Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This is what my c. 1680-1700 Dutch mirror looked like when I acquired it about ten days ago--rather neglected and abused.

I have been waiting for Roberto to have a free day to start the very exacting task of restoring the mirror without removing too much of the original patina. The first step involved testing the surface of the painted moldings to see which chemicals to use to removed that ugly aqua paint. Roberto had to resort to a "green" stripper to completely remove the paint (there was a bright blue underneath the aqua--lovely).


The next step was to tape out the beautiful 310-330  year old walnut veneer which appears to have maintained its original surface. The exacting task of sanding and then filling the major areas of losses was up next. When dealing with native European wood pieces of this age there is usually a certain amount of wood worm damage. These pieces were frequently subjected to extreme humidity and temperature changes which made the wood even more yummy for the wood worms.

You can see that Roberto has started the preliminary ebonizing (making a wood surface appear to be constructed of ebony, very rare and costly black wood). To complete the ebonizing process Roberto will finish sand the surface, apply another fine coat of paint, finish sand and then apply another fine coat of paint and then finish sand. The final step will be to apply two coats of hard paste wax--buffing in between coats.


Here is a reminder of what the Dutch mirror on 1stdibs.com looks like

And here is what my mirror looks like--not bad for the first level of restoration.

Did you spot Jones in the photo? He had just returned from daycare...spoiled?
Have a wonderful almost fall day.

Mary and Jones (and Cole)  


  1. Oh Mary this mirror is going to be so gorgeous! I need a Roberto who knows what her is doing to get old paint off properly!

    Jones is looking very fine indeed!

    Art by Karena

    1. Hi Karena,
      Roberto is my life saver in so many ways. He even comes from the same city in Mexico where I was raised and we communicate perfectly. Thanks. Mary

  2. Hi Mary - The mirror looks fabulous! Completely different. I still can't believe someone would throw that aqua paint over it. While I love painted furniture, that was really yucky what they did.
    Hi to Jones!

  3. Hi Loi, Thank you. I glad that you had a great trip to Maine. Jones says "back at you"--Mary

  4. O my! Absolutely gorgeous! What a great restoration. I love seeing the progress.

  5. Hi Katie, Roberto is coming next Monday to work on this guy. Thanks for dropping by.