Wednesday, 10 June 2020

The Mediterranean Mirror

Welcome!  Hope you are safe, happy and well!

So, the latest in my long list of Furlough Furniture projects (upcycled pieces I've only had time to complete because of coronavirus furlough!) is what I'm calling my Mediterranean Mirror.

This mirror frame with little drawers was something I found at a car boot sale, probably about 7 or 8 years ago.  I made a start on it at that time, but lack of time meant I then stored it in the garage and it didn't see the light of day again until recently.

It had at some point been a woodwork project for someone - it is clearly handmade and not built in a factory.  I love that about it.  Despite it being very solid and having great potential, the  handmade drawers were a nightmare - they didn't fit properly and were made of such hard wood, it was very difficult to work on them.  I very nearly gave up on them.  I was ready to make drawers out of papier mache to fill the gaps!

I persevered though (one thing I did have was time!) and ended up eventually with three beautifully fitting and very well-sanded drawers.  There is still a kind of mismatched rusticity about them, but I really quite like that.

The maps were from an old world atlas: I chose maps from the Mediterranean - Crete, Malta and the Balearics all feature (and hold memories for us) as well as the gateway to the Med - the Straits of Gibraltar (which we may well one day visit, if we are ever allowed out of lockdown!).

I tore the maps to shape rather than cut them, stuck them on using PVA, varnished over them with more PVA, then waxed them for a more hardwearing finish.

I then waxed over the wood and painted finish, too - inside as well as outside.  The finish is beautifully smooth, almost like glass.

I made little plaits from string for the handles, taped at each end, which I threaded through the holes which were already in the drawer fronts.

I then glued the overlap down inside with a glue gun (you can see some of the overlap inside the drawer, below).  I figured a long overlap would add to the strength of the handles.

I didn't have an actual mirror to fit.  I looked online and my first quote was for over £150.  I found another for £52 including postage, which I was happier with.  But then my daughter's partner recommended St George Glass in Leigh (they have a branch in Bolton, too).  I paid just over £30 and collected myself.  They were speedy, efficient, helpful and polite and I would definitely recommend them if you are based in north west England.

I also cut a piece of hardboard to back the mirror.

Fixing the mirror into the back was a lengthy, frustrating and complicated process!  I reused the original fixings (above, nicely cleaned from their previously very rusty state) but the wood was so solid it was incredibly difficult to screw into. It is a very hard, heavy and dense wood.  The fixings had been previously nailed in (you may be able to see the remnants of an old nail, just above the fixing in the picture above).  I can see why they were nailed in but I now feared for my mirror glass if I got the hammer out!

I even broke the bradawl in the process of trying to make some screw holes!

The finished piece is extremely heavy, so I think it might lead onto another project - a piece of furniture to rest on so I am not relying solely on new-build walls to support it.  We definitely can't risk this falling onto someone!

I love these map projects so much I can feel some more might be coming on before too long!  

I am happy to report that we have now signed contracts for our new house, so the move should be imminent.  Can't wait, this has been a very long time coming!

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