Archive for October 16th, 2011
I finally got around to replacing the sink in the front bathroom, which required a surprising number of tools:
As with the three other sinks I’ve replaced over the years, this one was a beautiful cast-iron monster made by the American Regulator & Standard Sanitary company, back before the name mushed into American Standard. This casting shows the original typography:
A thin stainless steel trim ring and 16 (!) clamps held the sink in place on the countertop. Harsh experience taught me to support the sink while removing the clamps, because without the clamps there is nothing holding the sink up and I no longer enjoy stopping the tailpiece of a cast-iron sink with my chest…
As it turned out, the sink required two pumps on the jack to break it free from the gunk gluing it in place; I was pleased to be wrong. I toted it to the end of the driveway, put a FREE sign on it, wherefrom it vanished within two hours. We’ll never know if it became someone’s precious antique or just a source of heavy brass fittings at the scrap metal recycler.
The original vanitory countertop had been recessed into the corner walls before the tiles went up, so I sawed out a chunk of the front edge and bent the plywood enough to tap it out without destroying anything. The countertop rotated around the left-front corner and the right-rear corner looked like this when the dust settled:
Half a century ago, the tile installers did a lovely mud job; the tiles adjoin and the grout is barely 1/16 inch wide. The vanitory case top was dead level, but the tiles weren’t quite aligned and my carefully applied and very neat 5 mm stripe of new caulk looks downright amateurish.
For what it’s worth, the new countertop started life as a stock kitchen countertop. I sawed off the backsplash, trimmed the length, cut a pair of notches to match the recesses, sawed a hole for the sink, rotated it into place, and screwed it down. You can go the custom-top route, but given that you only see about two square feet when you’re done, dropping $400 for 6 ft2 of fancy material with a gaping sink hole or over a kilobuck for a countertop with built-in recessed sink didn’t make enough sense to us.
And, no, vanitory is not a misspelling; I learned a new word during this project:
After we sell the house, the new owners will rip all this out without a second thought. After all, Dusky Rose went out of style a long time ago, a perfect hand-set array of 3/4 x 1-5/8 inch floor tiles isn’t attractive, and nobody cares about mud jobs. We’d rather keep that nice work around (even if we’re willing to put up with a simple countertop), but that’s just us; we’re the type of people who think keeping the original spring-loaded turned-wood dowel in the toilet paper holder is charming.
They’ll junk that space heater recessed into the wall, too: it has a long coily 120 V heating element strung inside, easily within the reach of questing little fingers. I added a GFI to that circuit, but I can’t imagine anybody else tolerating it. Times change.