Monday, October 8, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

We dug this trifold mirror out of an attic at an estate sale in the District a few months ago. The mirror was filthy, and the hinges were bent and tweaked. I began by disassembling the mirrors from the frames, starting with removing the 1/4" thick wood panels holding the mirrors in place. I set the mirrors to the side, cleaning off the old tape "x" across the mirrors and the untold years of dirt, the cool thing is once they were cleaned you could see the antiquing of the mirrors. Next I separated the frame sections and straightened the hinges. I used a small piece of wood as a buffer when straightening the hinges with a hammer, this prevents any damage to the hinge and maintains the "antique" finish.

We decided not to sand the frame because I didn't want to lose the "aged" appearance of the wood. Instead we restored the finish using fine steel wool (0000) and Restor-A-Finish. The result is amazing, I really like how it brought out the grain of the wood and its "aged" appearance. I reassembled the frame, which lined up perfectly with the repaired hinges. The panels on the back of the mirrors were discarded. Instead I stained a few feet of 1/8" quarter round trim to hold the mirrors in the frame. I cut the sections to fit the entire perimeter and the Ridgid brad nailer to attach them to the frame. We haven't decided where it will go yet, but it looks great propped up on my desk for now.    

The second mirror we found at a thrift store in Pennsylvania. It had a dark blonde finish that diminished the appearance of the wood grain. I spent an obscene amount of time sanding the fine details of the frame (while Indi took up temporary residence in her new fort). 

Once the sanding was finished I started experimenting with the stain. After testing a few shades, I decided on the Minwax dark walnut stain. I think refinishing furniture is exposure therapy for my obsessive leanings because I've learned to embrace how the different sections of wood react differently to stain.

The variations were a little drastic at first, but after adding a couple coats of tung oil and buffing the finish it looks amazing. Tung oil penetrates the wood, evens out the finish adding a deeper matte finish. After applying tung oil, let it set for 5-10 minutes before buffing out the finish. Let set 24-hours before applying a second coat, lightly sanding between coats and following each coat by buffing out the finish.

1 comment:

Candace said...

I’ll bet it makes your room look bigger too, doesn’t it? Hmmmm, I have an oval mirror that has been sitting in my collection for a long time, you have given me inspiration. :)