Antique window frame mirror

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Project by Dadoo posted 2533 days ago 11593 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While perusing the projects section and particuarily Karson’s Caboose window overhaul, I remembered a project that I built that you might find of interest.

I accquired three 150 year old storm windows from a really old house nearby, while doing an overhaul for the owner. This house has seven (7) fireplaces! Three in the basement, one of those that was used to smoke meat and two others for baking bread. The frames had been stored in an attic for a long time and although many of the individual panes were broken, they were in pretty good shape. They measure 30” high by 31” wide and the paint is origonal. The glass panes were all “water glass” and very thin. I carefully took the frames completely apart removing all the glass and glazing and nails, etc. After a light brushing to remove the peeling paint pieces (say that three times fast) I trimmed 1/2” off the backs of the trim boards, etc. Then I reglued and doweled them back together using Titebond II. An interesting fact I discovered was that these frames were all hand made. They are joined with a mortise and tenon and dowel pinned. All the pins were individually carved, likewise with the tenons and mortises. Interesting history find. Can you imagine how long it took the maker to create these?

Once the glue had dryed I set a large mirror and applied a 1/4” piece of Luan plywood to finish it off. One thing I also did was to coat it with gloss polyurethane to protect them from a moist enviroment. It has protected the finish quite well, but I’m not so sure I like that shine it creates. I have one hanging in the dining area and one in the master bathroom. The third I gave to my sister-in-law as a gift.

Later, while wandering thru the farmers market, I found a display where someone had done the same thing, only using new frames. They were selling for $100.00 or better! So next time you think of tossing out that old frame, you might want to think twice!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

10 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 2533 days ago

it’s a gorgeous job. Old windows surely are beautiful.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View CharlieM1958's profile


15688 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 2533 days ago

I like that a lot!

My wife, however, would say “Aren’t you going to paint that?”

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2594 days

#3 posted 2533 days ago


-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3032 days

#4 posted 2533 days ago

Great Job on the frames.

Thanks for the suggestion.

I’ll see if the restoration might want the frame to post pictures in at either the City hall or in the caboose.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Dadoo's profile


1763 posts in 2622 days

#5 posted 2532 days ago

You know Karson, I bet a train buff would pay out the nose for one of those frames! Especially if you could certify where it came from.

Charlie! There’s 150 years of paint there! It would take 100 years to scrape it all off! Your wife like mine would just have to accept it the way it is. Bummer for them! LOL! Actually one of the hardest parts was saving the paint to preserve the antiquity.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2946 days

#6 posted 2531 days ago

Nice..I like it.

View Napaman's profile


5335 posts in 2708 days

#7 posted 2531 days ago

very cool…great use of materials…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 2437 days

#8 posted 2437 days ago

Reminds me of the pine boards sitting in my folks basement that got ripped out of the family farm when they sold the deed and the place got turned into a Wal-Mart of something. I always meant to make that into some sort of sign….

Dude. Next project has been added to the list. Thanks for the help.

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 2511 days

#9 posted 2437 days ago

great idea dadoo ! if i come home and find one of my windows missing ill know where to look !! lol

View Sawdustmaker's profile


282 posts in 2429 days

#10 posted 2365 days ago

Makes me cringe when I think of all the old houses we pass everyday on the road with windows like this that are just rotting away. There’s life in those old places, they just need the right Lumber Jock to bring em back. Great work.

-- Brian, Virginia Beach

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