How to build a Tub-Foot umbrella stand

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The interiors of claw-foot tubs were covered in porcelain. However, the feet and outsides were often bare metal. This meant that they would occasionally need a new coat of paint. On a recent shopping trip to Zaborski Emporium in Kingston, New York, I was also interested in silvery feet. To make the umbrella stand, I needed three matching feet that could be mounted on the base of a galvanized tin flower bucket. I applied a few coats of clear polyurethane to the feet to preserve their painted patina and prevent lead poisoning.

Step 1

They are small and orphaned, and often quite dirty. Iron bathtub feet are still a popular attraction at salvage yards. With their intricate castings, lion paws are adorned with drawn claws and gripping balls.

The feet that you see today are typically from the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were used to raise the tub basins in a round shape to give them a furniture-like appearance.

It will be difficult to find a set of four feet that matches, but you can get pairs or even three. Each foot will cost between $10- $25. The 1890s, the peak of the Victorian era when Americans were looking for embellishment, saw the most elaborate designs. These ball-and claw feet were adorned with vines, flowers, shells and shells. They wrapped the tub base like shields with wide “ankles”. They were large, measuring approximately 5 by 7 inches in width and 5 to 5 pounds in weight. When claw-foot tubs became less popular in the 1930s, the feet of these tubs were small, unadorned balls that were supported by flat ankles.

You may not be able to find the exact replacement for the damaged or missing foot in your tub. Each tub manufacturer has its own method of attaching the feet. Usually, this is done via a bracket that extends from the back. It is much easier and more fun to incorporate orphaned feet in a creative reuse project like this umbrella stand with round base.

Step 2

Trace the Bucket’s Bottom

The bucket’s diameter should be measured. Use a ruler and a compass to trace a circle that is 1 to 2 inches larger than the bucket’s bottom.

Step 3

Reduce the Mounting Disk

You will trace the circle onto a piece 3/4-inch plywood. Then, use a jigsaw or a saw to cut the disk. This will attach to the bucket’s bottom and serve as a stable surface for mounting the feet.

Step 4

Get the tub feet out

Attach the feet to a worktable or vise (as shown), then drill holes through the brackets made of iron that extend from the feet’ backs. Depending on how they were attached, some may have holes or slots.

Step 5

Arrange the Feet

Place the feet on the wood disc where you want them to be attached. Mark the holes for screws by marking each iron bracket’s outline. Next, place the disk on your worktable and drill all three holes.

Step 6

Drill the Bucket

Place the wooden disk on the bucket’s bottom side and mark the locations where you will drill holes in the steel bottom. Take the disk off the bucket’s underside and mark the locations to drill holes in the metal bottom.

Step 7

Bolt It

Use duct tape to attach 2-inch bolts through the bucket holes.

To temporarily fix the bolt’s head, Place the bucket upside down and the wood disk on its bottom.

Step 8

Attach the Feet

Add the feet. Use the tracings on a disk to guide you. Take off the duct tape. Attach a nut to each bolt and tighten it with a wrench.

Step 9

Patina the Bucket Top

You can give the bucket a patina that matches the feet by using a wash that is 1 part white paint and 3 parts polyurethane. Use a rag to achieve the desired look. Allow to dry and then place the umbrella stand near the front door.

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