animal door knobs

Easter Bunny Door Knobs

This bunny may have chocolate tones but being cast in solid bronze it is definitely not edible. Thinking of Easter bunnies, I followed Alice down the rabbit hole also known as the internet to research the origin of this Easter custom. Dependable Wikipedia sets out how the rabbit or rather the hare has possibly several ties to pagan times and has been associated with Eostre the goddess of dawn whose torches may have been carried by hares. Hares it seems have been celebrated by many from prehistoric times onwards as creatures of spring that herald lighter longer days and fertility to crops and mankind.

Our bunny door knob has more earthly origins and is based on a soft interpretation of this very soft animal. As a nod to the preferred diet he/she sits on a wreath of swirling vegetation all of which is cast in solid bronze and typically finished in a light antique brushed and oil rubbed patina. The bunny shape was designed so that all the legs and ears are tight to the body thereby making a round and compact door knob that fits easily in the palm of one’s hand. The bunny design is one of 4 nature inspired door knobs that collectively make-up our Netsuke collection, a collection whose namesake is the compact toggles used to fasten clothing. The Netsuke collection is interchangeable so a rabbit and frog or lizard or bee can happily co-exist on the same door, one on each side of the door. The netsukes can also be mounted on different back-plates to create a truly eclectic interior.

Painted Lady Butterflies and Their Influence on Door Hardware Designs

Painted Lady Butterflies and their influence on Hardware Designs

Like so many in Los Angeles we have been stunned and are “gob-smacked” at the multitude of Painted Lady Butterflies that we have seen this week. These small pretty insects are everywhere but only once has my iphone been to hand to snap a couple of shots.

While the monarch butterfly is sadly in rapid decline, for this year at least, the Painted Lady population is booming with billions passing through on their way north from the Mojave Desert. The exceptional rains that have put a temporary hold on California’s drought have given rise to an abundance of nectar as food for these migrating beauties. The short life cycle of a butterfly consists of 4 stages from egg, to caterpillar to pupae and then to butterfly and for the Painted Ladies lasts about 4 to 5 weeks.

I was surprised to discover that these small beauties can travel at speeds of 25 miles an hour and cover as much as 100 miles per day but this explains how they are able to make their trek from the Mojave to Northern California in their short lives.

We have been inspired by butterflies as well as bees, wasps and moths in our collection of insect cabinet pulls. We also have incorporated a butterfly as the thumb-latch for our entry way lizard handle set.

The Painted Lady captured here drinking from Clematis demonstrates this butterflies preference for purple clustered flowers, a fact observed by Katelyn Boisvert in her paper presented at the Young Naturalist Awards.

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Mixing it up with Bee Door Knobs and their Lizard Friends

The nature inspired Netsuke door handle collection was not conceived as an interchangeable series, but thankfully creative interior designers have conjured up imaginative ways to use these as combination door handle sets. Case in point is a recent project where the bee door knob was paired with the lizard door knob to create a whimsical statement. The sets were specified in polished bronze to create a stunning jewel like set for a custom makeover of the master bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom privacy set used a simple push-pin latch on the honey comb side with a discreet emergency release on the bark rose side of the door (exterior).

Our door handle knob sets are connected with a square 8mm spindle that is attached to each knob with a set screw or Allen screw. As we use the same type of spindle for all our door knobs most of the knobs are interchangeable. Since other door hardware manufactures use different spindles and methods of attachment our knobs may not be suited as half sets with knobs supplied by others.

The Netsuke collection comprises 4 interchangeable animal knobs including a rabbit, frog, bee and lizard making them popular choices for children’s bedrooms. While whimsical in nature, these animal knobs are finely detailed and cast in solid bronze with each knob using a lb. of molten bronze.

As a transitional set that bridges the classical with whimsical you may want to consider the Hedgerow and Willow knob on the more public exterior side of your door with a Netsuke knob on the more private interior side.

Gecko Cabinet Pulls

We have just completed an order for Gecko cabinet pulls in interesting and contrasting finishes.

Geckos FB.jpg

The bright gecko is an example of brushed natural bronze, a finish created by buffing the gecko on a buffing wheel. The dark gecko is also buffed but to a lower luster and then dipped in a solution of M20 to create an overall black appearance.

The gecko is one of 2 lizard cabinet knobs and forms part of a compete series of lizard door hardware that includes entry door sets and interior door handles.

These 2 pieces serve as a good visual approximation for the industry finishes US4 (satin bronze) and US10B (dark satin bronze) which is described below.

Patina by Conversion Coating

Using M20 by Birchwood Technologies we make a solution using 1-part M20 and 1-part distilled water mixed in a non-reactive dipping vessel. The piece is immersed for 30 to 60 seconds and then neutralized by immersion into another vessel of distilled water.  If upon inspection we see that certain areas have not reacted to the solution and are still bright we re-clean those areas and dip again.

Highlighting

The chemical conversion creates a uniform patina so to accentuate the gecko’s markings we gently burnish selected areas by hand with a fine nylon abrasive pad and thereby re-expose the golden tones of the bronze casting.

Sealing

To seal the bronze, we use a soft cloth to apply 2 coats of oil and once dry finish with hard wax. There are many products to choose from we have found Sculpt Nouveau’s metal oil and black wax easy to work with.