Monday, November 27, 2006

Don To The Rescue

I contacted Don Hooper, the owner of Vintage Plumbing, about 2 weeks ago asking about wall brackets to go with my sink legs. I had bought a pair of 1890s, nickel plated sink legs on Ebay to use in the downstairs bathroom. The legs support the front two corners of a marble vanity, and then there should be brackets mounted to the wall to support the other two comers.

I’ve since discovered that the wall brackets have a small post on the top that accepts a hole on the underside of the vanity. This is what holds the vanity to the wall. Once the backsplash is in place, the only way to get the vanity away from the wall without disassembling it, would be to break the marble. The brackets, it seem, play a larger role than just helping to support the marble.

Anyway, I contacted Don 2 weeks ago asking if he had any brackets, or if he knew where I could get some. He emailed me back within minutes and said he makes a reproduction pair and he’d be happy to sell me a set if he still had any. We agreed on a price and I waited for him to contact me telling me he had a pair for me. I never heard back from him.

Even after a few days the pessimist inside me began to doubt I would ever hear from Don again. His site is pretty popular, and being that he is located in LA, I’m sure he gets a lot of local traffic. Also, judging from his site, he mostly deals in high-end stuff for big spenders, and I just figured me and my little request from a couple of brackets might be too mundane. Woa-is-me, right?

On Friday, just a few days ago, I decided I’d better try and find an alternative to Don Hooper. The brackets are roughly 1 X 5 inches, and are a fairly simple design. I started searching for fabricators to make me a pair. I needed to find someone who does non-industrial fabrication. A lot of places I saw on-line were fabricating parts for production machinery and industry prototypes. Not really what I needed.

I eventually found Vulcan Metals in St. Louis, MO. Their site said they would fabricate anything from as small as a pencil holder to as large as hotel railings. Judging from the pictures they do a lot of high-end residential railings, bar BQs, tables, chairs, etc. I shot off an email to one of their estimators, along with a crude drawing of what I needed.

Well, wouldn't you know it, later that day I got an email from Don at Vintage Plumbing saying he just located a pair! I shot off another email to Vulcan saying, “Oops, never mind”. I told Don I’d take them. He gave me two prices. One was for finished but unplated brass, and the other was for finished and nickel plated brass. As it turns out I need to get the waste pipes for the claw foot tub nickel plated, so I said I’d take them unplated and just add them in when I plated the pipes.

I asked him about a good nickel plater and he suggested Astro Chrome & Polishing in Van Nuys, CA. He said he’s been going there for 30 years, and people ship stuff to them all the time. That is exactly what I want to here. He suggested that I request copper pre plating before the nickel plating for better results when having something replated. I don’t understand it exactly, but it seems the copper adheres better to a already polished surface than the nickel does. Works for me.

Next all I need is the marble skirting, oh, and the marble vanity itself. I’m hoping to pick up the vanity in a week or two, and after that I’ll know what size skirting to get. It’ll feel good to have this out of the way.


Kristin said...

Congrats! I'm surprised he spoke to you at all after he found out you bought something on eBay! ;)

Don Hooper said...

This is Don from Vintage Plumbing, and I am happy to work with anyone trying to restore the bathrooms in early 1900 homes. I have no concern about where the fixtures were bought, i.e. , Vintage Plumbing, eBay, other dealers or whatever. In fact, I frequently refer people to eBay and other dealers to find what they might be seeking, and then I assist with parts restoration when asked.