Fixing antique plumbing fixtures is a challenge and a joy. I've become the “go-to” plumber in Portland, Oregon for the repair and restoration of vintage plumbing fixtures.
Antique toilets, vintage bathtubs, vintage faucets, and those beautiful antique bathroom fixtures define your house, but no other local plumber seems to have any ability with or regard for them.
I fix things... I always have. For the most part it's cheaper to fix things than to replace them, but that isn't the main reason I do it. Besides, not everything can be replaced.
It is certainly better for the environment to fix those vintage plumbing fixtures instead of throwing them into landfills, but that's not why I do it either.
These days I fix old plumbing fixtures that few people will even consider working on, I get paid well for this service and I bring a lot of knowledge to the projects I see, but I didn't start fixing things originally for money.
There will come a moment on some jobs when everything depends on some part that must be removed, or loosened. And using a bigger wrench or cutting it out with a saw doesn't work. Try as you will, it just won't budge.
Sometimes they are large parts that you can really lean on, and at times they will be small or delicate parts that would be easily marred. At times you don't even know how what you are working on is intended to be disassembled.
It is then that the right tool and the right technique or combination of techniques, patience, vision and mechanical intuition get me past that critical stage. When that stubborn part finally turns or lifts or does what I want it to do, I say “I win”.
“Winning” is a great feeling, but each time I go through that and win I also add to my knowledge of and feel for the materials I work with.
I love knowledge.. of history and science and literature. I also love the practical hands on understanding of the manipulation of things.
I find that when I'm working on an antique plumbing fixture and someone's there with me, I want to show them what I am doing. I try explain the nuances of vintage plumbing mechanics and the workings of the parts to them.
Usually folks are polite or at least tolerant. But sometimes they are truly interested, as if, like me, they are intrigued by the problem-solving of the original engineer. Seeing someones engineering is like viewing art- there's a sense of connection with the artist through the artist's work.
In the last few years, I've started photographing the projects I have had on my bench. I'd like to show you not only photos of vintage, or antique plumbing fixtures, but original vintage bathroom fixtures disassembled, in the restoration process.
Here's a glimpse of not only my credentials, but how I see vintage Crane, Standard, Kohler, Republic, Eljer, and other antique plumbing fixtures.