Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Early November Updates (Part 4)

I mentioned that I started to install the bathroom vanity, so I thought I would share photos of that. It may hep you if you're thinking of installing a similar piece.

The vanity will need to slide into place over plumbing pipes and also carefully fit between a door casing and a baseboard. This involves a lot of careful measuring and cutting, and a definite "measure twice, cut once" attitude.

Normally, when we fit something into place around existing mouldings, we will trace the outline against the existing trim (on the wall) and carefully cut that to shape so that we can slide our cabinet or moulding against it. If both pieces are flat, you can usually install your pieces more easily, but the above applies mostly when you have two non-matching "fancy" profiles that need to blend together in a corner.

In my case, I have 2 flat pieces, and I decided to just cut my toe-kich moulding off the cabinet. Normally this would be a separate piece nailed on separately, but I didn't have the accurate tools to do a good corner joint, and I put mine directly on the cabinet.

Section removed to allow for the 3/4" thick baseboard:

This shows how it will look (with a piece of 3/4" scrap wood acting as the baseboard):

On the other corner, I had to notch a 3/8" portion with a rounded upper corner to allow for the plinth block of the door casing. I could just remove the door casing and block, and cut those to fit around the vanity instead (which would be easier), but this allows me to (God forbid) change the vanity more easily later, if I ever decide I don't like it anymore, or if it got horribly damaged (or something).

Yeah it was a huge mess.

Hard maple (aka Rock Maple) is **NOT** easy to cut and sand with crappy tools. This is when I found out that my belt sander is not very good. I tried to route-off as much as possible and do the rest (up to the line) with the sander.

Again, careful measuring is important, otherwise I'll have a lot of gap-filling to do with silicone.

That's as far as I got. I need to move the hot water pipe over, and extend/redo the PVC before I can do the next step, which will be to drill the holes in the bottom of the cabinet (which is often the part where things can go really wrong).

Lastly is the exciting news that I've been saving for last!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I went to Ottawa over the weekend (I got back yesterday). I was there to help a friend fix a few things around her place, and to do some shopping.

Here's a photo of my haul. You'll see why I'm so happy/excited!


Here's a break down of what I got:

- Antique cast-iron grille (a match to my existing one, and this one has the working thumb latch) 50$! This was a steal. The place where I bought it is an antique lighting and salvage store. The lady said that it's a common pattern (thus the cheap price). She actually had another 6 or 7 identical ones.
- Antique light fixture (there's a story behind this, see below)
- Mix of new and antique butterfly hinges.
- 2 lock sets that are near perfect matches for some of my other "good" ones. 10$ each
- 4 antique door knob stems (very hard to find, and only 1$ each)
- Set of 15 small cast brass handles. 5$
- Photo album 3$
- New (bound) sketch book 15$
- Set of 6 antique reproduction knobs. 30$
- Stained glass supplies ~180$, including:
- 6 sheets of coloured glass (wrapped in newspaper)
- Solder
- Lead antiquing solution
- Fid (the red plastic tool for lead work)
- Lead came (this is the long cardboard box which has 14pcs of lead for the office built-in doors). This was 120$ of the overall 180$ mentioned above.
- Marina and the Diamonds CD

All the old hardware (lock sets, spindles, hinges, and the set of 15 handles) all came from a trip to the East end Habitat for Humanity ReStore (in Ottawa). It was an absolutely amazing place. I saw so many things I'd want to buy, but with no easy way to get them home. They had a good variety of antique wood doors, many old exterior doors (some Victorian ones, even), they had old windows, too. One was a single sheet of antique glass nearly 4'x4'! They also had a huge selection of tiles, old lighting (not old enough for my house), and hardware. If I would have had more time, I would have gone to the West end ReStore as well.

Alright, the story behind the light fixture is quite fun and amusing. Right near the antique lighting/salvage place, is a large antique store. I was in there looking around at all the beautiful old furniture, and as I was leaving, a lady came in. She was talking to the shop owner and asking him if he would be interested in buying 3 old light fixtures from her.

One was this gorgeous brass 1920s fixture, and the other two were old wall sconces. The shop owner (who mainly deals in furniture) had no interest in them, and he thought they were in bad shape, so she left. I commented (to the owner) about a lovely old Empire sofa by the door that was sold, and then left to quickly catch up to the woman.

I asked her how much she wanted for the oval fixture, and she dug it out of her book bag. She said 20$. My jaw nearly dropped and I said "Sure!". We had a short conversation where I explained that I had an old house with this style of fixture, and she was very happy to be selling it to someone who would use it. She asked if I'd also want to buy the sconces, but I said no (since I have no where to use them and they're not a matching style to the other fixtures I have), but I recommended she go to another antique lighting place that would likely buy them.

Here is another photo with 2 (new/crappy) shades:


  1. So I stalk your blog because I finally made the plunge to buy a 1935 house with amazing character. But as you know, undoing the insane things the previous owners did takes a time and money. One of the struggles I'm having is finding a lock set/brass plate/hardware for a hopelessly butchered bathroom door that I'm trying to restore. Any suggestions on where to start sourcing that? I haunting the Restore and other Antique locations in my area, but I'm thinking it is just a matter of luck and timing. Thoughts?

    1. For the lockset you will need to know the style or the company. There are two common generic styles that were made. I would just vaguely call them "high or low". The most common ones have the latch and bolt close to each other and near the centre of the side plate, whereas the other style has them above the center. Aside from this there are also a wide variety of plate sizes, latch and both widths, and it's just generally easier to find an exact match if possible.

      As for brands, some are marked on the mortise lock body, brands like Peterborough, Russwin, Yale, Corbin, Toronto, etc. Some are generic and not marked. Some lock sets are also far better quality than others. I generally like the Corbin ones because they are all solid cast iron parts as opposed to sheet metal parts.

      The best places to find them is on eBay or Etsy, but if you know the brand or the size (or if you can send me photos) I might have a spare for you. I've scavenged dozens of antique locks from garbage doors all around the neighbourhood, yard sales, and flea markets, and there's a good chance I might also have some old plates I won't ever use. It will all depend on the style and shape. There were thousands of patterns made. My e-mail is listed on my Blogger profile page.

      I had made this post a while back regarding some of the old lock sets I've got, but this only shows about 1/4 of them. Some are fully restored and some are still all covered in old paint and rust.