mirror installation questions

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Jim Hartog, Jan 14, 2017.

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  1. Jim Hartog

    Jim Hartog Registered User
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    Jan 6, 2010
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    Hello,

    I have the remains of an H. Utley half column and splat built in Niagara Falls, Upper Canada in the 1830's that I am trying to resurrect. Both glasses are missing and someone removed the putty rather crudely. Utley did use mirrors for the lower glass as seen on page 230 in "Early Canadian Timekeepers" by Varkaris and Connell, so I have cut an old, wavy glass mirror to fit. The back of the mirror is orange.

    First question: do I leave the orange, paint the orange some other colour, or cover the orange with something?

    Second question: what do I use for glazing putty since the stuff I used to use in the plastic pouch that one would kneed before use is no longer available?

    Jim
     
  2. THTanner

    THTanner Registered User
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    I think if you try to remove that orange you will also be messing with what makes it a mirror. It would not hurt it to paint it as long as you dont dissolve it with the new paint some how. There are some brass, gold and silver spray paints now that are decent but rather pricey. Michaels craft store has them as do other places. I don't know much about putty, but since you aren't going to be using authentic 1830's putty it probably does not matter much.

     
  3. James Gardner

    James Gardner Registered User
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    Jim,

    As to the mirror, you can simply get some cardboard and cover the back of the mirror. You see that frequently with wood works and older weight driven brass clocks. If you were going to paint the back of the mirror, I'd do it in black.

    I mix whiting (you have to order over internet, just google) with orange shellac which is what I believe is close to what would have been used by the original makers of these old clocks. You have to mix the consistency to what you are comfortable with (experiment), and put it on with a putty knife. It dries fairly quickly so working time is somewhat limited. I personally think the clock makers used brick dust to color the mixture. I use the red rouge dust used by contractors for snapping straight lines (you can find in Lowes or Home Depot type stores).

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Jim Hartog

    Jim Hartog Registered User
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    Hello,

    I like the cardboard idea (is it glued down?) and black paint sounds better than gold, silver or brass. An internet search comes up with Dap 33, sold at Lowes, that sounds like the glazing putty I am used to except it is in a plastic tub. One removes a chunk, works it to the right consistency in one's hands and then makes the required "worm". Other companies must be making similar stuff. It is supposed to be paintable which means it should take a stain after it sets.

    Anyone else have different ideas about hiding the orange?

    Jim
     
  5. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    While most ogees and half column and splat clocks with reverse painted, stenciled, or decalcomania tablets have the back of the tablet exposed, many examples with mirrors have a thin wood backing or heavy paper applied to the inside of the mirror to protect the silvering. The paper was generally puttied in, not glued to the back of the mirror, and the thin wooden panels are held in with thin wooden cleats nailed to the inside of the door frame opening. I have also seen cardboard used- about the weight of shirt cardboard, if that exists anymore. That too was puttied in. Generally by now the paper or cardboard is a pleasant tan color from oxidation, and often stained and written upon.
     
  6. David S

    David S Registered User
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    I am just wondering if using cardboard, boxboard or other types of paper, if it should be acid free? Or perhaps a barrier layer placed between the paper and the back of the mirror?

    David
     
  7. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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  8. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Peter just for clarification, you are saying that the original paper or whatever way back when wasn't acid free, so if we use paper with acid today it should be ok?

    David
     
  9. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Non acid free paper will not damage the back of a mirror. If we were talking about re-mounting a Currier & Ives print, or something like that, yes, acid free paper would be desirable. In this case it doesn't matter.
     
  10. David S

    David S Registered User
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    Ok just was curious and now we know the answer. Thank you

    David
     
  11. BLKBEARD

    BLKBEARD Registered User
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    You could get a piece of mat-board from the artist supply store, they come in all the colors of the rainbow. probably several choices of browns & tans. A new large pizza box brown side out, white side against mirror.
    Proper Putty should contain linseed oil, and before applying paint the edges of the wood your puttying your glass into with linseed oil. This will prevent the dry 100+ year old wood from sucking all the linseed oil out of your putty, causing premature dry-out of the glazing putty. Get the good putty with linseed oil, its worked fine for hundreds of years.
     
  12. Peter A. Nunes

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    Well, we know an opinion, anyway!
     
  13. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #13 Jim DuBois, Jan 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2017
    Traditionally putty'ed in mirrors have a cardboard backer and mirrors held in with wood strips or glue blocks usually have a very thin wood backer. I wouldn't recommend painting the back of a mirror, it may loosen the paint that is there and destroy the mirror surface too. DAP 33 takes months to harden. I personally use water putty and it sets up rock hard in a couple of hours. And you can mix in powdered colors when you mix it up to get a darker off white or brown or red finished putty.
     
  14. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    I have had some success with ordinary plaster of Paris, which can be colored with acrylic paint. Not very traditional, but it looks right and is easy to use. An additional benefit is that it is easily removable, which can be a problem with Rock Hard Water Putty.
     
  15. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Peter, you are of course quite correct on the water putty. It is extremely hard when set. I think plaster of paris might well be a much better solution
     
  16. Jim Hartog

    Jim Hartog Registered User
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    Hello,

    Wow, a lot of activity today. Thankyou everyone for the input. I'll do the heavy paper/light weight cardboard thing with the standard linseed oil putty being sure to seal (shellac) the wood to deter linseed oil absorption. The water soluble putty sounds a little scary.

    I'm assuming that glazer's points are used in there, too, to hold the glass in place for puttying.

    Jim
     
  17. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    No need for points. There is really nothing to worry about with water based filler such as P.O.P. Standard DAP type window putty doesn't really give the look or feel of the original material.
     
  18. Jim Burghart

    Jim Burghart Registered User
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    I have good luck using Aqua Glaze. I used it when I restored the windows on our house, and have had good results with a couple of clock glass.

    It can be tinted, and uses water to cleanup.

    http://www.oldewindowrestorer.com/aquaglaze.html
     

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