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Facts About Re-silvering at Your Fingertips!

Antique glass repair,fixing up old mirror,resilver mirror,cleaning,repairing

Re-silvering of an antique mirror is a process that is best left to experienced professionals. Your mirror will only come to grief if you attempt to indulge in a patch-up job! You will either have to deliver it by hand or ship it to the conservator, based on which company/individual is going to take up the restoration process.

The first thing that has to be done is removing the mirror from the frame. Yes, it is not a difficult task at all—but it sure is a delicate one. You do not want the glass getting broken during separation. The glass has to be gently pried from the frame with the aid of certain tools such as a screw driver or a pair of pliers. If harder tools are required, it is advisable to cover the mirror with a cardboard or a cloth. If your mirror has to be re-silvered, the glass should exhibit no signs of breaking or cracking or chipping.

Okay, now that you have managed to remove the glass, check its surface thoroughly. Are there any scratches or nicks? Can you see the edges chipping away? Ensure that the surface is thoroughly cleaned of grime before you submit it for re-silvering.

In the case that you are shipping it to your hired professional, then ensure that the mirror is packed securely. Two layers of large cell bubble wrap should do for the wrapping. No excessive tape is to be used, as it may cause breakage because of difficulty in unwrapping. The mirror now goes into a snug-fitting box that is inside another box. Around three inches of packing material should provide a cozy fit to the second box. The mirror cannot move around! Now, tape the box shut.

Once it reaches the company, the process of re-silvering your antique begins. A commercial paint stripper is useful in getting rid of the entire paint on the back. Nitric acid removes the deteriorated silver. Polishing of the glass is next in line, followed by a thorough rinsing with de-ionized water.

The actual process of re-silvering is done with the aid of a special dual nozzle spray gun. The gun is filled with a mixture of de-ionized water, silver nitrate and other chemicals. Soon the new silver gets attached to the glass mirror. Once the liquid dries, two coats of paint are applied. The first one is copper (specially used for mirrors), and the next one is gray backing paint. A final cleaning is given, and you can see your face in a new, shining mirror!

Now, it may happen that deteriorating silver leaves its mark on the glass. This may show up as soon as the new silver is applied. Otherwise, re-silvering generally provides very satisfactory results. A re-silvered antique is guaranteed to last at least five years; in actual fact, it may survive for decades without any damage, provided it is handled carefully.

There is an aspect that must not be forgotten over here. Re-silvering involves a delicate material like glass. If for some reason, your antique has been subjected to stress over the years, there is the possibility of breakage during the process of re-silvering. However, there is also the comfort of knowing that this is a rare occurrence!


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