Friday, September 30, 2011

Pocket Door Edge Pulls: Livin' On the Edge With Sliding Pocket Door Hardware

Not all doors swing on hinges. More adventurous doors swing in special nightclubs in California. But today we'll discuss doors that do not swing at all; sliding pocket doors. Rather than swing, pocket doors slide. They usually hang on rollers in an overhead track that allows the door to slide in and out of a pocket in the wall.

Because a sliding pocket door retracts into the wall, it can not have door knobs that would prevent the pocket door from sliding into its opening. Instead, pocket doors utilize surface pulls that install virtually flat with the side of the door to eliminate any obstruction by door hardware as the door slides into the pocket. Once recessed into the pocket, a pocket door edge pull provides a handle to pull the door back out. Pocket door edge pulls are mortised flush into the outside (exposed) edge of the sliding door. They have a lever handle that swings away from the door's edge to provide a grip on the recessed door. When not in use, the lever handle drops flush with the edge of the door.

Pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls for antique pocket doors are generally separate components. Around the mid 1900's, pocket door hardware manufacturers began combining pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls into a single piece of hardware. The single unit combination pocket door pulls provide a choice of passage or privacy functions. Pocket door hardware is available in popular finishes such as brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze to match other home hardware.

Shop 4 Classics offers pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls for antique pocket doors as well as combination pocket door pulls for sliding pocket doors from more modern eras. In addition to pocket door hardware, Shop 4 Classics offers antique reproduction door hardware for swingers, uh, hinged doors also. Shop 4 Classics has plenty of vintage door hardware for all types and tastes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sign of the Crab’s American and Madeira Antique Reproduction Kitchen Faucets: True to the Past yet built for the Future

There is a wide variety of kitchen faucets available today marketed as being vintage or antique, but most are really modern inspirations with an antique theme. Sign of the Crab’s American kitchen faucets and Madeira kitchen faucets are much more faithful to original early to mid twentieth century kitchen faucets. For example, their faucet bodies are designed after antique original faucets. They are also only offered in chrome, polished nickel and matte nickel. That's right, these Sign of the Crab faucets are not available in wildly popular oil rubbed bronze, which is really a modern finish creation. Further, unlike other vintage themed kitchen faucets, Madeira and American kitchen faucets are true to antique originals in that modern sprayers are not available with either of the series.

In other ways, however, Sign of the Crab designed their Madeira and American kitchen faucet series to accommodate the demands of modern consumers. For example, American and Madeira faucets are offered in a wide variety of configurations. Sign of the Crab offers both series in wall mount faucet and deck mount faucet designs. They are also offered with a variety of swiveling spout options including high-arc spouts, swing arm pot filler spouts and extended reach spouts. Sign of the Crab did not ignore advancements in technology when creating their Madeira and American lines as all of these faucets use modern ceramic disk valves which are much more reliable than the old compression valves of the past.

If a vintage kitchen remodel is in your future, consider remaining true to your kitchen’s past by including a Sign of the Crab Madeira or American antique reproduction kitchen faucets

Friday, September 16, 2011

Forged Iron vs. Cast Iron: Simple Iron Offers Two Unique Choices for Cabinet, Door, and Other Home Hardware

Understanding the differences between forged iron and cast iron is one of the first steps in the process when shopping for decorative iron door, cabinet or other home hardware products. The processes for creating forged iron and cast iron hardware are very different and the differences in the processes results in distinctive differences in the types and qualities of iron hardware products that they produce.

In this blog entry, we will explore the differences in how the two types of iron hardware are created. We will also provide an overview of the types of hardware products that are made from forged iron and those made from cast iron. Additionally, we will point out the differences one should expect in the aesthetic qualities and cost of forged iron verses cast iron hardware of the same type (i.e. a forged cabinet pull verses a cast cabinet pull).

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness and, to a degree, participate in the process of making both forged hardware and cast hardware. Forged iron hardware is handcrafted by a blacksmith. The particular blacksmith that I worked with had been honing his skills for over twenty years. I’d say that the guy looked pretty ordinary except that he had unusually large Popeye-like hands and forearms, the product of years of hammering and twisting wrought iron bars and iron sheets into shape. The blacksmith uses his muscles, hammer, anvil and a blow torch in creating each piece of hardware by hand. Cast iron hardware is created at a foundry. The foundries that I’ve worked with operated on manpower rather than automation but were designed for mass production. The foundry melts raw iron inside an industrial strength melting pot called a crucible and pours the molten iron into molds. Once the iron cools, the molds are removed revealing a nearly completed piece or pieces of hardware. Thus, cast iron hardware can be mass produced where as each piece of forged iron hardware is handcrafted one at a time.
There are many types of hardware products that are made from both forged iron and cast iron.  Some types of hardware products, however,  are only offered in cast iron. Here is a summary of the various forged and cast iron products offered by Shop 4 Classics:

Forged Iron and Cast Iron Cabinet Hardware
Cabinet hardware is offered in both forged iron and cast iron, however, there are many differences in the types and styles available in forged and cast cabinet hardware. Forged iron cabinet hardware primarily consists of bar, bail and ring style drawer pulls. Since forged iron hardware is handcrafted, manufacturers like Acorn Manufacturing and Artesano Iron Works are able to offer a wide variety of forged iron cabinet pull styles. Generally speaking, forged iron cabinet hardware is more expensive than cast cabinet hardware due to the amount of time, labor and skill required to create each piece. Cast iron cabinet hardware consists of cabinet knobs and cup pulls in addition to bar, bail and ring style pulls. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron cabinet hardware from Antique Revelry, John Wright and Copper Mountain. Cast iron cabinet hardware is not only less expensive than forged iron cabinet hardware, it is also typically less expensive than other types of cast metal hardware because iron is cheaper than bronze, brass and copper.

Forged Iron and Cast Iron Door, Shutter and Gate Hardware
All sorts of exterior home hardware are offered in both forged and cast iron. All styles of entry and interior door hardware, gate hardware and shutter hardware are available with forged or cast iron door handles and back plates. Generally speaking, however, the internal mechanisms, like latches, are made of brass. Forged iron door and gate hardware can become increasingly more expensive compared to similar cast iron hardware depending on how complicated or large the piece of hardware. Shop 4 Classics offers forged iron door, shutter and gate hardware from Acorn Manufacturing and Artesano Iron Works. Shop 4 Classics offers door, gate and shutter hardware from Acorn Manufacturing and the John Wright Company.

Cast Iron Vent Covers
The grilles for vent covers have to be fairly thick in order to withstand foot traffic and accommodate optional louver assemblies. Therefore, all iron vent covers grilles are made exclusively of cast iron. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron floor registers and cold air return vent cover grilles from Acorn Manufacturing and Reggio Register.

Cast Iron Clawfoot and Pedestal Bath Tubs
Cast iron has been used to create bath tubs for a couple hundred years. The inside of cast iron clawfoot bath tubs and cast iron pedestal bath tubs have a porcelain coating that makes them smooth to the touch and easy to clean. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron bath tubs by Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, Elizabethan Classics and Cheviot Products.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Shower Curtain Ring & Shower Curtain Rod Roundup

Today, we discuss shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods. We tend to use "rod" and "ring" interchangeably but there is a subtle difference between a shower curtain ring and a shower curtain rod. We'll get into that soon but whether it is a ring or a rod, its purpose is the same; to hang a shower curtain.

Shower Curtain Rods

Shower curtain rods have an open ended bar. At each end of the bar is a bracket that attaches to an adjacent wall. Shower curtain rods are typically used with built-in tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed by one or more walls. In older homes, the enclosing wall is usually lined with tile or marble. Tile and marble are still used today but cultured marble, acrylic, fiberglass, and other water resistant materials are also common in contemporary showers. Choosing the correct shower curtain rod will depend on the bathtub or shower pan installation and the number of enclosing walls.

Straight Shower Curtain Rods - Straight shower curtain rods are most common. The ends of the straight bar mount to parallel walls. Straight shower curtain rods are used with built-in alcove tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed on three sides. The shower curtain rod is used on the open side of the tub.

L-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - L-shaped shower curtain rods take a straight bar and add a 90 degree elbow. They are often used with built-in corner tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed on two perpendicular sides.

Neo-Angle Shower Curtain Rods - Neo-angle shower curtain rods are similar to L-shaped shower curtain rods but rather than a sharp 90 degree angle, the neo-angle shower curtain rod has two 45 degree elbows separated by a length of straight bar. The middle section of straight shower rod softens the outside corner. Neo-angle shower curtain rods are used with triangle corner tubs and neo-angle shower receptors that are enclosed by two perpendicular walls.

C-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - C-shaped shower curtain rods have two 90 degree elbows. C-shaped shower curtain rods are typically used with drop-in tubs that have only one adjacent tiled wall.

D-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - Like a C-shaped shower curtain rod, a D-shaped shower curtain rod has two 90 degree elbows. A D-shaped shower curtain rod adds a straight rod across the back to close the loop created by the C-shaped rod. The extra straight rod allows for a shower curtain to wrap the entire shower area. D-shaped shower curtain rods are typically used with drop-in tubs that lack an enclosing wall that is tiled or otherwise lined for water resistance. The extra shower rod along the wall allows D-shaped shower curtain rods to also be used with freestanding clawfoot tubs that are place against a wall.

Shower Rod Couplers - If these shower curtain rod options weren't enough, Strom Plumbing offers shower rod couplers that can be used like Tinkertoys to connect straight bars into any number of configurations. Straight couplers can be used to connect two straight bars end to end. Ninety and 45 degree elbow couplers can be used to create corners.

Shower Curtain Rings

Shower curtain rings are close ended. The ring has no ends and, therefore, has no brackets on the ring itself. Instead, shower curtain rings have braces that clamp on to the ring or thread into tees along the ring to provide support. Shower curtain rings provide a self enclosing 360 degree rod. Shower curtain rings are used with clawfoot tubs and freestanding drop-in tubs and shower pans. These tubs and showers have no enclosing walls so a shower curtain hangs on a 360 degree shower rod that envelopes the shower to keep water in the tub or shower receptor. Shower curtain rings are also sometimes called shower enclosures, shower surrounds, or shower curtain frames. Shower curtain rings are available in three common geometric shapes.

Rectangle Shower Curtain Rings - Rectangle-shaped shower curtain rings are frequently used with traditional clawfoot tubs or drop-in tubs when the faucet and exposed shower riser are installed at one end of the tub.

Oval Shower Curtain Rings - Oval-shaped shower curtain rings are most often used with double-ended clawfoot tubs and pedestal tubs. The faucet and exposed shower riser are centered on the side of double-ended tubs.

Round Shower Curtain Rings - Round shower curtain rings are used with shower pans and small clawfoot tubs.

Armed with this roundup of shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods, you are now ready to plan your shower project. Save some of your hard-earned cash this Labor Day with a shower curtain ring or shower curtain rod from Shop 4 Classics.