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View Full Version : O.T. polishing old claw foot tub



RichardG
10-12-2015, 04:17 PM
Has anyone had any luck polishing an old claw foot tub? I can have it refinished but the finish does not hold up very well. Is it possible to polish one if it does not have any chips? Though I would ask here lots of people with much brain power/smarts. Also has anyone rebuilt/remachined old faucets?
Richard

ironmonger
10-12-2015, 05:03 PM
I have no personal experience with refinishing old tubs, but I can tell you that the enamel is not that thick, and it is tough as all get out. Might be possible to polish it, but I would lean toward professionally applied epoxy or urethane finish. I would be interested as well in other folks experience with this. I would certainly ask for references...

The subject of the faucet is a little different (42 years as a commercial/industrial plumber) has led me to believe that the first problem is identifying the actual manufacturer, and then finding spares to rebuild it. If you are lucky enough to have a Chicago Faucet, no problem. I have fixed 100 year Chicago Faucet's and parts are no problem.

We used to use these guys as a source for hard to find parts:

http://www.hodesco.com/default.aspx?Page=New%20Customer nationally, and have used these folks locally:

http://pppmilwaukee.com/

I havenít spoken to the folks at Hodes for years, but they used to be helpful on the phone. The folks at Plumbing Parts Plus give good phone... and it appears that they might be a small national chain.

Good luck

alanganes
10-12-2015, 05:07 PM
Can't say I've ever tried that, but my understanding is that the shiny polished look is from the glazed enamel outer layer of the porcelain finish. Once that wears through, I don't think it is recoverable. But I suppose if it's already not looking so good you could try some small spot.

I'll be curious to hear what other input you get.

As for old faucets, while I have not worked on any in years, I was always amazed that most any replacement parts seem to be available for some really ancient and obscure fixtures.

J Tiers
10-12-2015, 05:58 PM
I got parts made for an old faucet before I had a suitable shop. It was done somewhere in Tennessee, IIRC, and the local shop sent it out so I am not certain of the place.

However, it may not matter, your old faucet may be illegal.

Around here, no plumber will work on old faucets, because they have to be replaced by new ones having anti-scalding features. The old ones are only grandfathered until the house is sold, then they have to be replaced to get an occupancy permit.

Essentially, they have to be single handle with anti-scald. This naturally poses a problem for those in old houses with original tile or Vitrolite, since the plumbers will typically smash a new hole to put in the faucet and leave you to do whatever with the existing holes. Vitrolite you can get, but old tile is nearly impossible.

Check your area for such laws before investing time or money in faucets you will be forced to throw away.

ironmonger
10-12-2015, 06:13 PM
<<snip>>

However, it may not matter, your old faucet may be illegal.

Around here, no plumber will work on old faucets, because they have to be replaced by new ones having anti-scalding features. The old ones are only grandfathered until the house is sold, then they have to be replaced to get an occupancy permit.

Essentially, they have to be single handle with anti-scald. <<snip>>

Check your area for such laws before investing time or money in faucets you will be forced to throw away.

All you need to do is install a temperature regulator on the hot side, thus limiting the maximum temp. There are some that can be installed in the piping above the floor under the tub rim, and if you are remodelling, it can be located in the basement completely out of sight.

A call, non confrontational of course, to the local plumbing inspector will likely give you more insight here.

In the case of plumbing inspector it is not best to seek forgiveness rather than as permission. This would be demonstrated by the sign that I saw over the local plumber inspectors desk.

"Arguing with an inspector is like wrestling with a pig in the mud...
sooner of later you come to understand that the pig enjoys it."

J Tiers
10-12-2015, 09:03 PM
All you need to do is install a temperature regulator on the hot side, thus limiting the maximum temp. There are some that can be installed in the piping above the floor under the tub rim, and if you are remodelling, it can be located in the basement completely out of sight.


Except when they come in, see it, say it has to go, and are not listening...... it has two faucets, it HAS. TO. GO.

As you point out, they are ALWAYS right, even when they are wrong. Local inspector demands hot cannot be up to the max allowed, it must be held to 120F, and has flunked 122F, demanding it be adjusted.

ironmonger
10-12-2015, 10:41 PM
JT, Does Missouri even have a state plumbing code? Your loss if that in yours, but that is not the code here or I suspect many other areas.

As I said, you gotta ask.

Since Richard lives in Washington, it is entirely possible that the strange requirements of your inspector do not apply to him. There is no federal law that regulates plumbing code.

J Tiers
10-12-2015, 11:05 PM
It's local code.

Point being that craziness is everywhere, so he might want to be sure he can install the thing, or fix it.

RichardG
10-13-2015, 12:43 AM
Thanks for all the replies will try a spot and see what happens , the faucets are really old and need some serious restoration work but are very pretty and unusally intricate was hoping to bring them back . We don' have the anti scald thing here yet most of the houses here have the hot water tank set pretty low to save energy. ( we pay about three times more for power here than the rest of the country)
Richard

aribert
10-13-2015, 12:57 PM
I have removed (polished out) rust staining in a tub - from rust in the water. I used various grits of rubbing / polishing compounds that I had left over from polishing out car paint. THe application method was an electric die grinder. A right angle die grinder would have been ideal but I only have those as pneumatics. If I were to do this today I would look at using one of my 4.5 inch grinders with a lambs wool polishing pad. The end result was an enamel surface with a very low sheen. I was not trying to polish the tub for gloss - just to greatly reduce the stain blemish.

On an old cast iron tub that I smashed up to remove from a house, the enamel thickness seemed to range from 1/32+ to 1/16+ in. thick - after carrying out the cast iron pcs, I had lost of enamel debris to sweep up.