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Because Who Doesn’t Like A Good Knob Story

June 15, 2012   //  Posted in: DIY, Entryway, Living Room, Sunroom   //  By: Emily   //  16 responses
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File this under “things that are broken but I manage to ignore until someone smart points out a fix to me”… because if I admitted to it more often, there would be a category. Also, the title of this post. Knob story? Seriously.

Today’s admission has to do with the doorknob to the sunroom, a vintage glass knob (so I believed) that I transplanted from an upstairs closet door when I installed the paned glass door between the living room and the sunroom in 2009. Yeah, could you imagine if this room still had the heavy steel door along the eastern wall? Pardon me using a photo from my first house tour with the seller’s belongings (lightly blurred):

Aw yeah, I love that new door. It's perfect.

The knob itself doesn’t serve the highest function; the door locks using a mortise lock and a deadbolt, so the knob is merely the pull-point for when we’re entering our wonderful, greenhouse-y 3-season room. And is otherwise just a pretty little thing to look at during the cold months of the year.

Most of the time, usually only when I’m turning it, the knob pops off right in my hand like this:

Right. This glass knob sucks.

I should mention that I can get into the sunroom sans knob, but it’s also probably the reason that my fingernails are so broken and short, so I won’t promote that tip.

The glass knobs themselves weren’t immediately thought to be the issue. The spindle, the piece that acts like the doorknob axel and locks the two glass knobs together, was noticibly stripped. Both ends of the spindle should be threaded to screw right into the glass knobs, but in this case of natural doorknob wear and tear, one end had worn down and no longer held onto the threads of the knob. Whompity, whomp whomp.

Right, and then in true “live with it because it only pops out in my hand once a day and that’s not so bad” form, I dealt with it. For two years? Yeah, about two years.

Worn down morise knob spindle.

The fix itself was a two-part learning process:

Part 1: There was a day earlier this week when I was headed down to one of my favorite small town hardware stores in the area (Black’s Hardware on East Ridge Rd., locals), Pete suggested I check and see if they sold cool knobs or replacement spindles, and that they did.

I actually brought the whole knob with me to the store. They were nicely able to fit me with a new spindle that they thought fix the issue and allow me to keep my cute “vintage” knob for just $1.99, but they were also kind enough to point out that some of the threads inside one of the knobs itself was stripped, so it might not be a long-lasting cure. Depending on the thickness of the door, the spindle can be screwed deeply or shallowly into each knob, but it needs to be able to certainly grip to some of the threads on either knob to be able to work, and if some of the shallow threads were compromised, I’d need to have the spindle spun really deep into that damaged knob.

The replacement itself was a standard steel spindle measuring 3.5″ in length and just 9/32 in diameter. Like most standard varieties, it has 20 threads per inch, and that’s what my doorknob called for.

Plan #1: Replace the old spindle with a shiny new, unstripped spindle and use the same "vintage" knobs.

The problem they suggested, that if I couldn’t screw the spindle deep within one of the knobs while still allowing enough spindle to stick through the mortise lock so I could screw on the other knob, was accurate. Are you following me? Feel free to ask Q’s. This is where I thought seriously about using Gorilla Glue and calling it a day. What, that’d probably work better than nothing, right?

I kept the $1.99 spindle. May has well have it on hand for a future doorknob project, I did pay for it with loose change in my wallet and it hardly feels worth returning it for that. Onward.

Part 2: The spindle itself wasn’t the fix, so it was time to choose a brand new un-stripped doorknob to play the part.

Did you know that my “vintage” knob was totally not vintage? Dude, they sell these things everywhere, and they only cost $8. <slaps hand on head> They come with a new spindle and everything. It’s a reproduction. And a really mass manufactured reproduction at that. If you’re looking for something historic and authentic, you won’t find it at The Home Depot which is where I found this one:

New mass manufactured glass knob reproduction.

I wasn’t so much concerned with the finish of the knob trim when I picked out the shiny gold; the old one itself shown in the earlier photos of this post had been shiny gold, but was so worn down that it was no longer startling the way the shiny gold in the right forum can sometimes be.

There was a fix for that, and it involved wrapping the exposed glass in blue tape and bringing some leftover spray paint into play.

Prepping the new knobs for a little "aging".

The leftover paint from my recent patio furniture overhaul really fit the bill. Oil-rubbed bronze, it had a nice shimmer to it, and it masked the shiny gold after three very light spray downs in the backyard.

Knob spray down with some Oil-rubbed Bronze Rustoleum Spraypaint.

Dried (overnight), it was install time.

The trick to installing a door knob in a mortise lockset is to attach the spindle securely to one of the knobs first. Be sure to loosen the set screws in the neck of each knob (just unscrew a little bit so they aren’t obstructing the path of the spindle… it won’t need to be all the way removed); these screws help to anchor the knob to the spindle itself.

Remember to loosen the set screw before you attach the spindle to the knob.

With the knob and spindle securely together, you just have to feed it through the lockset and screw the other knob to the exposed end of the spindle. How much is exposed will depend on how deeply you’ve threaded the first knob. Once you screw it on, you’ll find that it’s pretty secure but don’t forget to tighten down the other set screw too to keep your new set from stripping. This whole install, if you’re not spray painting, should take you all of 3 minutes.

Thread the second knob onto the exposed spindle tip.

Remember to tighten the second screw set before you use the knob.

The oil-rubbed bronze finish looks really nice with the existing (maybe vintage) plate, and should any of the spray paint wear off over time, it’ll probably end up looking just like the one I replaced.

And then step back and thank your lucky stars that the knob won't be falling off in your hand tomorrow morning.

Anyone else have an adventurous knob (or sob) story this week?

DIY Network: Getting Cushy

June 14, 2012   //  Posted in: Deck, Decor, DIY, DIY Network Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

Outdoor furniture just happens to be one of those things I have a hard time investing in fully. It’s only useful about 5 months of the year up here in NY, it’s expensive, and a lot of it really isn’t my style. I weighed the pros and cons of purchasing a set of outdoor chair cushions for the deck furniture that I recently painted, and here’s the thing:

  • $$$ (for ones that I really liked)
  • The affordable options were often on back order or low in stock, which limited my options since I definitely needed a set of 4
  • The colors were often wrong. Or the patterns would have competed with the design that flows in the yellow umbrella.

So, like any crafty person would do, I tried to make my own. You can see more about the rationale, materials, and the end result in today’s post on DIY Network.

Sneak peek of the outdoor pillows!

An Overachiever In Her Glass

June 13, 2012   //  Posted in: Beach, Decor   //  By: Emily   //  8 responses
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Goal settin’ keeps me going, and I was happy to announce that I topped off the big container of beach glass with this instagram picture (find me! Search merrypad! I’ll follow you back!):

Getting our instaglass on.

What’s next?

Well, as many of you have questioned: What is it exactly that you’re doing with all this beach glass? The honest answer is, “I have no idea… yet”.

For now, I’m fulfilling a simple goal that I set when I bought the house three years ago, the goal to collect as much beach glass as possible while I live in such great proximity to the beach. I like it for a few reasons:

  • Its state and form is unique; no two pieces are alike
  • It’s colorful (dozens of colors collected on our beach alone, not just shamrock green, browns, and white that are most common among US and Canadian beer distributors)
  • Its transparency makes for great window decor. I like it best in a window where the sunlight shines through it. It’s like stained glass, but more randomized and earthy.

In the interest of keeping the collection growin’, I upgraded most of the glass collection to this big wine jug (not mine, found curbside outside a restaurant).

Freebie wine jug, found curbside. Is that too gross?

With the label removed and the bottle thoroughly cleaned (I can’t emphasize how much time I spent cleaning the smell of wine from the bottle), it was ready to be filled with beachy treasures.

Cleaning the wine jug, whistle while you work feverishly.

From the original window sill glass container, I transferred any pieces that would fit through the opening in the jug straight in. It’s a 1″ opening, which meant that most of the collection had a new home.

Beach glass in a pretty wine jug.

What I’m going to do with this ginormous and quickly growing collection of tiny beach glass, I’m not sure. Maybe make a whole entryway floor out of it someday like I did with the beach shale in this house. Ooh, or the floor of a shower. Or a tabletop! There’s no hurry, I’m only killing time collecting the stuff while we can now. Did you know man-made beach glass sells for $7.99/pound at the craft store? It’s not as pretty either. Please people, let me mail you some.

How many small pieces (<1″) do we have as of today? And how does the jug look sized next to a lemon?

Lots of beach glass. Jug sized compared to the average lemon.

It’ll be filled this summer easily. Better start looking for a bigger container.

The large pieces were better displayed in the tall narrow container; because it measures 8″x12″x3″deep, it’s scaled nicely for the windowsill, at least more so than a huge jug. And because it’s really narrow and now holding lots of larger pieces of beach glass, the sunlight diffuses through much differently. The colors are intense. Obviously, we need to find some more big pieces. They’re a bit harder to come by, but we can usually find 1-2 nice pieces each time we venture out for a beach walk.

New goal: fill ‘er up.

Collecting large pieces of beach glass.

Side note: Those teal bottles beside the glass container weren’t from the beach. Just an etsy purchase from olivedesignshop. But wouldn’t it be great to find a totally-weathered bottle whole on the beach?

To get a comprensive view, here’s the whole collection:

Pretty beach glass collection. And growing.

How does your garden beach glass collection grow?