Old Mirror Restoration


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Old 01-13-07, 09:03 AM
C
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Post Old Mirror Restoration

Background. I am restoring an old mirror for friends. At the beginning of this adventure, I thought the mirror frame was painted directly on wood and began to scrape the finish. Underneath the initial layer appeared a thick, white layer, which looked like primer. The primer coat did not respond to Peel Away 6, and I determined, a bit too late, that the layer was plaster-of-Paris or a similar awful product. Having ventured this far, I decided to take the unornamented areas down to bare wood and restore the ornaments using imitation gold leaf.

Plan of Attack:
1. ontinue to remove the plaster-of-Paris (AKA white junk) using sandpaper. This is taking forever and I am looking for a better way. {completed})
2. Restore the bare wood using Bartley cherry stain {begun}.
3. Restore the ornamentation using an antique gold leaf kit. Iíve never handled composition gold leaf and could use some hints on possible pitfalls.
4. Replace the existing mirror, which has lost most of its silver. Recommendations concerning what type mirror to purchase would be appreciated.

Had I known what I was getting into, I probably would have lightly sanded the darn thing, and painted, done some antiquing, and finished. Unfortunately, I lost that option when I attacked, with vigor, what I thought to be a primer coat.
 

Last edited by cv sailor; 01-14-07 at 02:45 PM.
  #2  
Old 01-17-07, 02:04 PM
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The "white junk" you refer to is probably Gesso - it is indeed like plaster and years ago was widely used on wood surfaces which were to be painted to provide a really smooth surface. The only way to remove it is to sand it off. Gold leaf is tricky to work with and my suggestion would be to browse your local book store or hobby shop for step by step directions. Most books on faux finishes cover gold leaf as well. As to replacing the mirror, you may want to consider having the existing mirror re-silvered. If not, any glass/mirror shop can cut a new mirror to fit the frame. Hope this helps. Good Luck - I hope your friends appreciate your hard work!
 
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Old 01-17-07, 07:59 PM
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Smile Mirror

Thank you.
I've completed the sanding (white junk AKA Gesso gone), and stained the wood. The net challenge, i.e., gold leaf awaits. As you suggested, I have a step-by-by step book on loan from the local library.

I'll look into resilvering.
 
 

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