Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cast Iron and Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages: Clawfoot Tub Shopping Made Easy

Clawfoot tub packages are collections of clawfoot tubs and complimentary plumbing products that retailers bundle together and offer as a single product. The purpose of creating clawfoot tub packages is to make clawfoot tub shopping easier for consumers who are unfamiliar with the unique plumbing components required for clawfoot tub installations. Unfortunately, many retailers create so many package offerings that shopping for clawfoot tub packages is just as confusing as buying the components individually. Conversely, some retailers limit selection by offering only a few clawfoot tub packages that include the most basic faucet and plumbing options.

Shop 4 Classics takes a sophisticated approach towards creating clawfoot tub packages that makes shopping easy while offering a wider selection of options to choose from. Shop 4 Classics organizes its clawfoot tub packages by two key selection criteria, type of tub construction and location of the clawfoot tub's faucet holes. Clawfoot tubs are constructed of either heavy cast iron or lighter weight acrylic. Most consumers have already determined whether they want a cast iron or acrylic tub before they begin their search. For those undecided, however, Shop 4 Classics provides a comparison of the two types in their Clawfoot Bathtub Tips section of their website. Similarly, consumers normally know the desired, or required, location of their tub’s clawfoot faucet holes. Clawfoot tubs can have faucet holes drilled in the wall of the tub, drilled in the rim at one end of the tub, drilled in the rim at the center of the tub, or have no faucet holes at all. Generally, the clawfoot tub’s faucet hole location and spacing should matchup with the bathroom's plumbing rough-ins for the tub. Shop 4 Classics provides a concise overview of the clawfoot faucet selection process in the Clawfoot Tub Faucet Tips section of its website. Since clawfoot tubs are available in two material options and four faucet hole location options, Shop 4 Classics has eight groupings of clawfoot tub packages:

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with End Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Freestanding Mounted Faucets
Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Side Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Wall Mounted Faucets

Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with End Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Freestanding Mounted Faucets
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Side Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Wall Mounted Faucets

Even the most basic of Shop 4 Classics' tub packages include multiple tub leg and plumbing finish options, three or more faucet and/or shower options, and several clawfoot tub drain options. All of these options are logically presented on a single page and selection is a simple point and click exercise.

Shop 4 Classics clawfoot tub coupon, “TUB10”, entered at checkout applies a 10% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes a tub, faucet or shower, supply lines, and drain from the same manufacturer. The TUB10 coupon applies in addition to our already discounted prices. All Shop 4 Classics tub orders also include free crate, freight, and residential lift gate service.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Decorative Brass Floor Register Covers: Heat Registers That Go Beyond Builders’ Grade

Upgrading unsightly builder’s grade floor registers with decorative brass heat registers is an easy and economical opportunity to add style throughout your home. Most brass grille floor register covers are offered in a variety of finish options beyond polished brass. It is common for manufacturers to offer their brass floor registers in five to six finishes including antique brass, chrome, polished nickel, brush nickel, faux bronze, black and pewter. Manufacturers also often offer their heat registers with both contemporary and traditional grille pattern options. Additionally, they offer all of their brass grilles without attached louver assemblies for use as air return vent covers and with screw holes for wall installations.

In most cases, installation of solid brass grille floor registers is a simple process. First, measure in inches the length and width of each vent duct opening. The dimensions of the opening will determine the “inside measurements” of the replacement register. Registers, as well as air return grille covers, are typically organized and described by their inside measurements. Older homes can have odd size vent duct openings while newer homes typically have vent duct openings with dimensions that fall within a set of nine standard vent cover sizes with widths of 2 ¼, 4 and 6 inches and lengths of 10, 12 and 14 inches. Once your register order is delivered, installing floor registers is a simple matter of placing the register into the vent duct and adjusting the louvers to allow for the desired air flow.

The picture at right shows the dramatic difference that replacing builders’ grade floor registers with decorative floor registers can make. Note that the builder’s grade steel floor register is rusting in addition to inherently lacking any attractive aesthetic qualities. The Hamilton Sinkler Strathmore floor registers with their solid brass grilles will not rust like most builders’ grade register covers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vintage Faucet Soap Opera: As The Handle Turns

The soap opera "As The World Turns" ended its 54 year run nearly one year ago. I was never a fan. Never even watched an episode. However, we recently had our own daytime drama here at Shop 4 Classics. The crisis involved two customers with differing thoughts on the direction that faucet handles should turn on antique reproduction faucet singles (or "taps" as they are frequently called). One customer purchased Elizabethan Classics antique reproduction taps and was surprised to learn that the cross handle for the cold faucet turned clockwise to open the valve. This customer expected the cold handle to turn counter-clockwise. A second customer purchased a similar Sign of the Crab antique reproduction faucet and was equally surprised to find that the cold tap's cross handle turned counter-clockwise to open the valve. The Sign of the Crab customer expected the cold handle to turn clockwise. Should the cold handle turn clockwise as it does for the Elizabethan Classics faucet or should it turn counter-clockwise as it does for the Sign of the Crab faucet? The answer is "yes" which makes this a conundrum worthy of a daytime Emmy.

Historically, single valve faucets always opened by turning the handle counter-clockwise. Shutoff valves, hose bibs, and many antique reproduction faucets still operate this way today. In this regard, Sign of the Crab faucets are historically accurate antique reproductions. Both cross handles turn counter-clockwise (same direction) for Sign of the Crab taps as they did in the original versions of these faucets.

The modern convention, however, is that the hot water handle turns counter-clockwise to open while the cold handle turns clockwise. Elizabethan Classics faucets replicate vintage faucet designs but implement the modern handle convention. The hot water handle turns counter-clockwise and the cold handle turns clockwise (opposite directions) for Elizabethan Classics taps as they do in contemporary faucets.

It should be noted that this difference only occurs with cross handles and only applies to the cold tap. Lever handles always turn in opposite directions. Hot valves always turn counter-clockwise to open. If hot handles always turn counter-clockwise and lever handles always turn in opposite directions, it then figures that cold handles on lever handled faucets always turn clockwise to open.

Perhaps the modern convention of cross handles turning in opposite directions abandoned the traditional approach for economical reasons. Perhaps it was done to make cross handled faucets consistent with lever handled faucets. The reason for the change is not as important as understanding that there is a difference. Incidentally, Sign of the Crab faucets with cross handles can be ordered or converted to turn in opposite directions if that convention is preferred.

Lacking the cliff hanger and melodramatics that soap operas systematically employ to tempt viewers to tune in tomorrow, our daytime drama finished with a conclusive happy ending. Once we explained why the handles turn as they do, the Elizabethan Classics customer was pleased that his faucet handles turned in opposite directions and the Sign of the Crab customer was thrilled that his cross handles turned in the same direction. Avoid dramatics in your next project. Visit Shop 4 Classics for great products and advice!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Arts & Crafts Furniture Hardware:Handcrafted Knobs and Pulls on a Mission

Much of America exited the Victorian period and entered the 20th century with great expectations fueled by the acquired wealth and prosperity brought about by the Industrial Revolution. However, some began questioning whether the dehumanizing effects that industrialization had upon much of the working class justified the new found wealth and comforts enjoyed by those more fortunate. These individuals were a part of the Arts & Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement advocated a return to the simpler life that existed prior to the Industrial Revolution. To them, modern factories and their mass production methods that fed Victorian society with material goods were degrading the quality of life of the working class. As such, the Arts and Crafts movement rejected much of the extravagantly ornamented products being churned out by the factories in favor of products developed by skilled craftsmen working in craft shops.

The change in furniture styles that existed in the Victorian period compared to those of the Arts and Crafts period provides an excellent example of the dramatic change in design that occurred at the start of the 20th century. Victorian period furniture was elaborate, delicate in design and embellished with excessive decorative details. In contrast, Arts and Crafts furniture was sturdy and simple in design. Arts and Crafts furniture, now commonly referred to as Mission style furniture, was created by craftsman using common grainy oak. Victorian period furniture favored more refined species of wood including mahogany and cherry.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries on period furniture hardware, knobs and pulls shared many of the same design qualities as the furniture of the period. Arts and Crafts knobs and pulls in many ways resembled pre-industrial and even medieval hardware. Arts and Crafts furniture hardware was often made from roughly cast bronze or hand hammered copper. Arts and Crafts furniture knobs and pulls looked primitive compared to the ornate and lustrously finished brass Victorian furniture knobs and pulls.

Shop 4 Classics offers a variety of Arts and Crafts style furniture knobs and pulls. Prices of reproduction Arts and Crafts knobs and pulls vary based upon how they are constructed and materials used. Solid copper Arts and Crafts furniture hardware handcrafted by individual craftsmen are true to Arts and Crafts traditions but are understandably also the most expensive. Shop 4 Classics offers handcrafted copper furniture knobs and pulls from the artisans at Craftsmen Hardware Company. Craftsmen Hardware knobs and pulls have genuine hand hammered textures and are also finished by hand with a dark brown patina. Shop 4 Classics also offers more economical Arts & Crafts furniture hardware from the Copper Factory and Antique Revelry. Copper Factory knobs and pulls are created from sand cast copper but have faux hammered textures. Antique Revelry knobs and pulls are made of sand cast brass finished to resemble aged copper and also have faux hammered textures.