Recycling a Thrown Out Mirror

Renee and I are constantly on the lookout for items that we can hang on the walls of our apartment to make them look less empty. We have no problem finding things we like, it’s just that when we check the price tags we end up deciding we don’t like those things that much.

As fortune had it, we recently found a nice large mirror that someone was throwing out. The glass was in good shape, but the frame was painted an ugly brownish purple, like the rest of our apartment. Although it wasn’t perfect, the price was right, so we loaded it up and went to work.

At first we had the idea that we would strip the ugly paint off of the wood and then we could just stain it some natural color. Well, fast forward three months, two different types of gel and liquid paint stripper, and lots of gunked up sandpaper and scraping tools, we decided that stripping wasn’t the way to go (side note: I am never stripping paint again. If I absolutely have to recycle some poorly painted wood, I’m either painting over it or getting it chemically dipped somewhere).

Although the above section LOOKS promising, it had paint in the moulding crevices that just would never come out. At that point, I decided that it was time to scrap the frame and build something new. I had some beautiful white oak that we received as part of a wedding gift (yes you read that correctly!) lying around and I thought it would make for a perfect frame.

After ripping the boards and then cutting them to length, I lined everything up to make sure it was going to work.

Next I took the four pieces of framed board and ran them across the table saw to create rabbets that the mirror would sit in.

With rabbets done, I went to work making some loose tenons and mortise holes with the router.

The loose tenons and mortises were dry fitted to make sure everything was snug.

Once I verified that everything was fitting correctly and all of the corners square, I added glue and waited for it to dry.

All that was left to do after that was sand and stain before we could put it up on our mantle.

Originally published at on November 1, 2014.

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