Can antique (1940s) sink faucets be fixed??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by crcurrie, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. crcurrie

    crcurrie New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maryland
    I'm in a bit of a bind. Bought a 1940s (American) Standard console sink at a salvage yard to renovate a bathroom needed for a room rental in our house (to earn income since I've been unemployed). Obviously, couldn't afford to spend much.

    Unfortunately, the sink leaked (no surprise, right?). I didn't think it would be a big deal to repair, but the plumber I hired to do the work had the hardest time finding a drain gasket, and when he finally fixed it, a second leak opened up in back of the sink where the water line entered the spout. (See photos.)

    He says it's almost impossible to fix these old sinks and he's not going to do any more disassembly, since he claims it will only cause more problems. He says I should send it away to an antique sink restoration company.

    I can't afford to do that. Is this such a difficult repair, or is my plumber just not comfortable with old plumbing fixtures? The guy at the salvage yard said that a plumber who's used to working with old sinks would be able to make any necessary repairs.

    I have a tenant scheduled to move in next week. Can't afford to buy a new sink. Any suggestions of what to do?? Are these gaskets impossible to find, and how would I go about finding a local plumber who can do this work? (I'm near Washington, D.C.) consolesink-faucetplumbing.jpg consolesink-faucet.jpg
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,273
    Location:
    New England
    Still not clear where it is leaking. If it is the valves, then the stems may need to be replaced, and possibly the valve seat (if it is removeable). No idea if those parts are available. If you're lucky, it could just need new washers and maybe repacking the stem.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I think it is pre-WWII , not sure. In any event, it looks like it is fixable. You will need to find out how the water line seals to the spout. You might have to remove the faucet completely, by removing the handles and trim, and probably a nut under each holds the whole thing on. Once you get it off , it should be apparent what seals the spout, and you can probably buy or make the necessary gasket. If the leak is caused by corroded or deteriorated brass parts, that will be a different story.

    You may have a hard time finding a drain pop up. Worst case, just convert to a PO plug or a grid drain.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    There is probably a spud where the faucet connects to the spout...

    Sorry to see you going this route... Restoring ancient fixtures can get expensive and usually there was a good reason why they were torn out and sent to a salvage place... New York Replacement Parts Corp. and Alfano Plumbing Parts are 2 places you might get parts. NYRP corp will make parts in their machine shop for a price....

    Personally Big Blue Box will sell a vanity and sink combo for $59 and a cheapo Price Pfister faucet for $19 is it really worth playing with this thing if you are just trying to get rent ready with limited financial resources?

    Most people hate those stubby lil spouts anyway...
  5. crcurrie

    crcurrie New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks for the advice, folks.

    Yes, the sink is stamped with a date in 1940 -- so barely before U.S. entry into the War.

    I have the drain stop; it was pulled out by the plumber while he was working on it.

    Interestingly, the one problem I expected to find -- drippy faucets -- I did not have. The faucets turn off cleanly with nary a drip.

    I guess it's a crap shoot as to whether it's fixable if I can get someone to take the faucet apart. I'd be willing to take that gamble, if I could find a plumber willing to do it ...
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You are giving us conflicting messages.....we understand the economy and budgets and all that. Then in the next sentence you talk about a PLUMBER. Unless you have found Mother Teresa with a tool belt, you have already paid some buckos, and are thinking about shelling out more, couple of hours at ? $75 per hour ? just to see if he can fix it.

    It is a nice sink, but if you are not inclined to be your own mechanic on this, there is a less expensive way to go.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There is an "compression" seal where the pipe enters the sink. It is compressed and expanded by tightening the "silver" nut at the sink. IF it does not seal by additional tightening, then the faucet has to be removed and a new rubber seal installed on it. Finding such a seal may, or may not, be difficult depending on its dimensions. I.d., o.d., and length will ALL be critical dimensions.
  8. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    You can pick up a wall hung lav and faucet for about $ 150.00 why screw with that old crap?
  9. ilya

    ilya In the Trades

    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Akron Ohio
    Those older items are often classics in their own right and can be rebuilt. To me, and this is just me, they're just as reminiscent of an era as classic cars or architectural design elements. I realize that's not why you purchased it. I've had decent success making the seals, and with fortifying the old ones w/ silicone-but you MUST let it cure for several days before turning on the pressure. That integral spout is a rarity. If you give up on it you may get a few bucks for it on Craigs list.
  10. crcurrie

    crcurrie New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maryland
    What material are the seals made of? This is something I found on the HD Web site:

    DANCO Rubber Packing Sheet 6 In. x 6 In. (1/16" thick)

    Described as "the right packing or gasket material for any job."

    I'm cognizant of HJ's admonition at the dimensions have to be exactly right.

    The right plumber would know all this but others have pointed out the cost. I'm sort of hoping that if I can provide everything on a platter to my current (very cheap) plumber, he might agree to give it a shot ...
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Sheet rubber is not the proper material. You need a tubular rubber sleeve which fits over the pipe and then "bulges" out when it is tightened to press against the inside of the hole in the sink.
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It would be something similar to this in design...

    [​IMG]
  13. crcurrie

    crcurrie New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maryland
    Thanks -- that helps me know what it looks like. Does anyone have a product name or product spec?

    I'm **very** appreciative of all these replies. This is keeping me up at night, but maybe we're getting close to a workable solution that even a novice plumber like my contractor can implement ...
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    No in your case the repair parts probably ceased to exist half a century ago...

    As is the case with many old fixtures you are winging it....
    Even if you threw a bundle of money at it for a full on restoration it's only one unavailable part away from the scrap bin...
  15. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    588
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    You will have to ad lib the spud washer, but there is very little pressure on it. You might find a cone washer that will work, but is really a matter of taking it apart and fiddling with it. That is why it wouldn't make sense to have a plumber play with it. If you have the time and a some mechanical sense (aided, perhaps, with a dash of silicone) you should be able to solve the spud problem.
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Then a week from now the old washer disintegrates and the faucet won't shut off...

    Then you are searching for a stem.... Gotta find it or, it's the scrap heap...
  17. asktom

    asktom Member

    Messages:
    588
    Location:
    Victor, MT
    Seats and stems are available for the faucet. It is really a matter of how much you like the lav &/or if you have more time than money. If you are having a plumber put it in, change the lav. If it didn't come with the hanger, find that first. If you are willing to take the time to work on it, it should be doable.
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The gasket will be similar to the one on an "expansion freeze plug" for a car engine. But all the dimensions have to be correct, as stated previously.
  19. crcurrie

    crcurrie New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Location:
    Maryland
    How 'bout these work-arounds?

    Okay, it looks like my options, if I want to fix the sink, are becoming clearer.

    I can get the exact inner and outer diameter of the old gasket, and then try to find an "expansion freeze gasket" at an auto supply store with the proper dimensions. Is that right?

    If that isn't feasible (as, for example, if my plumber won't take the faucet apart because he's afraid more things will go wrong with it -- a reasonable concern, in my opinion), then is there a work-around?

    How about these?

    1. Apply epoxy putty around the existing gasket to try to seal it.

    2. Mold some putty around the top of the overflow chamber, which is directly underneath the gasket, to create a catch basin for the leaking water. There is an existing weep hole at the top of the chamber, so the water would just flow down into the overflow chamber and down the drain.

    I don't think I'm competent to replace the gasket, but I might be able to do the work-arounds ...

    Does anyone think one or both tactics might work?
  20. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
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