Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resilvering

I've been continuing to work on my bathroom medicine cabinet.  It finally got too cold to work outside, but I was able to get it stripped down to clean wood and treat it with borate before hauling it back inside and down to my basement.

I also took out the mirror as I started to strip the door and set it aside. I didn't want to damage the glass accidentally by breaking it or etching it with chemicals.  One weekend I got particularly motivated and located a local company to re-silver the mirror. I figured while I had it out, I may as well make it all pretty again.  The place I ended up using was Alchemy Mirror Resilvering.  I dropped it off and 10 days later they called me to pick up the mirror.  Total cost with just shy of $45.

I had a nice talk with the owner of the company when I picked up the mirror. He recognized the original manufacturer of the mirror by the numbers on the back (2-222) and was able to tell me it was made in 1920. I always like to chat with these people that work on one aspect of restoring old things. We chatting for a while about how these old pieces were meant to be repaired rather than replaced. I carefully transported my mirror back home and it has been sitting on my living room floor ever since waiting for the rest of the cabinet to come together.

Today I spent some time finish sanding the piece and I primed the door frame.  I also picked up some paint for the interior of the cabinet - the cabinet will be white and the back wall of the interior will be light blue.

Here is the cabinet fully stripped and treated with borate ready for primer.

Ignore the full trash can.  This is the cabinet door frame primed. The mirror is housed in this.

Here is the back of my newly re-silvered mirror.

7 comments:

JC said...

I don't want to rain on your parade too much with this comment, but it just makes me so sad to see a resilvered mirror. I am a huge fan of antique mirrors, and I love all the flaws, crazing, and wear on old mirrors. The more wear, the better. I suppose it comes down to personal preference, but it seems counter-intuitive to want to restore an antique vanity, but then scrap the one thing that would keep it looking old after it's refinished. The mirror looked like it was in fantastic shape in the previous photos...

Kate H. said...

I think it's a fine thing that you have a good craftsman available to do the resilvering for you. That can't be taken for granted these days. Hooray for repairing perfectly good stuff and keeping it out of the landfill!

StuccoHouse said...

JC - To each his own. This is going into a restored bathroom as an only mirror. It is a salvaged piece and the silvering had problems. I want the cabinet to serve its purpose. I don't live in a museum ;) As discussed in my blog, this cabinet, much like my restored wood windows, was meant to be repaired. I have zero problem re-silvering a mirror in this cabinet (it's not a vanity). I have plenty of vintage mirrors throughout my house. I'm much more of a restoration purist than most, but I'm not as pure as others.

Kate H - I know....I feel fortunate to have found him. He was a very interesting guy who clearly knew his stuff and the history of mirrors. I love running into those skilled people.

Scott H. said...

My wife and used Alchemy to resilver our medicine cabinet mirror, too. We were pleased with the results and glad to have found someone local that provides the service.

Obviously, everyone has their personal preferences, but the silver oxidizes and, like you said, the mirrors were meant to be repaired. My preservation puritanicalism runs fairly deep, but this cabinet is not antique furniture with a valuable patina. My thinking is that bathrooms and kitchens receive heavy use in everyday living and that their components need to work. And my observation has been that failure to make simple repairs like these can lead subsequent homeowners to remuddle their home simply because they do not know that items like mirrors and wood windows can be repaired.

NV said...

Awesome work! I particularly like the beadboard interior.

StuccoHouse said...

Scott - My philosophy is similar to your's. For those that have not followed my blog for long, a previous owner gutted my bathroom and removed everything vintage except the tub. Ha, probably because the original mirror was mottled :)This cabinet will replace a fine Menard's oak monstrosity.

NV - I know...that's my favorite part too. Although the door handle I have planned is also pretty cute. More to come on that.

Chris said...

I'd love to re-silver my dining room mirror, in the built-in. I would be all for the antique look if it hadn't weathered in such a weird and geometric way (it has a line running across the middle). At this point, it is just weird and distracting. I have mirrors on two pieces of furniture that have the worn antique look and I love them as they are and would never touch them though. I think when it makes sense, updating something isn't a bad thing. SO cool that you found a place to do it. You have me thinking now.

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