Monday, January 14, 2013

My Fascination with Hand Wheels

I like a good hand wheel.  What can I say?  It’s kind of like my thing for boxes, but that’s a whole other thread.  Not really sure where it comes from, but when I see an old hand wheel or valve shut-off, my imagination runs wild with the creative possibilities.

Mostly for style, but partly for vindication against all those who ridiculed me over the years for acquiring so many hand wheels, I have decided to incorporate them in a very prominent way throughout the space.  The most obvious installations of course being to control water.  Thought I would share a couple of examples here.  But keep in mind, we are not limited to flow control, for my fascination with hand wheels knows no bounds…

The big wheel controls the hot water, while the small controls the cold.
(the shiny part in the middle will go away once I fix the patinas)
The story behind these gets pretty complex, but let’s just concentrate on the valve and aesthetics part for now.  I wanted a more industrial feel to the hot/cold water control for the Jacuzzi I am installing (skip over the fact that it is in the middle of the bedroom, that too is a whole other thread).  Took a bit of engineering, but I ended up marrying these two hand wheels I got from an abandoned factory up north to modern gate valves used to fill the Jacuzzi.

Picked the hand wheels (out of my extensive and vast collection : )

Figuring out relative placement
Started a small (but contained) fire in the studio
Fabricated these cool mounts for the gate valves.
Figured out how to link the hand wheels to the valves.

Built this cool cover...

Set everything in place until the brick was finished.
But it doesn't stop there.  I have these three hand wheels from a decommissioned power plant in Connecticut that would be perfect to use in the showers for the three other bedrooms.  Trick is to marry them to a modern valve control with temperature/flow control and anti-scalding, kind of a requisite for any modern shower.

A little prototyping and fabrication later...

One finished shower valve.
Based on the prototype, I will fabricate all three and finally install them in the wall.

They will eventually end up here, once the showers are completed.

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