Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Supplier

Believe it or not the front door still is not finished. Of course, I haven't worked on it a whole lot since October, but still, this project is really dragging, even by winter standards.

I finally found a lockset I liked and was willing to buy. Sure, I could spend $500+ of the finest restored 1890s lockset, but I think we all know that is not going to happen. It's not that I can't afford it, its that I don't want to. If the last thing I had to do on this house was to buy a lockset and install it, then the sky would be the limit.

As it is, I do more major projects in 1 year than most people do in a decade. For me, thinking about funding for future projects means thinking about what I will be doing next month, not next year or next decade. I must always broaden my tunnel vision and keep the big picture in mind.

So I searched and I waited. I found a few promising items over the past few months and made some low-ball bids on eBay that didn't pan out. No biggie. I've lost a lot more auctions than I've won. Then a few weeks back the set below showed. Fully restored and ready to install. Really, very nice. Installation was a breeze and for the first time in decades the front door does not rattle when the wind blows. I don't have to giggle the knob to get the lock to engage. Simply close gently and listen for the click. It's a beautiful thing.

Not a great price, but a good price. Very fair. Both the buyer and seller knew what they had and what it was worth and a peaceful and prosperous transaction ensued. You gotta love commerce when everyone ends up happy.

Of course, I needed other locks for this door. There are the two slide bolts that keep the stationary door in place. These have been a challenge to find. Really, the top one has been the challenge. I need a 24X1.25 inch mortised slide bolt. I beginning to think that the original bolt was custom made for my house. OK, not really, but I have found that that size bolt just does not exist in the salvage hardware world. If I needed a 20-inch long bolt or shorter I would have 100s to chose from.

I eventually found and bought one that was listed at 18X1.25 inches only to find out it was mislabled on the web site. Very frustrating, but it was returned for a full refund. The 1.25 inch is the really important measurement. I can fill in at the bottom with wood or even a piece of the original bolt. It must be 1.25 inches wide though, or I can't mount it.

So after I bought the lock From Filip at Penn Antique Restoration in Scranton, PA I asked if he had any locks that would fill my needs. In no time at all a few pictures arrived with a very nice selection to chose from. Two were 20X1.25 inches and in the same pattern as the original lock!


After a few more emails to confirm size and condition, and before I was given a price, I was asked if I wanted them as-is or cleaned and restored. I love this. I love being given the option and I also love dealing with people who understand that time is money. Some people think they yank something out of their attic, slap it on eBay, and get top dollar for it.

As many of you have already guessed, I'm buying these in original, as-is condition. After some grunt work to get them in shape I can mount them and then finish the weather stripping. After that I can replace the glass and finish these front doors once and for all!