Hands-free hand washing sink

Tool Concept


A hands-free hand washing station with on/off water via knee bar lever.
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We recently ran plumbing in our pack shed, part of this project included hooking up a hand washing sink.  The pack shed is centrally located on our farm and we set up the hand washing sink on the edge of the building close to our most frequently traveled paths.  In thinking about how we wanted to plumb the sink we decided that a hands free option would work best for our needs.  Here is what we came up with.

We were using 1/2 inch copper tubing for our plumbing because we had most of the tubing salvaged from another project. Nothing should be substantially different if using PEX or another piping. 

We first constructed a frame to hold our sink.  The sink was purchased at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $5.  We built the frame using short pieces of 2x4 saved from another project. We had a support post for our pack shed in the corner that we attached the sink frame to. We used angled braces to support the frame to keep the floor clear for easy cleaning.  Because the sink in our pack shed is in close proximity (about three feet) to our produce spray table, we added wooden splash guards to two sides.  Lastly, we left a little bit of counter space on the side of the sink for soap, towels etc. We built our sink at the standard 36" countertop height. 

To the bottom of the 2x4 sink frame we attached a knee bar using a 2x8 board and two adjustable spring hinges. These came in a two-pack at the hardware store for about $17.50 and look more like the hinge on the back of a garage door then like a regular door hinge. 

Our plumbing for the hand sink came in from above, this we put a tee in to run to the faucet.  In the horizontal section of this run we put a standard lever valve which we had drilled holes into the handle to attach the push rod to.  From the valve we went up to above the splash guard and ended with a male 1/2" NPT fitting that will fit most commonly available fixtures.  We are using our old adjustable shower head.  We put a 1/8" eye bolt though the lowest hole in the valve lever and held it on with nylon insert locking nuts.  Using a piece of 1/4" All-Thread, we found a clear line from the knee bar to the eye bolt that wouldn't hit sink legs, the bottom of the sink basin or drain pipe. Lower on the knee bar is probably best. We marked this point on the knee bar and drilled out a small space for the head of a 1/4" carriage bolt to rest in.  We then passed the carriage bolt through two short pieces of plumbers tape.  We used a 1/4" coupling and two lock nuts to attach the carriage bolt to the piece of All-Thread.  This was passed through the eye bolt using two nuts on either side of the eye to allow for adjustment.  We used the plumbers tape in an X to hold the head of the carriage bolt in place but still allow for pivoting movement.

The sink turns on when the knee bar is pressed and shuts off when released.  Also noticeable in the photos is the drain valve for winterizing that goes down from the T to the sink.  At the end of this valve we placed a 45 degree bend and a short piece of pipe to use for easily filling five gallon buckets. 

We have additional contruction photos, we will try to add these soon.

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