Friday, July 30, 2010

Pleasing the Mobs: Wall Mounted Clawfoot Tub Faucets

As sequels go, The Godfather Part II is widely considered the best movie sequel of all time. In fact, Part II was so good that there is still much debate whether it was better than the Academy Award winning Part I. Today, we continue our series on connecting clawfoot tub faucets. In our sequel, the wall mounted clawfoot tub faucet is the star. In part I, we discussed connecting a clawfoot tub faucet on the wall of a clawfoot tub. In part II, we discuss mounting a clawfoot tub faucet on a bathroom wall.

In most cases, faucets intended to be tub wall mounted can not be wall mounted without modification for the following reasons:
1. The interior wall of most clawfoot tubs is slanted. The slope of the bathtub wall varies but clawfoot tub faucet inlets are angled to compensate for the slope. Without angled inlets, the faucet may appear to lean backward when installed on a tub with a slanted wall. Angled inlets correct for this problem when installed on a sloped bathtub wall; however, they create the opposite problem if installed on a flat bathroom wall. If installed on a bathroom wall, the angled inlets will cause the faucet to lean forward. The trajectory of water from the spout will be inward toward the wall rather than outward toward the tub.
2. A clawfoot tub faucet's shanks are intended to extend through the wall of a clawfoot bathtub. A tiled bathroom wall is thicker than a bathtub's wall. The faucet's shanks will often be too short to be secured through bathroom walls.
3. A clawfoot bathtub faucet's shanks are threaded. If installed on a freestanding clawfoot tub, the faucet's threaded connection to the clawfoot tub supply lines is exposed. If installed on a bathroom wall, the threaded connection will be behind a finished wall which may be against plumbing code in your area.

To mount a clawfoot tub faucet on a flat bathroom wall, the inlets must be removed from the faucet body and replaced with straight wall mount couplers. Shop 4 Classics offers wall mount adapters for Sign of the Crab clawfoot tub faucets and Elizabethan Classics clawfoot tub faucets. The adapters aren't universal and only clawfoot tub faucets that have detachable inlets can be adapted with wall mount couplers. Some manufacturers, most notably Sign of the Crab, now offer a wide assortment of faucets that have already been configured with wall mount couplers.

Installing a wall mounted faucet requires 1/2" IPS male threaded pipe roughed-in through the finished wall. The wall mount couplers will thread onto the exposed 1/2" male IPS threaded pipe. This places the threaded connection on the outside (exposed side) of the finished wall.

As we discovered in the previous discussion of clawfoot tub faucets, most tub wall mounted clawfoot tub faucets have 3-3/8" centers. Since wall mounted clawfoot tub faucets are adaptations of tub wall mounted faucets, one might assume that most wall mounted clawfoot bathtub faucets are also 3-3/8" centers. Not so! Wall mounted clawfoot tub faucets can be 3-3/8" centers but they may also be 6", 7", or 8" centers. The Sign of the Crab British telephone faucets have swing arms that provide adjustable centers. In fact, the Sign of the Crab British telephone clawfoot tub faucet is one of the exceptions that can be mounted on either a tub wall or a bathroom wall without additional couplers. The point here is that the supply lines must be roughed-in to match the centers of the faucet so keep this in mind as you shop for a tub wall mounted clawfoot tub faucet.

Bathroom wall mounted clawfoot tub faucets have become increasingly popular. To appease the mobs of people requesting these faucets, Shop 4 Classics now offers a 10% discount on tub orders that include a clawfoot tub faucet and drain from the same manufacturer. Use the TUB10 coupon code to apply this discount to your tub purchase. As Don Corleone might say, it's an offer you can't refuse.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lion Head Door Knockers are the Pride of Shop 4 Classics

Representations of the lion head has for centuries stood to represent strength, power, and royalty. In fact, the industrial artists that designed door hardware during a period that lasted from the mid-1800’s through the early 1900’s often included the lion head or other imagery borrowed from ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. During this time, large and small lion head door knockers with distinctive styles were cast in brass and bronze. Reproductions of these antique lion head knockers as well as more contemporary versions of the lion’s head door knocker are still popular today.

Among Shop 4 Classics expansive collection of unique door knockers are a variety of bronze and brass lion head door knockers. Some of our brass lion head door knockers are offered in other popular finishes including oil rubbed bronze, antique brass and satin nickel. Our most popular bronze lion head door knockers have a dark bronze patina, however they are also available with a more contemporary brushed nickel finish.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Connecting with Clawfoot Tub Supply Lines for Tub Wall Mounted Faucets

Choosing supply lines for a clawfoot tub faucet can be a bit intimidating. This is especially true for tub wall mounted faucets. There are several different types of clawfoot tub supply lines for tub wall mounted faucets and within each type are several variations. It can be overwhelming initially but it needn't be. Today, we will tackle the bully of the clawfoot bathtub faucet shopping process with some basic tips for choosing the correct supplies for a tub wall mounted faucet.

Clawfoot tub faucets that mount on the bathtub wall have two threaded shanks (hot and cold) that extend through holes drilled in the wall of the tub. Most often the holes are drilled 3-3/8" on center but exceptions do occur. Usually, the shanks are threaded 3/4" IPS for tub wall mounted faucets but 1/2" IPS threaded shanks are also quite common. The rough-in connection for clawfoot tub supply lines is typically through the floor but can be through a bathroom wall in basement clawfoot bathtub projects. The rough-in is often, but not always, 8" centers. The supply lines connect to the shanks on the exterior of the tub and given the number of installation possibilities, it is easy to see why supply line selection gets complicated. At this point, you might be thinking that we're moving in the wrong direction in our attempt to simplify the selection of supply lines for your faucet. We'll get back on track in the next few paragraphs.

Double offset clawfoot tub supply lines are the best option for most tub wall mounted clawfoot tub faucet projects. The first offset in the double offset supply line bends 90 degrees to allow a tub wall mounted faucet to connect with a roughed-in through the finished floor. The second offset flares from 3-3/8" centers at the faucet connection to a common 8" center rough-in. Double offset supply lines include nuts and washers to connect with both 3/4" IPS and 1/2" IPS faucet shanks. Double offset clawfoot tub supply lines address the majority of clawfoot tub faucet installations and are certainly the recommended approach to new installations. If your faucet has 3-3/8" centers and the rough-in is through the floor at 8" centers, your project is normal and double offset supply lines are for you.

Like double offset clawfoot tub supply lines, single offset clawfoot tub supply lines curve 90 degrees to allow a tub wall mounted faucets to connect with a roughed-in through the finished floor. However, single offset supply lines do not have the offset for 8" center rough-ins. The rough-in centers must match the faucet centers. For example, if single offset supply lines are used with a 3-3/8" center faucet, the floor rough-in must also be 3-3/8" centers. Single offset supply lines include nuts and washers to connect with both 3/4" IPS and 1/2" IPS faucet shanks. Single offset supply lines are most frequently selected for clawfoot tubs that have faucet holes drilled at unusual centers (e.g. 4" centers, 6" centers, etc.).

The brass tubing for double offset and single offset supply lines is malleable. A tube bender can be used to make slight adjustments to the supply lines if the rough-in isn't perfect. A 90 degree turn for a rough-in through the finished wall is not considered "slight" however. If the supply lines for your clawfoot tub are roughed in through the wall, stainless steel braided flex hoses are the solution. Flex (as in flexible) hoses can be shaped to solve rough-in problems that can not be solved with either double offset or single offset supply lines. Flex hoses have a 1/2" IPS nut at each end that can connect directly to a 1/2" IPS faucet shank. Supply line elbows (or bathcock ells) are used with tub wall clawfoot tub faucets that have 3/4" IPS shanks. Supply line elbows have a 3/4" IPS faucet connection and reduce to a 1/2" IPS flex hose connection.

Shop 4 Classics recommends shutoff valves for the connection between the rough-in and the supply line. Shutoff valves (or stops) are recommended because they aid with installation and maintenance. Some double offset and single offset supply lines include 1/2" IPS shutoff valves while others offer them as an option.

Shop 4 Classics also recommends allowing 5"-6" between the tub rim and the wall for installation of double offset or single offset supply lines. In addition to the projection of the supply lines themselves, space will be required to accommodate the floor escutcheons. Squeezing the biggest tub possible into a space is a noble thought but ignoring the supply line connection may force you to choose flex hoses to complete installation of the faucet.

We've addressed every reasonable supply line possibility for clawfoot tub faucets mounted on a tub wall but clawfoot tub faucets can also be freestanding, installed on the tub rim, or mounted on the bathroom wall. These configurations introduce several more variations of supply lines as well as one configuration that does not require supply lines of any kind. We'll get to these configurations in future posts to the Shop 4 Classics Old House Blog.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Doorbells with a Twist: Mechanical Doorbells

I am sure that the door knocker was invented shortly after the invention of the door itself. The door knocker remained the most common way to announce your presence and desire to enter one's home for centuries. Over the years numerous other inventions, many included variations of a string attached to a bell or chime, were introduced to perform this same function but none were so widely adopted as the simple door knocker. Mechanical door bells were first widely marketed in the mid 1800’s and were popular through the early 1900’s. Twist style mechanical doorbells included a thumb turn knob mounted on the home’s exterior. Turning the knob rings a connected bell inside the home. By the mid-1900’s, electricity was being fed to homes throughout the United States and electrical devices were rapidly replacing their mechanical predecessors, including the mechanical doorbell.

Shop 4 Classics offers mechanical doorbells from IDH and Copper Mountain Hardware. These reproduction twist style doorbells feature ornate patterns and designs that were commonly found on hardware created at the turn of the 20th Century.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Clawfoot Tub Shower Riser Advisor

Clawfoot tub showers employ an exposed shower riser to supply water to the showerhead. Shower risers are shaped a bit like an upside down letter "J" and typically range between 5' and 6' tall. Despite their stature, the shower riser is usually overlooked by those in the market for a clawfoot tub shower. The faucet body, shower curtain ring, and even the showerhead tend to steal the spotlight. Today, however, we turn our attention to the often neglected clawfoot tub shower riser.

The two most common shower riser designs are the two-piece shower riser and the three-piece shower riser. If you guessed that the difference between the two-piece and three-piece shower riser is one piece, you guessed wrong. This is plumbing after all and numbers are often nominal.
  • A two-piece shower riser has two tubes and a union nut (3 pieces). The union nut joins the two halves of the two-piece riser.

  • A three-piece riser has three tubes, a tub filler, and a shower valve (5 pieces). The tub filler joins the bottom tube to the middle tube of the riser and the shower valve joins the middle tube of the three-piece riser to the top arched tube.

Clawfoot tub shower enclosure sets featuring two-piece risers are the most popular with Shop 4 Classics customers. There are many more two-piece riser shower options on the market than three-piece riser shower options. Not only are there more options, shower enclosure sets with a two-piece riser tend to be the most economical. Two-piece shower risers are also easier to assemble than there three-piece counterparts.

Two-piece shower risers only provide a shower. They are paired with a clawfoot tub faucet that has an integrated spout for filling the tub. A clawfoot tub shower with a two piece riser can be assembled over time. The faucet can be installed first. Riser caps are available to cover the shower riser connection until the riser is added later. The three-piece riser provides both a spout and a shower. Because the spout is part of the riser, three-piece risers are paired with faucets that do not have a spout. Although the clawfoot tub faucets that are used with a three-piece riser can be installed without the riser, a faucet without a spout functions better as a fountain than a tub filler.

Clawfoot tub showers that utilize a three-piece riser are code-friendly because the spout is up on the riser well above the tub's flood plain. This isn't to say that shower enclosures that include a two-piece riser aren't code friendly. Many are. However, because the spout is part of the faucet body, the presence of a two-piece riser doesn't guarantee that the spout will be above the tub's rim as it does with a three-piece riser.

The three-piece riser's greatest asset is water conservation with convenience. The tub filler and the shower valve can both be temporarily turned off without turning off the hot and cold valves. For example, the shower valve can be turned off while shampooing and then re-engaged to rinse without having to re-adjust the hot and cold water valves. Shower enclosures that have a two-piece riser don't typically provide this convenience. The faucet's diverter switches between shower and spout but the valve is always open. The only way to turn both off simultaneously is to turn off the hot and cold water. In contrast, the tub filler and shower valve on the three-piece riser can both be turned off independently, turned off simultaneously, or even turned on simultaneously without having to adjust the hot and cold water handles.

Recognizing the differences between a two-piece shower riser and a three-piece shower riser is all well and good but this knowledge can be used to do more than simply impress friends and family. We can now use this knowledge to make informed decisions about our choice of a clawfoot tub shower.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cabinet Hinges: Completing that Cabinet Renovation

In the past couple of blog entries we discussed the options and processes for refreshing your kitchen or bath cabinets with new knobs and pulls. Knowing that some renovators may need to take the updating of their cabinets one step further by replacing the cabinet doors’ hinges, we thought it would be helpful to provide some thoughts on selecting replacement cabinet door hinges.

Basic Types of Cabinet Hinges

Cabinet hinges are classified as either exposed or concealed. The concealed hinge is a more modern innovation where the entire hinge is mounted behind the cabinet door. Therefore, concealed hinges are hidden behind the door and only visible when the cabinet door is opened. Exposed cabinet hinges are partially visible on the front surface of the cabinet door. For centuries cabinet doors have been hung using some form of exposed cabinet door hinge. Since Shop 4 Classics specializes in antique reproduction and decorative hardware, we only offer traditional exposed cabinet hinges. Therefore, the remainder of this post will focus on the configurations and styles of exposed cabinet hinges.

Anatomy of an Exposed Cabinet Hinge

Exposed cabinet hinge consists of three basic components that are commonly referred to as the hinge's door wing, frame wing and pin. One end of each of frame and door wings are drilled with two or more holes so that it can be attached with screws to the cabinet’s frame or door, respectively. On the other end of each wing is an interlocking pattern of knuckles that when connected and secured with the pin allow the door wing to pivot.

Selecting the Proper Hinge

As a rule of thumb, replacing existing hinges is made easier the more closely the new hinge resembles and functions like the old hinge. Keep in mind that differences in the two hinges will create additional installation complications that may include drilling or otherwise modifying the cabinet’s doors and frames. If modifications are required, you may wish to rethink your hinge choice or contract with a qualified cabinet installer or refurbisher for assistance with your project.

Once you are comfortable with your understanding of the type and configuration of the hinge required for your renovation project, the remainder of the selection process becomes a matter of style preference. Since exposed hinges are partially visible, the hinge's finish should compliment the cabinet’s knob or pull hardware. Today’s brass hinges are usually offered in a variety of finishes including chrome, nickel, and oil rubbed bronze. Shop 4 Classics offers hinges by IDH which are also available in less common finishes like polished and antique copper and matte black.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Refresh Your Cabinets with Decorative Knobs and Pulls (Part 2: Historical Styles of Cabinet Knobs and Pulls)

In our previous blog entry, we provided an overview of the types of cabinet knobs and pulls. Understanding the types of cabinet hardware and determining which type will work for your existing cabinets is the first and easiest step in the selection process. The second step is deciding on the design that compliments the style of the cabinets as well as the look that you wish to create for the bathroom or kitchen. We can offer advice about the type of cabinet hardware that is fitting for a given time period, but the final selection typically comes down to the customer’s personal choice. So, simply enjoy this post about the styles of knobs and pulls and enjoy your cabinet hardware selection process.

Early American Cabinet Hardware
During the colonial period much home hardware was created by individual craftsmen whose focus was typically on function more so than form. The blacksmith was called upon to fabric all sorts of household objects including cabinet hardware. Forged iron cabinet hardware consisted of simple bar and drop pulls.

Shop 4 Classics offers hand crafted reproduction Early American hardware items including cabinet hardware from Acorn Manufacturing Company. Additionally, Shop 4 Classics offers hand forged cabinet knobs and pulls produce by the craftsmen of Artesano Iron Works.

Victorian Cabinet Hardware
The Industrial Revolution brought about incredible changes in the production of products of all types. The work of individual craftsmen was replaced by mass production processes. Cast brass cabinet hardware was being produced throughout America. Much effort could be invested in the design of a piece of hardware as this piece would be reproduced many times through the casting process. During the Victorian Period, cabinet hardware featured ornate designs that often borrowed European themes including ancient Greek Key, Laurel Wreaths, Egg & Dart and Ribbon & Read patterns.

Shop 4 Classics offers reproduction Victorian cabinet hardware from several manufacturers. Brass Accents specializes in Victorian period reproduction door and cabinet hardware. Brass Accents solid cast brass cabinet knobs and pulls include ornate bar pulls and a classic Chippendale style drop bail pull. Copper Mountain also offers Victorian reproduction cabinet hardware. Included in Copper Mountain’s collection of cabinet pulls are several Eastlake style cup pulls and ornate ring pulls.

Arts and Crafts Cabinet Hardware
Not all were entirely thrilled by the industrialization of America. Some grew concern about the loss of dignity of laborers who toiled at monotonous work in mass production factories. The resulting Arts and Crafts movement sought to return to pride in individual craftsmanship in design and manufacturing. A distinctive style of cabinet hardware was defined through the Arts and Crafts movement. Arts and Crafts knobs and pulls were much less ornate in design and often were created in iron and copper. In many ways they were similar to the handcrafted hardware of Early America.

Shop 4 Classics proudly offers handcrafted copper hardware from the Craftsmen Hardware Company. Cabinet knobs and pulls from Craftsmen Hardware Company are individually created by their artisan metal workers and their designs are true to themes of the original Arts and Crafts period. Hamilton Sinkler’s rustic bronze cabinet hardware feature designs that are complimentary to Arts and Crafts cabinetry and furniture.

Modern Cabinet Hardware
Many styles have come and gone over the past century. The Art Deco period of design introduced modern, if not futuristic, designs. Chrome plating provided a brilliant new finish fitting of the avant-garde designs.

Nostalgic Warehouses cabinet knobs and pulls are offered in brilliant chrome finishes and reflect designs that commonly appeared on kitchen and bath cabinets of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Colored glass knobs and pulls from Copper Mountain Hardware are reproductions of hardware popular through the middle of the Twentieth Century.

Remember that Shop 4 Classics has the hardware for whatever look you plan to create, or recreate, for your home’s kitchen or bath cabinets.