Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DESIGN IDEA: Vintage Soapstone Sinks? Cheap and abundant, but workable?

(Note to reader - all photos are from elsewhere on the web)

We haven't chosen a kitchen sink yet, but the time is nigh (does that mean what I think it means?).  Anyway, we have been talking about getting a farmhouse sink, whatever that means.  The term "farmhouse sink" seems to cover anything from a brand new apron front firestone sink to a great big cast iron slop sink with washboards on either side to the monstrously heavy "soapstone" sinks that used to be popular in basement laundry rooms to any big old dirty tub anybody on CL is hoping to get out of their basement.  

The new firestone sinks aren't going anywhere anytime soon and they cost a little bundle, so we can talk about those some other later if nothing else works out.  And the big cast iron ones are just so gosh darn wide (since this is about things "country" I'm taking "gosh darn" out for a test drive) with the big washboards on either side - so they just wouldn't work against a curved wall - plus they are usually missing a big ring of enamel around the drain hole and have a dark circle of exposed iron which is no fun at all.  

And then there are these massive old soapstone sinks.  A lot of them seem to come from Alberene, a company that is still in business ("The Alberene Soapstone Company was founded in 1888 after large deposits of soapstone were discovered in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains." and so on (  They came in single basin and double basin and had a brass or bronze medallion on the front and looked pretty much like some variation on this...

And they sometimes sat on heavy cast iron legs (but good luck finding a pair of these. I have visions of them electroplated gold - oooooh!!)

And there are a lot of them out there for sale for anywhere from $75 to $500 - but plenty turn up on CL in the affordable range. 

They are big and heavy and invariably filthy, but since they are made of soapstone which is not porous, so it seems they can be cleaned up!

Apparently, if you sand these sinks down and then rub in some mineral oil, they clean up pretty nice.

These two following are pretty much the most realistic inspiration photos since they are the most common model of old Alberene double basin sinks.


And here are some more examples:

And since they lend themselves to wall mounted faucets, you can do fun stuff like this:

What do we think?
Some Links:
Here is a guy who did it himself:

And here is another great link:

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