Saturday, March 21, 2015


No one likes waiting. It seems that the more restoration projects I take on the more waiting I do.

Right now I have a 1920s surface mount tub valve on the bench. Actually it is in a sorting box to keep it all in one place and separated from other projects as it is disassembled. It had seats that were milled into the body and were worn out. I had to tap the body for new seats and that is normal enough, it is also normal to have the required seats in stock. These seats though must be 13/16ths"  OD by 27 threads per inch and I am out of that size. Because that is not a seat size anyone makes I must have them made so I am in line with the specialty machinist I use. He is making me twenty of them.
I have two sets of standing waste valves right now as well. Each about 1915 vintage and each in its own sorting box and waiting for parts.
The first has been here for at least 60 days, too long in my opinion but I had to have stems made for it and they are not stems anyone stocks. The original handle mounts were gone and the stems had been filed down to fit handles that were not original to the valves. I had to extrapolate what they would have been and discuss the required specs with the machinist. That took time but eventually the new stems were fabricated and delivered. I had them sent sans plating though because my local plater produces a better result than I can get from the plater the machine shop uses. The difference is the fineness of the polishing, If one wants a mirror bright nickel finish one must have the raw brass polished to mirror bright before it is plated, not after. My plater is an artist and knows exactly what I want. He is also very busy so my new stems are not back yet though they should be soon.

Not much left of this stem's "broach", the faceted top that the handle fits to.

The second set of valves are not being plated but they had to be tapped for new seats. The seat size I need for this set is almost as large as I can tap, 7/8ths" by 27 thread per inch. These really large seats are what one must use for the large standing waste valves that supplied lots of water for the old extra large claw foot and earthenware, (china), tubs. The "reseating" tools I use originally came with a large assortment of  seats to be installed after tapping the brass valve bodies with the tool. These seats were made of bronze, not yellow brass. They were made to last! I am almost out of this size seat though I once had quite a few of them. The good news though is that my machinist is not only making me twenty new seats, he is making them from the new required lead free brass. He tells me that I can expect the new brass to wear very well indeed and be much less corruptible than the old leaded yellow brass. 

You can see the notch in the original "milled in seat".

These valves are also waiting for stems. The original stems arrived at the machine shop two days ago now. They must have them in order to replicate them.

While I have been waiting I have cleaned every surface and thread on these valves. All of the new gaskets are also made and waiting.

Here are the new bright threads my tool creates for the upgrade seat.

Here are a few pictures of my last 7/8ths inch by 27 threads per inch bronze seat. As faucet seats go this thing is huge.


The wrench required to tighten this seat into place is certainly not a normal seat wrench. By using this seat though, with it huge orifice, I compliment the original engineers intent. That was to create a large flow of water that would fill the oversize tub quickly enough to have it not cooling already before it was full. 

The last of the currently waiting projects are a pair of fuller ball taps that were sent to me to be serviced. I had them done and ready for pressure testing the day after they arrived only to find out that the stem nuts were not sent with the rest of the taps. I must have them in order to test my work. They are in the mail, I thought they would be here by now. I'm going to be really busy if all of these parts come at the same time.

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