Project Log -- 10 18 2015 Antique Mirror

A good friend asked me to see what I could do with this timeworn old mirror.  It's an attractive piece, but it's really in rough shape.  The original plywood backer is delaminating.  The veneer on the front is all but ruined.  So, it's going to be a lot of work to restore this and maintain its original materials.
You can get a feel for how bad the plywood has decomposed in the picture below.
The fancy trim pieces also function as mirror holders.
The worst of the veneer damage is on the base of the frame.  Patch and match isnt going to work because the veneer is too water damaged.  I need to remove it, but very carefully so I can use it to make a pattern for the new veneer.  The process of steaming the veneer off (at my wife's suggestion) is pretty straightforward.  I put a soft cloth soaked in water on top of the veneer and then I put a hot iron on it.  I let it steam until the rag was dry and then I used a putty knife to tease it up.  Some of it came up in pieces, but all in all it worked out well.






Notice the angle of the knife.  The angle helps separate the glue without potentially cutting into the grain.

The end results below.  I'll be able to make an effective template with the pieces I salvaged.


Well, I finished it up, but I didn't get all of the interim pictures.

A couple of look of the finished product below.  Please feel free to ask in the comments if you have any questions about how it was done.




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