Archive for October 2010
We recently came across a box of antique hardware when we were at our local thrift store the other day. We make our rounds every couple of weeks and see what we can find. Most days we don’t really find much, but sometimes we get really lucky, like this past time. They were just unloading a bunch of donations, and were still sorting through them. I mean, what better way to find hardware than at a thrift store where you can donate money to a good cause – a perfect scenario.
We have a good reputation with most of the stores in our areas. We volunteer our time sorting through items, and in return get first dibs on a lot of stuff. This was one of those times that we lucked out while sorting. They had just gotten a very large amount of donations from a woman who had decided it was in her best interest to move into an assisted living home and was donating many of her belongings.
There were three large boxes in her garage of what she thought was just junk that nobody would want. There was actually a large amount of antique items that were gorgeous. This very geometric style sunburst was the first of many items that we dug out of the box.
We really love the simplicity of the design. The original artist that created it really took their time and used imagination to create an appealing design. This classic design also boasts a design that would, and has, hold up over many decades. There are few polished surfaces, making it very easy to camouflage any scratches that may have been caused.
Like many of our pieces, this one will also be cast in bronze, once we clean up all of the minute details so that we may create a perfect mold. If we leave any dirt on the item, the mold will have flaws in it, which we strive to avoid.
This is one of the most unique pieces we have ever found throughout our years of travels, and we didn’t even mean to find it! This is one of many pieces from the estate sale in Charlotte that we unknowingly purchased. I believe this is made of pewter, but still have some cleaning to do before that can be determined.
We originally had this piece in the garbage pile, thinking that all of the dents and the coloring meant it was an extremely cheap piece that wasn’t taken care of at all, but one of our young interns saw the true beauty of it and salvaged it without our knowledge.
She spent days cleaning it, literally. There was so much dirt and debris caked into it, it’s no surprise we were going to throw it away. She brought to our attention that the small roundish indentations that covered the majority of the piece were hand struck on there. The rest of the design, the circle around the center and the polished ridges, were crudely done, suggesting this is either the work of a brand new metal worker, or a piece over two hundred years old.
The weight of this piece is fairly light, but seem to have some durability, so we’re thinking it’s pewter. We could try melting it on a stovetop (but that would be a one-way test). It may in fact be silver, but if that is the case it will take months of scrubbing and polishing to bring out the true shine of the metal.
This is Charlotte special number two. It still needs a lot of cleaning done to it, but you get the basic idea of what it’s going to look like. It is a solid brass door knob that is handcrafted. It is approximately seven decades years old, give or take.
What makes this piece unique is the deep groves that are carved into it. Each space is almost half an inch deep. It may not have been the metal worker’s initial intention to make them so deep; it may just have been a slip of the chisel creating an error that couldn’t be corrected. This is highly likely, as most craftsmen chose to keep a continuous depth throughout the piece.
If you look carefully you can see that the center part of the sun is much shallower than the surrounding parts. The whole reason for the consistency is to make cleaning it easier. The grooves are much darker for the simple fact that it is very hard to clean this piece. Most of that black color is not a patina, but dirt and dust that is caked in.
This is an extremely worn piece. As you can see in the second and third photos, there is a large dent in the side of the piece. It may have been caused by a piece of furniture, or perhaps a frying pan. I mention the latter because this piece originally adorned the back kitchen door to the home.
We are going to continue restoring the piece so that we can prep it for replication. It will be cast again in bronze, as well as our new favorite metal, copper.
This piece was given the name for two simple reasons: one, we found it in Charlotte, NC, and two, it reminds me of a spider web. A very elegant spider web, perhaps woven by the spider Charlotte from the childhood favorite written by E.B. White. Or a snowflake; it could possibly be a snowflake as well.
Regardless of what shape I think it is, the history behind this piece is more important. We were on our quarterly trip through the Southeastern United States and found a few estate sales in Charlotte. As my readers probably have realized by now, we love going to estate sales. You just never know what exactly you are going to find!
This day was no exception. The former owners really had a lot of stuff. Not necessarily good things, like antiques and such that collectors jump on immediately; just STUFF. Boxes and boxes stored all over the house. Now, at the owner’s defense, the home was nearly two hundred years old, and had had several owners previously. Most had been from the same family, or were friends of the family. Since the home was so large, a real classic plantation house, and the residents so few, it was often used as storage for family heirlooms, and things kept piling up.
We helped ourselves to about a dozen or so wooden crates that seem to hold many different door knobs, door plates, and hinges. We got a really good deal on them, and so far have only found a few really exquisite pieces. We’ll highlight those in the next few pages.
This piece is going to be stripped and molds created so that we can cast it in both copper and bronze. We are really starting to appreciate and enjoy the look of the copper, even more so than some of the brass pieces we’ve featured! We know it may never have the same popularity as the other metal, but are hoping to start some sort of trend on our website!
Have really cool hardware you want to sell? Know of some? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s make a deal.
Man I love my job – this is so much fun – finding America’s history. Another great find from the West Virginia church yard sale! This is the backdrop for our recently featured Iron Cross Door Knob piece. Yes, I realize they are made of two different metals, but hey, that wasn’t our decision!
Regardless of that minor detail, they blend beautifully and add a touch of mystery when combined. The title of this piece is the best description we could possibly come up with. It’s really more of an artist’s interpretation of the church windows from whence it came. It was clearly crafted just for that building; it’s a perfect miniature of the windows, complete with framing.
Many people may not have originally realized that this door plate is bronze, since it has developed a patina over the surface. In fact, the only area you can truly see the bronze itself is wear it has been covered up by the door knob for years.
We will hold true to the original design and re-cast this in bronze. Being the creative individuals we are, we will also make a piece in copper, as well as cast iron so that it may coordinate with the door knob of your choosing, especially with the Iron Cross door knob.
There is plenty of room for a modern locking mechanism on this piece as well, making it ideal for anywhere from a front door to an office door. If you are not interested in installing a lock, it will still be a wonderful conversation piece. The door plate’s classic style more than makes up for any missing element.
The best part about this piece is that it is such a unique shape that it will appeal to any style or personality type. It will camouflage itself if you don’t want it to stand out, or will be a conversation piece in an otherwise simply decorated room. It’s a chameleon piece!
What’s better than finding stuff in an antique shop that everyone forgot about? Going to a flea market! I mean, real flea markets – that cover acres of grass and lawn – where the locals scour the countryside for the best things. We recently traveled down to Florida to get a break from the cold weather that was moving in. We were in Florida visiting the beach recently and went to a huge one in Daytona. You never know what you’re going to find at one of those, they have everything and then some!
We came across a couple of booths of antique furniture and hardware, but a lot of it looked like restored replicas, and not the originals that we crave. We were only about a third of the way through, when we came across a great find – the motherload. There was two huge tables filled with all kinds of vintage and antique style door knobs, door plates, hinges, and other hardware. This is where we found this beauty.
We immediately started scanning for winning pieces. Winning pieces are ones that seem unique, have exquisite details and that we may not have seen before. We wanted ones that we could see some detail on, and were okay with having to do some heavy clean up on them. Most of the pieces we bought were bronze, but there were also a few cast iron and even a couple of copper ones.
This is a wonderful example of one of the copper pieces. The beadwork design is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Normally beaded pattern items only have small beads around the perimeter – but this has a distinct pattern. It’s modern and classic at the same time, yet shows the elegance of the Victorian era. The coloring is absolutely exquisite, and is a finish that we haven’t used much. After seeing how gorgeous it can be, we are thinking of expanding some of the other pieces and offering a copper finish as well as the bronze ones. It is an incredibly pretty metal that is easy to work with and goes with everything. Let us know what you think! And if you have some really cool hardware to sell, talk with us about it.