New Frame for Old Mirror

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Project by Greg3G posted 04-07-2008 01:25 AM 3289 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few weeks back I had asked the question if anyone had any experience in Goldl eaf guiding. My wife had purchased an old mirror from one of the antique shops in town (no, it wasn’t an antique) We liked the look of the old mirror, it had a lot of charictor, but the frame was very beaten up and not very stable. After I had set up my new equipment, she asked the first project be a new frame for the mirror. Now bear in mind that I have never built any sort of picture frame much less one that would have to hold a heavy mirror. I agreed.

When I took the old frame apart, I was suprised to find out that it was actualy in two parts. It had the beat up outer frame and an smaller inner frame. I wanted to keep the inner frame and was strongly considering guilding it with the gold leaf. I even went so far as to have my wife pick up a kit.

I decided that in order to bear the weight of the mirror I would have to use some 8/4 stock I had on hand and I looked through my stack of Cherry to find some that matched in tone. I came up lucky and found some good matches.

I cut the main body from the 8/4 and beveled and routed the edges to profile. I couldn’t get the exact profile I was looking for so I went pretty simple and ended up cleaning up a lot of it by hand with planes and scrapers.

After staining the frame, it was a Minwax special (what I hand on hand from a few earlier projects) It was a good base of Cherry stain, then a light rub down with Red Mahogany to give it a little more of an aged look to match the rest of the Dinning room furniture. I came pretty darn close on the color. The one step I wish I had not skipped is sealing the wood before staining. There is some minor blotching.

After getting the stain sealed off with some wipe on poly, I went ahead and installed the mirror. I was having reservations on the gold leaf. I thought it may be too bright for the frame and not look as balanced in the room.

I completed attaching the hanger chain this afternoon. I started off using a plastic coated braided wire but it seemed a too light for the weight, I would estimate mirror and frame comes in at over 40lbs, so I went back to the original frame and removed the chain that it hung on before. Over all, it turned out pretty well. The wife is happy, and that is the important thing.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

13 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2964 posts in 5072 days

#1 posted 04-07-2008 01:30 AM

Beautiful job, Greg! It looks great.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1427 posts in 4952 days

#2 posted 04-07-2008 01:31 AM

I bet she’s happy! That looks great!

-- -- --

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5066 days

#3 posted 04-07-2008 02:50 AM

That’s a great looking job. Good deal saving the inner trim.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4900 days

#4 posted 04-07-2008 03:25 AM

Hi Greg,

You put together a gorgeous frame that I am sure your wife loves.

thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5143 days

#5 posted 04-07-2008 06:44 AM

Beautiful frame Greg – it’s always good when Momma is happy.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 4929 days

#6 posted 04-07-2008 11:05 AM

Great job Greg. No point in getting 7 years bad luck for breaking a good mirror is there.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6874 posts in 5057 days

#7 posted 04-07-2008 04:12 PM

Hello Greg;

Very nice indeed!

Who needs gold leaf?

Great idea in reusing the inner frame.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View KennyZ's profile


5 posts in 4782 days

#8 posted 04-08-2008 08:38 PM

Great job! nice miters and wonderful re-use of the inner trim.

View douglbe's profile


374 posts in 5039 days

#9 posted 04-09-2008 01:16 AM

Very nice, I have a large mirror to put a frame on for the living room one of these days, hope mine will look as nice.

-- Doug, Reed City, Michigan

View Karson's profile


35273 posts in 5478 days

#10 posted 04-09-2008 01:30 AM


A beautiful job. It’s nice to satisfy the wife with the new tools. But of course it would have been easier if you had a shaper to go with everything else.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View pappyjohn's profile


138 posts in 4791 days

#11 posted 04-20-2008 03:47 PM

Very Nice Greg, I also love how you keep the old trim work, it really gives the frame great eye appeal. Super job, I’ve one question, how did you reinforce the corners. See I’ve got this of mirror, that has a rounded top from an old vanity, but has no frame. Its super heavy as well, and I’m also afraid of the weight of it. I’ve thought about on the back side of the frame, putting some metal L brackets to help reinforce the corners. Any ideas are welcomed. Greg keep up the great work, also your new tools look great as well. your brother in woodworking John

-- Your Brother in WoodWorking John, Pittsburgh , PA.

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 5163 days

#12 posted 04-27-2008 02:16 AM

John, Sorry for responding so late…there is a double biscuit in the miters, and a lot of glue. I thined it just a touch to help it soak in the endgrain and flow down in the biscuit slots. I am very carefull when thinning glue down. I just want to add enough water to help it flow a bit better. I also leave it in the clamps over night. The double biscuts may be the wrong way but I equate it to a floating tennon.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4794 days

#13 posted 07-31-2008 10:14 PM

Beautiful job,Greg,

-- jeanmarc manosque france

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