Posts by Anne Moloney (page 2)
I came to Portland by way of Texas, where I was an assistant to an antique dealer / flea marketer. With my passion for old stuff, it was only a matter of time before Rejuvenation became a part of my life. It was actually my former boss who encouraged me to apply at Rejuve.
“They’re right up your alley!” she said. “Plus, you get a free bus pass.”
In 2008 I started as a humble (and happily overwhelmed) sales associate in our Portland store, spending some time moonlighting in our web antiques sales department. Eventually I was promoted to Lighting Lead, and began helping customers and staff in our Portland store grok the ins and outs of our lighting collection.
I’m the resident light bulb nerd, and spend way too much time talking about incandescent, carbon filament, and compact fluorescent lighting. Secretly, my deepest passion is door hardware, both new and old. I have been known to spend far too much time helping a customer get their Door Set of Destiny!
In 2009, our store’s Plumbing Lead, Foley, and I started Tales from Rejuvenation, video shorts about our company and our products.
Two truths and one lie about me:
- I was drawn to Portland by friends I made at a comic book convention.
- I repaint Hummel figurines to make them look like Portland hipsters.
- I collect Robin Hood books and ephemera, and have over 150 books in my collection.
It’s no secret that Rejuvenation is staffed by friends to canines. Folks who follow our facebook page should recognize Basil, and we introduced you to some of our furry friends last year.
At our Portland store, we enjoy doggie visits from our customers so much that we have a dedicated stash of treats…
Lovingly illustrated by our plumbing specialist, Foley.
This isn’t a new thing, either. Here’s a page from our 1999 catalogue:
Sure, it’s a creative way to convey scale — but I think we really just wanted to get our dogs into the catalogue!
We get very focused on the details here at Rejuvenation. From building fixtures with the right size shade holders to providing finished slot-head screws with our exclusive hardware, we like to make sure that we get these things right.
But we also believe in making improvements where we can. When you’ve spent over three decades fixing broken hardware in our salvage department, you can’t help but think of small changes here and there.
A big one is on our door sets.
Most antique doorknobs are threaded. This allows them to screw on to a spindle, which goes through the door, connecting it to the opposite knob and operating the latch. The knob is held on the spindle using a set screw.
Old spindles were squared, and the set screws flat. You had to be careful to tighten the set screw so that the flat of the knob rested on the flat of the spindle. If it rested on the threaded portion, the set screw would wear away at the threads of the spindle and become loose. As you turn the knob, the threads of the spindle and the threads of the knob would wear against each other until the thread inside the knob was destroyed. This is why doorknobs fall off of doors — and why it’s hard to repair that issue once it’s happened.
So we made one small change to our doorset: our set screw is pointed, and the spindle grooved. It’s much easier to positon your set screw in the right place, and it’s much less likely to come loose over time.
Here’s a lovingly rendered diagram I made for a customer:
My very first job was at a flea market, working with an antique dealer. As I started my first day, she encouraged me to roam around and get a feel for what the other dealers had for sale. The building was in an old cattle barn in Texas, and I wandered between the stalls, checking out a lot of great old stuff… and a lot of junk.
One booth stopped me dead in my tracks. A dealer had a poorly framed watercolor painting. It was a beautiful blue sky, peppered with fluffy clouds. Two biplanes cut through the idyll. Superimposed was an aviatrix, scarf fluttering, enjoying a cup of tea. There was a big gap for copy discussing her adventures, presumably with airplanes and hot beverages.
It was priced at $60 — a steal for old original art, but an impossible amount for a kid whose first payday was a ways off.
I moped about it all day until my boss finally got me to tell her what was bothering me. She smacked me on the arm and chastised me soundly. “I’m in this business because of treasures like that. Here’s $60; go and get it!”
I ran across the flea market complex, and got to the dealer’s booth just in time to watch someone else walk away with my painting under their arm.
That day I learned that when you find a cool old treasure, you can’t let it pass you by, because it’ll haunt you for the rest of your days. My dying thought will be of that darn watercolor. Of course, it’s harder to live by that belief when you work at a company that deals with tons of cool old stuff. You have to temper “wanting to take everything home” with “wanting to be able to pay rent.” The rule I usually use is, “Would it break my heart to ring up someone else for this item?”
The answer was yes when it came to this statue.
She sat in our salvage department for a couple of months before I realized that she would also haunt my dreams. Sure, her face is kinda rough; sure, her paint job is questionable. But I love her cloven hoof chair, and her mysterious machine!
She guards my antique tool collection. I named her Ada.
Here was a pleasant surprise waiting in our Salvage department today: an original Otis fixture!
While all our fixtures are based on vintage designs, it’s uncommon to see an original show up at the salvage desk. That it was one of my favorite designs of the last few years is a definite bonus!
Gotta love that purple tint in the glass from all that sunlight.
My favorite detail of the Otis has always been the cute little finial that holds the shade in place. Nice to know it was an original detail we preserved!
Here’s a question we get in our Salvage department multiple times a week: how do you get paint off of old hardware, anyway? We’ve been giving these instructions to customers in our Portland store for years:
Less than appealing.
No, stripping paint off hardware does not require a visit from the HAZMAT team or a gooey, chemical mess. Straight from Antique Doorknob Collectors of America (www.antiquedoorknobs.org) comes our secret weapon: Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda.
Found in the laundry products aisle at larger supermarkets, Super Washing Soda is sold as a detergent booster – but it works wonders as a paint stripper. It’s water based, free of harsh chemicals, and easy to dispose. It’s simple:
- Following directions on the box, mix a strong solution in a stainless steel pot. (Be sure to use stainless steel as aluminum will discolor.)
- Immerse the hardware in the pot, making sure there is ample solution to completely cover all pieces. Place on stove and bring to a boil.
- Turn off heat and allow hardware to soak for 30-90 minutes. Longer soaking times will result in easier, more effective stripping.
- Remove hardware from solution and use a stiff-bristle brush to clean off the finish. Use a brush that is softer than the base metal to avoid scratching. If the paint is very thick, a couple of soakings may be required.
Who would think painting over this was a good idea?
Thanks to Marisa for letting me use the photos from her rather dramatic experience! I’ve been through this before, with hopes that removing the years of paint with reveal a beautiful piece in perfect condition… but I’ve wound up with a rusty old piece of junk more often than I can confess. But if you find out your old piece really is beyond re-use, that’s when our reproductions come in to finish the job!