I recently wrote a post entitled the Dangers of DIY
where I discussed the many chemicals and compounds that are in all of the seemingly harmless paints and finishes that DIY’ers use on a daily basis. If you didn’t see it, please click here and read it. It’s very important that you are aware of the pollutants and potentially hazardous materials that you are breathing in while working on your favorite old piece of furniture or wood trim in your homes!
However, there is another, less apparent danger that is also so important to know about and correct for your family’s safety. In another recent post, I showed off a gorgeous 1950′s Lane hope chest that I had completely restored.
I am really proud of that piece, but what was I not aware of that needed changing? The locking mechanism of the chest was similar to the one that was in the news recently, when two small children climbed into it and tragically suffocated. How could that happen?! The old locks, in the chests built before 1987, had a push-button that was easily engaged so that the top could open up, and then instantly click into place and lock down once the top was lowered. There was no way to unlock it from the inside, and since it is a cedar-lined chest, it was built with a tight seal to keep out the moths and protect your clothing. Clearly, this needed to be changed.
The new locking mechanism was provided by the manufacturer, the Lane Company, free of charge.
and we received the new lock in the mail in less than a week. The simple replacement process took just a few minutes, and you can see a video here by The Furniture Refinishing Studio on the exact procedure. The lock is not that difficult to open (and it does come with a key if you really want to keep it shut tight) but once it is opened, there is no way to lock it down from the inside. The mechanism remains disengaged and the top remains open about 1/2 inch until you re-engage it, which can only be done from the outside of the chest.
So now, there is no way that this tragedy can be repeated. If you have an old hope chest or any other old piece of furniture that you are DIY’ing, check the hardware! Old cupboards and cabinets and cribs and dressers were not built with the same safety procedures we have in place today. It is our responsibility, as we are refurbishing these pieces to use or sell to make sure that we change locks and alter pieces to ensure the safety of our children and pets, too! So, as you are working on your next DIY project, take a step back and make sure that what you are producing is not only beautiful but safe and secure for all to enjoy. Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone! Susan
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