View Full Version : Tough Antique sink question...

12-11-2006, 02:14 PM
I have an antique ceramic sink vintage 1901. My intention is to have it reglazed, however I have been unable to remove the strainer - and so has my plumber. The problem is that the strainer is not exposed from the bottom of the sink - there is a 3 inch gap between where the spud connected to the bottom of the sink and the bottom of ths strainer. And the hole is too small to get a tool in. (On the bottom of the strainer there are 4 prongs that could be used to turn it.) We've discussed cutting it off, but we're afraid to cut the sink and we're also concerned that the strainer will not fit back through the overflow area. I'm having trouble attaching pictures, but will gladly send them if anyone wants to take a look. If anyone has any brilliant ideas, I'd greatly appreciate them. david_talton@hotmail.com


(267) 408-3678

12-11-2006, 03:12 PM
I'm a little confused by the description... but from what I'm getting is that it's possible to cut the strainer and it will all fall out the bottom. The spud thing is blowing my mind a little. If you have a hobby tool or really good drill you can use a grinding wheel that is small enough to go down inside the strainer and cut around it near the bottom of the sink... have extra wheels, plenty of time and lots of patience...and be sure to wear safety goggles. It's the same principle as using an inside pipe cutter.

12-11-2006, 08:43 PM
When I can't unscrew a strainer locknut, I use my dremel with a little cutting wheel to cut it off and it doesn't mess up the sink. My dremel has a flex-shaft attachment, which is good for tight places.

Pictures would help here also.

If you download a free version of this software, you can reduce your picture size to upload it on this website. For Jpegs, you need to get it below 100kb.


12-12-2006, 09:43 AM
I think what is unique abouot this sink is that there is a space between the bottom of the strainer and the spud connection. This is about 3 inches of open space that is in the middle of the overflow drain. I think there are two options - one is to find a tool that will screw off the bottom of the strainer. If this is done the bottom of the strainer can be extracted through the overflow. If it is cut out I am concerned that the piece left to pull out will be too thick to be pulled out of the overflow. (It would be a cylindrical piece about 1.5 inches high.) I hope these photos help!

(267) 408-3678

I will send a couple more pictures in a subsequent email.

12-12-2006, 09:47 AM
These are looking up through the hole where the spud connects.
There is a couple inch open gap above the spud connection below the strainer. So any tool would need to get up through the spud connection hole to reach the strainer. This hole is only about 1.5 in in diameter, or slightly larger, so it I'm not certain what tool could fit. None that my plumber had.
I'm wondering if the sink was manufactured with a special tool for assembly (1901).

(267) 408-3678

12-12-2006, 01:58 PM
Make yourself a tool from pipe...
1-1/2" copper scrap should do - or steel even... (any strong metal pipe that would fit into the hole in the bottom and go around the nut's 'throat') - if the pipe will not fit but is close, solder a coupling onto the end and make the tool out of that - be creative in the making of the tool - you might be able to re-use it to install the new drain...
Notch it as in the attached picture and then loosen the nut using a wrench or channel lock pliers on the pipe...
If you want to get fancy, on the other end of the pipe, solder a "T" and put some pipe in it for a handle...
Note: I have also had luck using some needle nosed pliers to do similar things by using the tips on the teeth of the nut and the handles as a wrench of sorts...Open them in an "X" shape, place the tips on the nut ears and twist the handles - I know - not the recommended use of the tool, but it can work well where others won't...

12-14-2006, 01:04 PM
That is a good suggestion. The only problem is that the opening at the bottom of the sink where the spud connects is only slightly larger than 1.5 in.
and the inside diameter of the sink strainer is 1.5 in, so the nut on the bottom with the 4 prongs is closer to 1.75 in. (This is hard to see in the picture I sent.) This presents two problems - the tool that you suggest isn't wide enough to reach the prongs on the strainer - and once I get the nut off the strainer the only way to remove it is through the overflow (which I think is doable). So I almost need to come up with some tool that is flexible to get in through the bottom, or something that can be assembled inside the overflow.

The other options is to cut it out - e.g. with a Dremel. My plumber says he will go through 50 blades cutting this out and that there is a possibility he will damage the sink - so I told him to hold off.

Any more ideas?

(267) 408-3678

Phil H2
12-14-2006, 02:01 PM
Did your plumber try using a large basin wrench?

12-15-2006, 09:50 AM
THe basin wrench my plumber tried would not fit through the 1.5 in opening where the spud connects. I looked similar to the one in the picture.


master plumber mark
12-23-2006, 05:44 AM
that looks like big trouble how ever you approach it....

some sort of antique spud,, something like the present

day urinal spud ......

if you can find a replacement for that spud,

that would be a miracle....you will never find the part

I would leave it alone and simply paint it white....

take that apart and you might as well throw away the sink.

12-23-2006, 07:12 AM
The problem is that we are only seeing parts of the system. We cannot see the big picture of the whole thing, which would require that we be there. In one picture it looks like a closet/urinal spud and in others it looks like a clamped connection.

master plumber mark
12-23-2006, 12:44 PM
HJ....you are absolutely correct it could be
just about anything.....

the one thing that I know for sure ....its probably
older than you and me put together....

I wont touch it with a ten foot pole

Bob NH
12-23-2006, 04:38 PM
I would make up a steel bar with notches for two of the ears. The bar would have a hex bolt head or nut or a 1/2" drive socket welded onto it. The bar would fit endways into the hole, and then tip to engage two of the ears.

Then I would put a 1/2" drive impact wrench on the hex bolt head or nut.

You can't stack up a lot of pieces with an impact wrench without losing effect. Keep it as short as possible with as few pieces as possible.

If you are lucky, you will be able turn it with a power bar. If not, you can use the impact wrench. Impact usually loosens up things that would break if you tried to turn them with torque alone.

A good soaking with Liquid Wrench while you are making the tool would be a good idea. Maybe some heat if you can get it in there.

There is probably value in saving the metal parts because they will be hard to replace.

master plumber mark
12-23-2006, 08:30 PM
the odds are when you try to get this antique apart

it wil lmost likely disentegrate , break apart at the

threads,,, something like that is bound to happen.......

maybe you want ot heat it with a blow torch and
try to burn out the spud and just replace the spud

its is your risk..

12-28-2006, 12:21 PM
Thanks for your additional ideas on this. I have been away for the holidays so haven't done much additional work or thinking on this.

Bob NH - The idea of making a steel bar to try to turn it sounds like a good possibility. I would need to find someone to do it. Then there's the whole question of if I do get it loose whether I will need to replace it or what.

Regarding the spud - the spud connection at the bottom of the sink is entirely separated from the strainer. It is about 3 inches below it. (the space between the strainer and the spud is open and is where the overflow drains. So the only real function of the strainer is to hold a disk to keep hair and stuff from going down the sink.) I don't know much about spuds, but from what I know it is a standard spud and will just need to be reconnected when I finish renovating the sink.

To the best of my knowledge the sink is the same vintage as the house: 1901.
Lastly - there was an idea of cutting the strainer out with a Dremel. My plumber said it would take him '50 bits' - but I wonder if it were a diamond bit if it might go faster. Of course if it gets cut out then i definitely need to get a new strainer. But I don't see this as a big problem since the strainer wouldn't need to actually connect to the spud, just something to keep large things from getting down the drain.

I'm taking this slow because I don't want to take the wrong step. But I certainly appreciate everyone's ideas and comments! Happy New Year!


12-28-2006, 01:07 PM
The 1.5 inch diameter hole seems large enought to get a Dremel flex shaft with fiberglass cut off wheel into, to make a single cut in the nut. If too big, "use" it on something else until the wheel does fit.

If not, think of making a two piece tool: a U shaped piece of, say, square steel stock to get through the hole and grab two of the tangs, this piece to be turned by another slotted pipe, rod or maybe even a pair of pliers. The U shape piece's "legs" would, of course, have to be shorter than the distance between the two inside walls. Or, make it more of a segmented V that's narrower at the top than the bottom, and it could stick out the hole. I'd consider cutting up an open end wrench to form the tool. Those with brass gonads might use a Craftsman, and return it for free replacement.

And you should already be soaking it with PB Blaster.

01-09-2007, 02:57 PM
So I don't want it to fall off the list.