Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Monday, March 21, 2016

Buffet Mirror

Steve made great visual progress upstairs on Saturday. We often talk about how the smallest projects sometimes have the most impact. I'll be sharing more photos of that progress with you this week and maybe next week, too. While he's been busy upstairs for the last few weeks, I've found some projects of my own to do. One thing that was on my list for quite a while was to clean and repair my grandmother's buffet mirror. Here's an after shot.

Up until shortly after my grandmother died in 2012, this mirror was always hanging over the buffet that was part of her depression era dining set. She purchased that dining set from her neighbor back in the early 60's, and I believe she purchased this mirror from them at the same time. It's also depression era, so I believe this mirror's entire life has been spent above that particular buffet. You may remember that I'm using Grandma's dining table (with different chairs) and my mom is using the matching china cabinet and buffet. Mom thought about continuing the tradition of using the mirror above that buffet, but it didn't look tall enough to fill the space adequately on her wall. It didn't look tall enough to use above my buffet either, but I knew I had another spot for it.

The buffet mirror was desperately in need of an overhaul. It was dirty and the backing paper was shredded. I threw an old beach towel on the kitchen counter and got to work. After removing the remaining pieces of brown backing paper, I carefully removed the small nails holding the 3 mirrors into the frame. The center mirror was thick and had no cardboard in back of it, but the other 2 etched mirrors were thinner and had brittle old cardboard pieces in back of them. The cardboard and nails went in the trash, and I carefully removed the mirrors and gave them a thorough cleaning. I couldn't believe how nice they looked. Of course, that's when I remembered I didn't take any before pictures. Phooey. 

Since the camera was nearby the whole time, I grabbed it to photograph the rest of the process. Here's the back of the empty frame.

The front of the frame before cleaning:

A shot showing the frame detail between the mirrors:

The detail at the top - center:

After the frame was cleaned with a mild soapy water solution, I began the reassembly. I cut new poster board pieces to place in back of all 3 mirrors and inserted glazier points to hold everything into place. Glazier points are those little silver pointed things that you push into the frame with a putty knife or some type of flat pushing tool - even a large flat head screwdriver will work.

As long as I was taking this mirror apart and putting it back together, I figured I should probably date my work.

Speaking of dates. . .

look what was stamped on the back of the center mirror - JUN 24 1929 - depression era!

Maybe someone else will take this mirror apart in another 87 years. If so, they'll see the 1929 date and the 2016 date. They'll also see my Grandma's name and my name. Why stop at dates? OK, time for new backing paper.

All done!

I thought about replacing the cord with new wire for hanging, but the cord cleaned up well and felt very sturdy, so I left it. Oh, I wrote the 1929 date on the back of the frame, too.

The mirror is heavier than it looks, so Steve helped me hang it above our bed.

Once again, it's an object in our house that has a story.

I think Grandma would approve.

Hey, I just realized that TODAY (March 21) would have been my grandma's 99th birthday! Crazy that I decided to talk about her buffet mirror today, huh?

All is well in the Keweenaw.

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