Very discouraged about sink options: Shaw's farm sink a mistake?

dab07November 15, 2007

I was up till 1:00 in the morning yesterday reading about sinks and getting hopelessly discouraged. I recently saw the Shaw's farm sink and liked it very much. My husband rarely voices any opinions on any of this, but he did say he hates them! So I thought that was my biggest problem there. But after reading several comments here about the farm sinks, even the Shaw's, not being indestructible like they're made out to be, I realized I have a bigger problem.

I guess there's no perfect sink material. Apparently cast iron can chip and rust, fireclay apron sinks can get damaged and be extremely difficult to remove since they're undermounted, soapstone is too dark for my kitchen, (I think, tho I'm still a little undecided), other stones aren't practical, and I don't want synthetics or stainless steel.

A further problem is my husband is adamant about having a dbl sink and they're so wide I don't know if it'd look good. (I really liked the 24" one in the showroom, it was cute!) I'm now considering crazy things like putting a 24" one and a 15" one next to each other --- I just can't think straight about it anymore.

I'm afraid that if I persuade my husband to go with a farm sink, and it gets ruined, I'll be in the doghouse.

What do you think? Is there a clearly more durable material, between fireclay and cast iron? A white undermounted cast iron sink might look OK (I'm thinking that the sink counter will be marble, so the sink should be white.) What are the pros and cons of each? I'm sorry if this has been covered before. As I said, my brain is so scrambled right now....

If anyone has pictures of undermount cast iron with white or marble counter, or of an apron-fronted double farm sink, that might help too.

Thank you!


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I have (or should say - WILL have) a SS sink, but my Mom and my sister and my Aunt all have a Silgranite sink and they all love them. I would have bought one too, but thankfully didn't cuz we totally changed the colour of granite. So, if you don't mind a second- third and fourth hand recommendation..., and you know what colour of countertop you are going with, I would consider the Silgranite sinks.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 3:18AM
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I've been reading this board for years, and I don't recall any issues with the Shaw farm sink (other than Franny not being happy with the sink delivered to her). Nothing is indestructible, but what are you worried about happening to your sink?

I've had the Shaw sink for a year now and I just love it. So far no issues (doesn't mean something won't happen down the road, of course). But I have 3 teenage boys and so far they haven't managed to hurt it. I pot plants in the sink...

I don't have a double, but I have a 36" sink. I love the size. It works very well for me. I was lucky--my husband felt that since I do the cooking, my vote counts more. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Based on the recs of people on this forum, I ended up with a silgranit sink, and have been very happy. It's easy to keep clean and it always *looks* clean. I got anthracite (to go with my soapstone counters), but here's a picture of a double in white. You might want to do a search of "silgranit" on this forum and read what people have to say.

Here is a link that might be useful: White Double Silgranit

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:11AM
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I love my Shaw's sink, wouldn't have anything else. One year of hard use and it's fine. I agree with Sharon, nothing is indestructable. You have to take care of it like anything else, but this one sure takes way more abuse than most things.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:09AM
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I wanted a farm sink too but it really didn't fit with our house and my husband hated it too (or I would have gotten one). My husband rarely has an opinion and when he does, gratefully, I rarely listen as he likes everything I do. I might sneak one in the basement for our laundry sink :) though.

We got the SS Blanco and it's fine. It's a sink. It's not as intersting as I'd like, but it made him happy and it was a lot cheaper.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:15AM
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I just took delivery on a Shaw 36" apron front sink and it is gorgeous. I am in love! I haven't used it yet, of course, but I just love the white, bigness of it, the cool look of the fireclay. I think if you are in love with it, you will continue to be in love with it as you use it. It is not a sink that you can be so-so about. Either you like the look or you don't. You have to think about the look first, it is a statement. It is not another SS sink (no offense to the SS lovers out there, I like them too, just like the firceclay better).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:00AM
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I am wondering about fireclay myself, my kd has told me that fireclay, if it chips, will show orange (clay), while cast iron will show white if it chips. Can anyone address this issue as well?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:42AM
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My fireclay farm sink has been in use for two years now. It's not a Shaws-it was made by Herbeau. The main reason I chose it was it's fireclay construction. A secondary reason was the "farmhouse" style-it really echoes the "old fashioned" look I was going for in my kitchen. I am extremely happy with my choice!
I've had cast iron, SS, and copper sinks before, but this sink is the absolute easiest sink to take care of. You can use virtually any cleaner you want, and it always looks good. But like others have said, no sink is indestructable.
I have not noticed any nicks or chips, but I do have a grate that I bought to keep things off the bottom of the sink.
My Herbeau is a single, but it's really big. I can lay large cookie sheets flat in it, and don't miss my old double sink at all.
I did all the design work for the kitchen myself. My DW didn't really want to get involved, so I did not have to make any compromises to satisfy someone else (I was really lucky, wasn't I?).
There were two negatives to this sink. The first was the price, which didn't bother me. Second, since this is a hand made sink, both sides are not exactly straight, so I couldn't do a positive reveal with my granite counter top. As it turned out, I like the slightly negative reveal I ended up with even more.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:59AM
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I don't know why DHs get involved in such things but if yours hates the farm sink then you might as well just cross it off your list. They are not for everyone.

If he really insists on a double sink that limits your choices even more, but it doesn't mean you won't find something nice! I have had cast iron sinks for longer than I can remember. I am sure there are isolated cases where a cast iron sink might have a defect, but in reality they are virtually indestructible. If you look at the Kohler web site you will notice there is a lifetime limited warranty for cast iron sinks but only a one year limited warranty on fireclay.

What size cabinet will the sink go into?

It sounds like to want a double sink that has one side bigger than the other - is that the case?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 11:21AM
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Here's the thread I read about with fireclay problems: problems

Yes, I think a double sink with one long bowl and one smaller one would be perfect, tho the Shaw's dbl might be a bit too long. I guess this is the main stumbling block for me -- that and fears of it chipping. No showrooms near me show any sizes longer than 30", and I'm afraid that, without seeing one, an apron front at 40" would look outrageously big. (The sink cab will be determined by the sink size, since I'm building it myself.) The 24" sink was really cute - I liked the overall proportions of it. I'm imagining a 40" sink would be like having a stretch limo in my kitchen!

I'm encouraged to hear that some of you have used different kinds of sinks and find these to be more durable and easy to take care of. Especially after a few years and with teenage boys.

There's a good chance my husband will come around; he often does and is ultimately happy with my choice. I just didn't want to go there if I had to convince him and then the sink turned out to be problematic.

jshore - We have a very old, green enameled cast iron sink. It has a couple of chips in it and they're rusty underneath. The enamel isn't very thick, so a crack will reveal the iron underneath.

aunttomichael - thanks for the link to silgranit. I didn't know what they were, and they do look nice. But there's something about the glazed clay that I really like.

If anyone has any pics of the longer apron front sinks, I'd love to see them. Thank you all.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 12:30PM
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Thanks for linking the thread. I really didn't read much into it. I would be concerned if the thread was filled with many responses that agreed with the original poster, but I didn't see that. Francy's sink is a totally different issue with a different brand of sink, in my opinion. Unfortunate, yes, but not something that should steer someone away from fireclay in general.

As to the sink not being even--it's a handmade sink. I personally feel more comfortable purchasing this type of thing from a reliable local dealer, who will allow me to return the sink if it arrives and I'm not pleased with it.

Good luck to you! I know how agonizing these decisions are.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 12:58PM
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I have a double ss sink in our apartment and cannot wait to get rid of it. Have a 30" Shaw's fireclay in our house and I love it. I'd rip out the other put put in another Shaw's in a heartbeat.

A few things about the OP. First, the farm sinks do not necessarily need to be undermounted. They can be mounted above the counter as mine is.

Second, removing any undermounted sink is a PITA. But I certainly wouldn't buy and install a sink I had any doubts about.

Overall, I can say from long experience that the most durable sink is a SS sink. We have 25 y.o. one we use in our apartment and the finish has worn off the drain but the sink looks OK.

I will also tell you that 33" is a minimum size I'd go for in a double. The "cute" 24" sink you will hate after one week because nothing will fit easily for washing.

There are 2 general options with SS. Undermount or drop in. Drop ins are not favored here as a look since they have a SS flange that sits on top of the counter and are essentially "glued down" with caulk.

Undermounted is undermounted no matter what the sink is.

Re the fireclay. The Shaw's are not red clay. They are white clay. There are pix of them on the Shaw's of Darwen (English) website. They are fired at 2500 degrees and are more durable than other types in general.

We have a fireclay bathtub in our apartment that is original and was installed in 1910. Ditto for the toilet and pedestal sink.

My Shaw's is 3 y.o. It's the best sink I ever owned. I adore it. Would get one again. And just suggested to DD to put one in the kid's bathroom when she reno's her house as a second sink with a sprayer because it's perfect for cleaning up litle ones until they're about 5.

Occasionally there are folks who don't like the Shaw's. They are surely not for everyone. But it's not often one hears that someone who actually has the sink installed and is using it for a while doesn't like it. Most do.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:28PM
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There is a double bowl fireclay farmhouse on sale in the link below that I think would be a great option. Very reputable company and I would not hesitate to consider fireclay.

In your list of materials, you didn't mention copper - we have been really happy with our copper sink, so you might consider that. ...basically soap and water cleanup with an occasional waxing. These are great for a rustic or "lived in" look, so if you don't like that style, i would reconsider the fireclay and check out the link below.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Double Bowl Fireclay sink

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 1:38PM
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I have a double-bowl Shaw's and absolutely love it. It's been in since August. Cleans nice, very sturdy.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 2:19PM
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As far as fireclay sinks go, the only companies I think I would feel comfortable with are Shaw's (though yes--handmade can be wonky) b/c of their looooooong reputation (and available patch kit!) and maybe Kohler (b/c of reputation). But the Kohler fireclay sink is tiny. Generally, one reads that fireclay is supposedly more durable than cast iron. Interesting that the Kohler warranty for the cast iron is longer. Not sure what to think about that. That might steer me toward the Kohler cast iron version.

Obviously, I would never recommend the Porcher sink!

Yes, fireclay can chip. But there are ways to avoid that. Put a grid in the bottom. (Actually, I'm not putting a grid in the bottom, b/c I don't want to hassle with cleaning it. But chips in the bottom of the sink don't really bother me. My Porcher chipped all over the lip!) Shaw's makes a patch kit, and I've been told that they work well. I've only read a few stories here from chipping with the Shaw's sinks.

The sink issue was obviously very difficult and stressful for me. But I'm not sure that my bad experience should scare you away from fireclay. I would definitely recommend buying it from a local vendor. I would certainly never recommend Homeclick. Because their prices are so low, I have bought, or tried to buy several large, expensive items from them over the years. And I have had problems with all of them (and problems with the terrible customer service).

My ideal sink would be soapstone. But I really needed a white sink in my kitchen...

I've heard folks joke that the 36" Shaw's is like a trough, but a wonderful trough! If I had room in my kitchen, I would love it!! Amazing how fast a 30" sink can get crowded with dirty pots and pans. But I love the big single bowl.

I hope that helps a little!

Good luck to you!



    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:05PM
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Hi. IÂve been reading this blog for about a year now, as IÂve been renovating my kitchen and three bathrooms, and found it more helpful than I could ever tell you. Your question made me want to finally join, donÂt know why, maybe itÂs because I love my ShawÂs 36-inch sink! My kitchen is almost finished, so maybe IÂll post a photo of the sink later when I learn how to, but hereÂs how we decided to get it:
At first, my husband I were adamant that we would NOT get a farmhouse sink. Out of the question. I thought they were sort of pretentious and I would say "we donÂt live in a farmhouse.ÂÂ The design struck me as sort of unattractive.

My husband and I agree on almost all design decisions, by the way, or we donÂt move forward until we do. We wanted stainless steel. Only I didnÂt know that he assumed we would get a single sink, and I assumed it would be a double bowl sink. When it came time to order one, we found this out, with him saying he wanted a sink big enough to hold a lasagna pan (he loves pasta and everything related!). Since I tend to research our purchases, I went back to the drawing board, as they say, and considered every possibility. I tried finding a double sink that would be big enough for his lasagna pan. That led to really wide sinks, which led to fireclay sinks, which led to the ShawÂs. I loved the idea before he did, but after we looked at other choices, and went to "visitÂÂ a smaller ShawÂs at a showroom, we both agreed it was what weÂd get. We decided we actually loved the design.

Anyway, hereÂs why I think it works for us and I donÂt know if these issues are true for you: We were renovating our "foreverÂÂ house, which has a really big kitchen, so we keep getting things we know weÂd like to live with a long time, even if they cost a little more than we expected (I believe we originally budgeted $250 for a sink. LOL!). The size of the sink is actually really appropriate to our kitchen.
We have three kids, so our kitchen is used constantly. This is a true work horse of a sink.
We have an older home (built in 1890 or so), so the style really fits.
We have been using the sink for a couple of months now, and find it a breeze to keep clean, even with the grill at the bottom. I spray it down with Fantastik and sponge it down and IÂm done. Having a sprayer faucet helps, but we only got that last night! I told my husband the other day that I have yet to find a pan that does not fit here. I donÂt find the sink any more fragile or prone to damage than the stainless steel or cast iron sinks that I have had in previous homes.

Anyway, I remember agonizing over this decision, as we did over thousands of other decisions weÂve had to make thus far, and what my husband and I learned the most from this website is, "itÂs your house, do what makes you happy.ÂÂ Anything goes, really. Good luck with your decision.

I promise not to be so chatty if I ever write again.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 5:09PM
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Welcome, hmsweethm, this board is great not only for information, but for knowing that everybody on it can relate to what you're going through better than the people you see everyday.

It's funny how crazy you get when you're designing something. You go from being convinced there's one thing you definitely will not get. Then, by traveling a road that's different for everyone, you end up getting and LOVING that very thing! Or vice versa. A couple of years ago (I've been on and off planning this kitchen redo for a LONG time) I went as far as to buy a huge stainless steel dbl bowl sink -- 60"!! It's still sitting in a spare room because, while I was pulling together other details, I realized it's not the look I want at all. I really want a kitchen Beatrix Potter would draw! At that time, practicality was driving my decisions. Luckily, I took so long designing it, I realized the important thing for me is to make it feel homey.

Francy, don't worry, I wasn't put off by your experience. The posts talking about immediate scratches are what put me over the edge.

I love the trough idea! It's very "elemental" and that appeals to me.

Thoughts on cast iron sinks: they do lose their shine, eventually, and stain, tho that might be because people used to scrub them with cleanser.

Thank you, everyone! I feel reassured by your comments. I'm not 100% decided, but I'll start talking to my husband. Chances are he'll be so eager to move on from this phase to actually getting it built that he'll agree.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 6:39PM
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Gosh! After reading all these posts- I WANT a Shaw Fireclay sink!!! :>)

Guess I'll keep it mind for the next house!

Perfect solution would be to live in someone else's kitchen for a few days- those of you with Fireclay sink could hire out your sink + dirty dishes for the truly TKO's!

Best of luck with your decision!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:03PM
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This is nothing against all these other kinds of sinks, but there's a big difference between an enameled cast iron sink and a porcelain one. The latter are lovely!

I don't know if fireclay also does this, but one thing I like about my porcelain cast iron sink (one of the few things I actually like about the kitchen) is that it holds temperature pretty well. That means I can use it for a cooler in a pinch, and I can keep it full of warm water for various tasks. It also doesn't scratch, and it's really easy to clean.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:51PM
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We've had a single bowl Shaw's for two years. It is my favorite thing in the kitchen, both in looks and functionality. I can never go back to a small double sink. My largest pots and pans fit flat in this sink. It rocks! My pet peeve is if someone in the family leaves a dirty dish sitting in it -- I want it sparkling white all the time. LOL We also have the Rohl Allia prep sink. Both have the same Rohl Country faucets, single lever, sidespray. Love both my sinks and faucets. (We had this same faucet in our previous house, too).


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:27PM
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I've always wanted a farmsink and my KD pointed me right to the Shaw. When I went to the plumbing showroom to see it, I absolutely fell in love. We are still in the design phase, but after reading this post, I am so excited that I chose to go with the Shaw, although I did have sticker shock at the price of the sink and faucets. I'm a remodel virgin and I had NO IDEA.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 8:28PM
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IMHO there are alternatives to Shaw that would be just as high quality

Herbeau, Shaw, Moda (formerly Barclay), Whitehaus - they are all handcrafted in Europe or Israel and basically use the same methods and materials. Many of the horror stories I have read on this board have to do with buying from an etailer that doesn't ship properly or stand behind the product if there is a problem.

One of the reasons I suggested the Moda fireclay sink in my link above from Sinks Gallery was that it was smaller (32" wide) so it should fit in a 33"+ wide cabinet (even with the 2% +/- variation) and has a double bowl (what I personally like). ...yes, it's not a Shaw but I don't think Shaw has that size in a plain front and the $595 sale price is outstanding.

I'm certainly a proponent of buying the best quality you can afford, but sometimes that means buying from a more reputable company (or even locally) and getting the support you might need if there is a problem. There are only a few "online companies" I personally deal with and trust and Sinks Gallery is one of them.

....just my $0.02....

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 10:44AM
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What I personally like about the Shaw's, from a durability perspective, is that it seems to have the thickest lip (I've had "lip chip" from my lousy Porcher sink). The Barclay/Moda only has a 1" lip. I saw one at Expo, and it just didn't have the heft that I feel safest with.



    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 11:56AM
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bayareavrancy - When I was talking with the retailer several weeks ago, they said that the "old" Barclay fireclay line was from the same factory as the one that Whitehaus uses in Israel. They switched to a company in Italy that has been making fireclay for close to 100 years for one of the biggest ceramic brands in Europe and renamed the line to "Moda" - it just came out within the last month or so. The lip is as wide as Shaw's (I can't remember the exact dimension, but it was more than 1"). The only downside I could see was that the line is limited in size/styles. I really like Sinks Gallery as they are one of the few companies I have found that specialize in artisan crafted products (I have bought lighting from their "sister company" as well). They know these types of products well and their customer service people are extremely knowledgable.

I would have no problems buying this sink. ...and again, I think highly of Shaw as well (along with a few other brands). ....I too had a bad experience with a Porcher product many years ago and wouldn't buy from them again...

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 12:58PM
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I didn't know there was such a thing as porcelain-coated cast iron! I'll look into it. But the Fireclay is my first choice, I think.

Good to know about Moda and especially about buying from Sinks Gallery. Thanks for sharing that with us. I don't know anything about particular internet businesses, so it's good to know about this one.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 4:21PM
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Does anyone have a garbage disposal associated with their Shaws fireclay? I didn't know whether the fireclay can stand up to a garbage disposal vibration. thanks

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 12:36PM
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I'm very curious about whether the fireclay can stand up to the vibrations from a garbage disposal as well. Anyone with a fireclay sink have one?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:35PM
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I have had my fireclay sink with a garbage disposal for more than a year. I have 3 teenage sons who are NOT gentle and I use the sink and disposal multiple times a day. After reading some negatives about fireclay, I have put on bright lights and readers to see if there are any hairline cracks, scratches etc. - and after 15 months - NOTHING. The sink still looks brand new.

My contractor was careful not to over tighten the disposal - and I use sponges designed not to scratch and softscrub when needed - but the fireclay surface is so smooth and easy to wipe clean.

I chose the Alfi Shortwall because I had limited space, wanted a double sink - but also didn't want pan handles sticking out. It is an ideal solution.

At the time I purchased the sink, they did not make custom grids, but after reading some negatives about fireclay, I bought cheap rubbermaid grids from They have been awesome and have provided me with a lot of peace of mind. Bluebath now carries custom grids for my sink, but I really don't see the need. The rubbermaid grids are hinged for easy access to the drain/disposal - and after more than a year, they still look great. I pop them in the DW occasionally to sanitize them.

I absolutely love my fireclay sink with disposal and I think you will love yours too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rubbermaid Sink Grid $12.00

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Debbie-- my house is 6-7 yrs old and I have a Shaw's 36" farm sink. My sink has a few dings on the bottom but none since I got the grid to protect the bottom.

I don't love the 36" sink. It's too big for me. Occasionally, I like to fill up my sink and hand wash a few dishes and this sink takes forever to fill up. I didn't build a beautiful new home to use a dishpan. I think the 30" would have suited me better.

I would like a double bowl--but it has to have a large side and I do love the fire clay farm sink ---IF you use the grid to prevent damage. So my solution for my next house and my dream sink is this one.

Hope this helps you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sink

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 5:01PM
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I doubt your post helped Debbie because this thread is six years old.

There have been numerous, more recent and far more informative threads about fireclay sinks. The information in this one is dated and wrong.

Enabling the bumping of ancient threads was the worst mistake GW has made in a while.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 5:19PM
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