Friday, January 16, 2009

Martini-proof hardware installation

Tuesday was just wonderful. First, our package arrived with hardware from Rejuvenation. I think this is the second time we've ever been able to afford something from Rejuvenation (first time was a replacement part they made for a light fixture, kind of a must-have or no light!).

OK, back up a sec. When we did the guest room, Ken stripped all the paint off all the old brass hardware. It took him the better part of a day because there was an awful lot to strip owing to the liberal use of the paintbrush in that there room. When he stripped the paint-caked bin pulls from the built in drawers, they didn't come out so great - turns out they were thinly brass plated. I know, Jason, that probably means they were originally meant to be painted, but I can't paint everything! It hurts to do it after all this paint removing.

Serendipitously, I got an email that day about a sale at Rejuvenation - and was ecstatic to see SOLID BRASS bin pulls at 50% off (read: we can afford that!). Even more ecstatic to find that they had a dozen - enough for the guest room and our bedroom's drawers. And supremely ecstatic that they came with matching, oval head, slotted screws - proper! Note that the old pulls were attached with a dizzying array of varied size and type screws (official term: 'Whatcha got' hardware).

We also paid full price for a pair of doorknob escutcheons for the closet. I looked for a couple of months on ebay, but all the antique ones I liked ended up quite expensive or just not right - we needed a plain, solid brass style without a keyhole. The knobs are lovely old glass - the only glass in the house - but they suit the tiny door. They just had tinny pressed brass escutcheons behind them that were ruining the whole door. So we ponied up the $26 for a pair of these to share shipping with the pulls.

Having opened the package and done much rejoicing, we had to go out for a while - Ken to fix a snowboard with a friend, and me to a historical lecture about Bangor at the library with my very good friend C. We met in the library only to find the lecture had been cancelled. Almost in unison: "Should we just go get a drink, then?" Ah, good friends always know what you're thinking. So we went to the martini bar and I got a signature red martini - blueberry vodka, blood orange juice, and something else. Yum. Good conversation. Then headed back home. To the hardware.

Now, we're not experts on this whole house restoration thing, but at this point, damned if I'm not at least Advanced Intermediate on the hardware installation, due largely to the long and checkered history of screw-ups and having learned from them. So there are four things you need to put in hardware flawlessly, even buzzed on a martini:
  1. Green plastic template thingy. So cheap, so worth it. You all have one, I'm sure. If not, run right out and buy one immediately. I insist.
  2. Drill. The proper size bit, too. I'm tellin' ya, pilot drill your holes. Ken has finally come around to the Gospel of the Pilot Drilling, and it saves so much aggravation.
  3. Screw guide-sleeve-collar thingy. The best $3 you'll ever spend. Excluding cappuccinos, of course. Before we bought this, putting in hardware was a horrendous pain - because all the old hardware has slotted screws, the bit slides out, mars the piece, strips the screw head, and basically mangles the whole project. Now we simply don't touch a slotted screw without it.
  4. Screwdriver to finish by hand. To make sure all the slots are facing the same way.

Armed with the arsenal of hardware installation tools, by myself, I installed 6 pulls and 2 escutcheons in under a half hour. With martini-head. And they're all straight - which is less than I can say for the original installation (using the template revealed that not only did they use Whatcha got hardware, they put the old pulls on at all sorts of kooky angles).

This means that the guest room is officially done except stripping sashes - which is a project for outdoors, when it warms up. It was -30 degrees - yes, that's a minus sign - when we got up today, so a bit cool to be stripping paint outside. :)


Derek said...

We just got some lights from Rejuvenation this week as well, they were on sale. We still spent a bundle though. Nice tip with the green template thing, I've never seen one of those, I use a measuring tape or ruler, I'll have to look for one of those.

Karen Anne said...

That looks absolutely terrific.

What does the Green plastic template thingy do?

Sandy said...

I just love old-timey glass door knobs. Sigh. Love the template. The only ones I've seen were made out of some sort of thin flexible plastic.

The pulls and the door knob look absolutely great!

I can relate to the -30ยบ. I think everyone has icicles hanging off their noses!

Anonymous said...

At $3.99 on clearance at Rejuvenation, I'm having a hard time saying no to antique brass sash lifts. All our downstairs windows are new (read: still more than 30 years old) with corresponding fugly hardware.

The pulls and estucheons look great - it's always more satisfying when you know its a job well-done with the right tools.

For what it's worth, I don't think I could ever get behind painted hardware. There are just some things that are always meant to be bare, y'know? Hardware is one of them. I assume many young children read your blog, so I'll let you use your imagination for the others.

Anonymous said...

A good post. The installation ideas are really helpful.


Blogger said...

I have just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my taskbar.