Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Replacement Insert for Midcentury Crane Faucet Handle

Crane sinks ruled the well appointed Midcentury bathroom.

We have a lovely, white “Westland” Crane sink in our master bath.  The chrome around the mouth of the faucet is beginning to flake and at some point I will likely swap out the whole sink with a pink “Diana” that I found in Illinois, but until it’s time for a proper bathroom overhaul (lighting, cabinets, re-grout, and new flooring with radiant heat), the sink will remain.


In the meantime I have swapped the lever handles with the dome handles (Crane referred to these dome handles as “Temple Handles”) from the Crane sink in the basement (either a “Neuday” or “Oxford”).  Turns out, the lever handles were actually originally on the Neuday (not the Westland, which came with the Temple handles).  I believe someone did a previous swap of the handles on the two sinks because the levers were much easier to use then the dome handles for the presumably arthritic hands of the previous owner.

All of these post-war to early 60’s sinks use the Crane “Dial Ese” system with a star tipped stem that inserts up into the handle (I actually have a couple more of these sinks, including the “Drexel,” “Diana,” and “Criterion” that I’ve been saving for whatever project might come up).

In our faucet, the inserts in the handles that allow them to grip the cartridge stem are made of wood (and cheap pressboard at that).  I’m not sure if that’s a handy-man’s fix-it, or if that’s just how they originally came, but it creates a nasty little ring of goo at the base of the faucet (the pressboard wood basically melts when it gets wet), and finally (thankfully), the wood has stripped and failed, and I can put off replacing the inserts no longer.

[UPDATE] The little wooden/pressboard inserts are original to the faucet (not a Jury Rig).  When examining carefully, you can see the word “top” imprinted on the insert.

Crane Handle Insert (this is what you need)Luckily there is a nylon/plastic replacement part available, though it was a little tricky to find places selling them at first, and shipping is ridiculous.  It seems like every place that sells them charges at LEAST $10 for shipping.  Bear in mind, this is an item made of plastic (lightweight) that is smaller than a penny.  Ever heard of a stamp and a FREAKING ENVELOPE PEOPLE?! That would be $.44 to ship instead of $10 or more.

412D3F8SK4L._SX385_Since originally I was looking at around $20 shipped just for the little plastic insert, when I finally found the entire kit shown here for $6.99 on Amazon, I just went ahead and ordered the whole thing, so I have the other parts if I ever need them.


Evidently Ace Hardware used to make a specific Crane Faucet Repair Kit that you can still find around (here’s one on Amazon), but the kit they carry now does not include the square nylon inserts (the most important part!).



What Ace used to carry.

What they now carry.


FWIW, here are a couple of the places I found before finding the much cheaper solution on Amazon:

DEA Bath

While DEA is extremely knowledgeable with the MCM Crane stuff and even sells whole sinks in addition to the handles and repair parts, this just might be the worst designed website I’ve seen since I sat next to that weird kid wearing the Iron Maiden shirt in HTML class in college. Just sayin’. Also, a major pet peeve of mine is providing images with links that say “click to enlarge” which only spawn a pop up window with the EXACT SAME SIZE PHOTO.

Chicago Faucet Shoppe

The exorbitant shipping plus their use of the term “shoppe” prevented me from ordering from here.

Faucet Fix

I couldn’t complete my transaction because when I clicked “add to cart” Pay Pal told me that the seller was not able to accept payments!  I’m only providing this information and website to illustrate what one must go through when trying to find repair parts for MCM stuff.