrous finishes, rather than the largely Colonial designs, matte black finish, and forged iron construction indicative of either Artesano Iron Works or Acorn Manufacturing. Copper Mountain Hardware's collection of mechanical doorbells and electric bell buttons, glass cabinet knobs and glass drawer pulls, door hinges, pushplates, and other brass door hardware is unique to say the least.

We are still adding products from Artesano Iron Works, Acorn Manufacturing, and Copper Mountain Hardware to our website but with already more than 20 different brands of antique reproduction plumbing and hardware, Shop 4 Classics' most recent expansion provides even more options to complete your project.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Politics of Thermostatic Clawfoot Tub Faucets

Once upon a time, Sign of the Crab owned the market on thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets and showers. Not a cruel dictator, Sign of the Crab's thermostatic faucets have always been reliable, high quality, and reasonably priced. Recently, however, Sunrise Specialty and Cheviot Products introduced their own series of thermostatic faucets and showers for clawfoot tubs to compete with Sign of the Crab's offering. The once monopolized market for thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets and showers is now a democracy, a thermocracy if you will, where you the people are free to choose. By goligarchy, you now have a choice.

If you aren't familiar with thermostatic faucets, don't feel like you live in a moronarchy. Thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets rely on sophisticated advanced plumbing technology to provide constant temperature throughout operation by measuring the water on the outlet of the valve. Similar to the thermostat that controls the furnace in your home; thermostatic faucets have a temperature set point to control the maximum temperature of water passing through the faucet. The automatic temperature stop is there to protect you and to satisfy anti-scald plumbing codes. As sophisticated as it all may sound, thermostatic faucets have been around since the late 1800's--although early thermostatic showers resembled torture devices employed by evil feudal lords.

Sign of the Crab pioneered modern thermostatic faucets and exposed riser showers for clawfoot tubs and still offers the broadest selection. These days, however, you can vote capitalistically at Shop 4 Classics by purchasing a thermostatic clawfoot tub faucet from one of the three most reputable brands in antique reproduction plumbing; Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, or Cheviot Products. Vote and, heck, vote often!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Genuine Forged Iron Cabinet and Door Hardware by Artesano Iron Works

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, house hold items were often crafted by blacksmiths using techniques of shaping metal that date back to ancient times. Each item was individually crafted by the local blacksmith. Thus, even the most mundane home hardware items were unique in that they reflected the skills and creativity of the blacksmith. Mass production and modern metal casting techniques, however, brought an end to so much of the blacksmith’s business.

Fortunately, the blacksmith’s traditions survived the past several centuries of ever increasing industrialization. The craftsmen of Artesano Iron Works have been carrying on these traditions of hand forging iron in the creation of decorative home hardware products. Artesano's commitment to preserving the old world traditions of hand crafted iron work is readily evident in the look and feel of each piece of cabinet hardware, door hardware, shutter hardware, and other home hardware products.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Appreciating Classics: Funky Cold Medina Style

This weekend, while having lunch at a local sandwich shop, the 1989 hit "Funky Cold Medina" played on the radio. While I listened and waxed nostalgic, the younger sandwich shop staff debated on the singer of the classic song. And that’s the thing about a classic; while we may not recognize its origin, we can appreciate its greatness.

Frequently in this space, we write about hardware and plumbing that exhibits the characteristics of certain architectural time periods. These tips can be helpful but ultimately your home is your space and you are free to choose the hardware that interests you. Whether you favor Art Deco sophistication, elaborate Victorian designs, or Arts & Crafts craftsmanship, you can create your own sense of style from the many options available at Shop 4 Classics. Choosing a Victorian register for your Atomic Ranch home may not be historically accurate but you are building a home, not a museum. If a door hardware design appeals to you, choose it despite its architectural source of inspiration.

Despite the bickering over whether it was MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice singing the song, the "Funky Cold Medina" chorus became a sandwich shop sing-a-long on Sunday afternoon. The staff may not have recognized the song stylings of the one and only Tone Loc but his lyrical genius was certainly appreciated.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strom Plumbing Lavatory Faucets, Tub and Shower Sets, and Bathroom Accessory Suites

Among the many products offered by Strom Plumbing is a series of bathroom suites that include coordinating lavatory faucets, tub faucet and in-wall shower sets, as well as a complete collection of bath accessory items. Since Strom is Norwegian for "stream" or “river”, it makes sense that Strom Plumbing chose to name each bath suite after one of the world’s great rivers. All bathroom suite products feature Strom Plumbing’s quality solid brass construction, brilliant finishes, and distinctive designs. Each suite differs in the style of faucet’s spout, handle and accessory item escutcheons, and handle options. Below is an introduction to a few of Strom Plumbing’s most popular bathroom suites.

Mississippi Bathroom Suite
The Mississippi bathroom suite features a bold design inspired by the Art Deco period of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Geometric shapes, symmetry, and crisp lines were common design themes of the Art Deco period. These hallmark features can be found in the Mississippi faucet spout, shower heads, and escutcheons. Strom Plumbing completes the look of the suite’s faucet and bath and shower sets with distinctive Mississippi cross and lever handle options. The Mississippi suite includes a wide spread faucet and a centerset bathroom sink faucet, tub and shower set as well as bath accessories.

Sacramento Bathroom Suite
Named after one of the longest rivers in Strom Plumbing’s home state of California, the Sacramento bathroom suite offers a simple but elegant design. With its charming teapot style spout, the Sacramento wide spread bathroom sink faucet is one of Strom Plumbing’s most popular lavatory faucets. The Sacramento series also features white porcelain escutcheons and lever handles which add to the sets' classic vintage style.

Rio Grande Bathroom Suite
The very traditional Rio Grande series is one of Sign of the Crab’s most popular bathroom suites. Named after the Rio Grande River that twists and turns its way through steep canyon walls of the Southwest, the Rio Grande wide spread lavatory faucet, tub and shower set and bath accessories appropriately share the suite’s distinctively tall and curvaceous escutcheons.

St. Lawrence Bathroom Suite
Pioneers’ fortunes were made off the commerce that flowed along the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawrence Bathroom Suite is Strom Plumbing’s most elegant series. With its sophisticated ringed-base escutcheons and classic spout design, the St. Lawrence bathroom suite is the perfect choice for traditionally styled bathrooms.