One of the reasons I set up The Vintage Bath Company was my frustration caused by so many of my customers who thought they had brought an enamel bath but in fact had simply parted with a lot of cash for a poorly made inferior copy or in some cases the bath was not even coated in vitreous enamel but simply painted.
There are no British made cast Iron baths but only sold in the UK giving the impression that they are British these come with a hearty price sometimes as much as £10k but more often around £5k. There are many cheap imports from Eastern Europe or China which have very thin and inferior enamel. Its not for me to name and shame, but ask the question where was this bath actually made?
I was recently asked by a client to restore her “Antique” copper bath and it was awkward having to explain that the bath was probably less than 10 years old. It then transpired that she didn’t really like to bath in copper and in fact longed for an enamelled copper bath. Well this was where my journey began trying to source her a replacement.
The problem I had is that despite googling copper enamel baths I could not understand how you could enamel a copper bath, as copper has a melting point just higher than you need to apply vitreous enamel.
Despite several companies assuring me that their £5000 baths were the real deal after some probing and request for their technical details and been fobbed off with trade secrets etc I quickly discovered a few rats. To be fair most companies admitted that they were not actual vitreous enamel baths but one company who’s name I will not mention for legal reasons blatantly lied to both my client and myself.
After being refused entry into their work shop so I could see for myself how they miraculously applied thick layers of vitreous enamel to what would effectively be a very wobbly copper mould, they did agree to send me a sample of one of their copper baths.
Here is the email I sent which I have surprisingly never received a response back after the sample arrived…..
Thank you for sending over the sample which arrived today.
When we spoke you said a sample of an enamelled copper bath would be sent.
What arrived is not copper but pressed steel on a 3x4 inch block of MDF?
The pressed steel is approximately 1mm thick if not less which seems surprisingly thin? I’ve seen thicker coats of paint!
The enamel approximately 0.1mm thick which again is disappointing as the enamel on a cheap pressed steel bath from a high street bath store is typically 1mm-2mm thick.
So I did some simple test to see how strong and durable your “enamel” is.
- I hit it straight on flat with a hammer… rather impressed barely a dent but to be fair the MDF would have taken a lot of the force. I presume your baths are not backed with MDF?
- I hit it not very hard with the claw of the hammer to simulate a tile for example being dropped on it. Unlike a traditional pressed steel bath a flake came off opposed to a solid chunk which implies to me that its paint? Correct me if I’m wrong.
- Then whilst sat at my desk in frustration I ran my thumb nail across the sample and to my utter surprise (if I could be even more surprised with your product) it leaves a clear indentation. How is this possible with baked on hardened enamel?
Below are photo’s of my findings…Apologies for my dirty nail I have been de rusting some Edwardian bath feet!
I’m very disappointed if not frustrated as you have implied that your enamel coating is to the highest standard which it clearly is not.
Out of curiosity as you had assured me your enamel was not epoxy enamel and simply painted on I took your sample to my work shop and applied a small amount of paint stripper which on resurfaced painted baths that I restore usually takes around half an hour to blister the epoxy paint.
Well I was surprised to see your sample blister in under 10 minutes and easily scrape off with the back of an old sanding sheet!
I now know why you were so reluctant to let me visit your workshops, with the excuse I could steal your trade secrets. Sadly your secrets are now exposed.
I gave you every opportunity to answer my questions and you have simply strung me along. You have not only wasted my time, delayed my clients project but have lost a customer and my ability to recommend your company as your integrity has been lost. Which is a shame because your baths do look on the surface beautiful.
Would love to hear your feed back.
So rather than waste thousands on a cheap imitation or fake have your existing bath properly restored or buy a beautifully restored original bath from The Vintage Bath Company at an affordable price.