Posts by Jen Foley (page 2)
Plumbing Category Lead, Portland Store
If you have called the Portland store in the past four or five years you have probably talked to me at some point. If you have come into the store with obscure questions about plumbing for old homes you have definitely talked to me. And if you have perused our Tales from Rejuvenation company videos, you have even seen me.
I’m what I like to call a Plumbing Enthusiast: a lover of vintage plumbing fixtures and catalogs. But I wasn’t always that way. Five years ago, I was scared to even touch the stuff, calling my dad to help me out with a leaky faucet or a clogged drain. Once I started at Rejuvenation, I found out I wasn’t alone in my fears and trepidations.
And that just wouldn’t do.
I had to learn as much as I could about vintage plumbing and I wanted to make it less scary and more accessible for folks going through remodels and renovations.
Over the past few years, if there is one thing I have learned, it’s that nothing is standard in an old house. Heck, things are rarely standard in a new home, but all the ups and downs can be worth it, especially if you have fallen head over heels in love with your space.
I love helping people take their houses and turn them into spaces that reflect their personality and passion. It’s a joy to watch and it’s exciting every time.
TWO TRUTHS AND ONE LIE
- My kitchen stove is over 50 years older than I am.
- I am writing a full length action-adventure novel.
- I had to build a special storage area in my house to hold my extensive DVD collection.
One of the greatest things about living in Portland, Oregon has to be the architecture. It’s not as old as, let’s say, the East Coast, but what it lacks in age it more than makes up for in character. Downtown is dotted with amazing buildings, whose details really stand out against the gorgeous NW skies.
Whether on clear summer days or rainy winter nights, this city has always seemed warm and inviting, with its old brick and cast iron facades waiting patiently for someone to hear their stories.
You work here long enough, you start to accumulate a lot of cool things. I have some really great trinkets and salvage items decorating my 1897 Victorian home, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my five years at Rejuvenation, it’s that no matter how cool your current collection may be, something cooler is always just around the corner.
Enter: The Wooden Man.
This lovely, hand-carved artist’s reference came into salvage and I fell in love. It was amazing to see body contours displayed with such care.
The level of detail is amazing! Modern artist models just aren’t the same.
The past is full of treasures. This is one of them.
The Portland store seems to be collecting quite the menagerie. Most of you have seen our bulldog bottle opener. He looks great mounted on my back deck, ready to bite off the caps to even the most stubborn bottles.
But recently, our bulldog bottle opener has had some company: a sturdy bird, a cast iron whale, and a slender silver fish… which sounded better in my head than it does outloud.
And if you don’t need the assistance of animals to open your beverages… You might like them to hold your coat, instead.
My favorite animal item by far is actually a salvage find. The handmade cat sconce below is just as adorable in person as it is totally awesome in concept. A little rewiring and it will make some cat lover very happy. It was hiding in one of our salvage displays for the longest time. I pulled it out and couldn’t believe how great it was. Simply wonderful.
So, yeah, like I said, I’m seeing a furry-feathery-fishy trend. Any little inanimate animals hanging out in your house?
Statement: My front door is rebelling against me!
Solution: There are lots of reasons this can happen but none of them make coming home to a doorknob that comes off in your hand any better. All things — old or new, cheap or expensive – eventually fail. Sadly, nothing lasts forever. The hallmark of a good product is its ease of repair once that happens. Some front door fiascos are actually easy fixes – nothing a little troubleshooting, a couple bucks and a screwdriver can’t take care of.
Some exterior door sets have a thumb latch on the exterior and a knob on the interior. That knob screws onto something called a split spindle. Sometimes knobs lose their threading if their set screws are not tight enough. The knob wiggles, and then the soft metal (usually brass, sometimes pot metal) wears down. You know this has happened if you see square corners instead of circular threads. Unfortunately, at that point, the knob is beyond repair. Use it in a craft project and come get another one(Bringing in the original knob, functioning or not, can help with finding a replacement faster, so before you glue it to something or put a bird on it, bring it in to pick out a new one).
The split spindle can also be worn down if the knob’s set screws are tightened down too tightly on the wrong part of the spindle. Accidentally tightening the screw down on the edge of the threads can ruin them, making the knob hard to screw on and/or contributing to rattling that can permanently decommission the knob. When tightening a set screw down on a spindle, try to rock the knob gently back and forth until you can feel the screw settle on the flat side of the spindle, preferably on the solid side, in the case of split spindles. In the long run, this will help save both the knob and the spindle.
For those of us, myself included, with old door sets that have a knob on both the interior and exterior of the door, the trouble shooting is just as simple. Usually one knob is the offender. Sometimes it’s a knocked-out knob, or a bad spindle like above. Other times it’s as easy as a missing set screw. All threaded things that are frequently handled will unthread themselves with time and agitation. (ed.’s note: That’s deep, Foley.)
Some knob sets work with square shank knobs that have no threads on the interior shaft of the knob. These knobs attach with set screws that screw into the spindle itself. The screws can work themselves loose and are easily lost. People go wrong replacing those missing screws with whatever is lying around the house. Sometimes a bolt, a wood screw, or even a drywall screw. DANGER! Using an object with the wrong threading and size destroys the spindle and can destroy the knob itself.
In either case, dealing with a loose or rogue door knob sooner, rather than later, will save you lots of frustration and cash.
There are some really awesome things that have come into our Portland Salvage department in the past few weeks. And by awesome I mean enormous. Thought I’d share one of my favorites.
Check out this gigantic traffic light. No, I’m not kidding… it’s HUGE.
This beast came from a train crossing and it’s about 4.5′ tall and 2.5′ wide. The salvage folks wired it up and each light is lamped with 40 watt CFLs… Those are some efficient reflectors in there. High fives for good industrial design.