How to Assemble an Antique Hand Pump Fountain

Updated February 21, 2017

Decorative fountains created with antique hand pumps can add rustic charm to your landscape. An antique hand pump fountain will enhance your outdoor space, no matter what type of container you select for the basin. An old bucket, half barrel or a mosaic flower pot can catch water flowing from the hand pump. The key is that the basin should be well sealed and large enough to keep water flowing continuously. Look for antique hand pump heads at local architectural salvage yards, antique stores and online auctions.

Fill a 12-inch diameter or larger galvanised bucket with water. Make sure that the water does not leak. This is a particularly important step if you are using an old bucket for your basin because small cracks might not be readily visible and will seep water. Seal any cracks with silicone sealant. After the sealant dries, place the bucket in the desired location for the fountain.

Insert a 3-foot long rebar pole into the ground beside the bucket. Sink the rebar at least 14 inches into the ground but no more than 16 inches. The rebar pole is the ground support for the copper pipe that will support the antique hand pump head.

Cut a 3-foot-long piece of copper pipe. Drill a 5/8-inch hole halfway through the pipe, 18 inches from one end. Use a drill bit appropriate for the metal.

Solder a copper fitting that fits the connector on the antique pump head to the end of the cut copper pipe opposite of the drilled hole. Insert the end of the pipe nearest the drilled hole over the rebar pole. Turn the pipe so that the hole opens beside the bucket. Solder the antique pump head to the fitting at the top of the copper pipe. Position the pump spout over the bucket.

Cut a 3-1/2-foot-long piece of flexible plastic tubing. Fit one end onto the spout on top of the submersible fountain pump. If the connection is loose, seal the tubing in place with a strip of duct tape.

Insert the open end of the plastic tube through the 5/8-inch hole in the copper pipe. Feed the tube up inside the copper pipe to the copper fitting at the base of the antique hand pump.

Place the fountain pump inside the bucket. Drape the power cord over the side to the outdoor electrical socket. Fill the bucket with water.

Plug in the fountain pump. The plastic tube should carry water up to the antique hand pump. Pressure will force the water to flow out of the pump's spout where it will land back inside the bucket or basin.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-inch diameter or larger galvanised bucket
  • Silicone sealant
  • 3-foot long rebar
  • Copper pipe
  • Measuring tape
  • Pipe cutter
  • Drill
  • 5/8-inch metal drill bit
  • Copper fitting
  • Flux
  • Solder
  • Propane torch
  • Antique hand pump
  • Flexible plastic tubing
  • Scissors
  • Submersible fountain pump
  • Duct tape
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About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.