First-Surface Mirror - Question

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Forum topic by Adamal posted 01-20-2015 10:08 PM 787 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 2027 days

01-20-2015 10:08 PM

Hi all.

At my work, we’re throwing away several large mirrors from rear projection systems. They’re first-surface mirrors and measure at least 4’ x 5’ and they’re in metal frames. I’d guess they’re 1/4” thick.

I was wondering if there’s a reason these wouldn’t be good to scavenge for making smaller mirrors for around the house. Optically, they’re great, but they’re delicate.

Has anyone ever used these that could offer an opinion?


4 replies so far

View Sawdustonmyshoulder's profile


475 posts in 3654 days

#1 posted 01-20-2015 10:23 PM

They are great mirrors as mirrors go because the silver is on the front side of the glass. However, they are very prone to scratches from cleaning and will most likely not last long under the normal household use.

They are great for bouncing light around since there is no distortion from the glass.

-- The more skilled you are at something, the worse you are at it when someone is watching.

View BigMig's profile


440 posts in 2639 days

#2 posted 01-21-2015 03:15 PM

Although they’re first surface mirrors, they may have a durable coating that could make them feasible for home use. I’m familiar with first surface mirrors from astronomical uses (which do use special coatings for durability) and these may be useful – especially such large ones. Should be worth a try

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Adamal's profile


58 posts in 2027 days

#3 posted 01-21-2015 03:42 PM

Thanks guys. I’ll prolly grab one or two. I hate to see stuff like this go to waste.

Hey Mike, I see you’re from Lansdowne. I’m here in Collegeville. I was planning to hit the Woodcraft in Downingtown today, but the expected snow put the kibosh on that idea.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1425 days

#4 posted 01-22-2015 02:49 AM

Most (not all) first-surface mirrors are 1/4” thick. The back has no coating, so the back can be used if damaging the reflective coating is a concern. The only downside, is what they reflect will appear as if you are viewing it thru a 1/2” pane of glass. The light passes thru the glass, reflects, and passes thru the glass again. Some (probably cheaper) rear-projection TVs have second-surface mirrors.
Mirrors on their way to the trash = potential $$. Try selling some on Craigslist.
Once in a while, you’ll find a mirror that is a film stretched over a metal frame. the frame is reinforced with a rigid foam panel. If you can get 2, cut a hole thru the foam, place in front of your stereo’s speakers, wail till night, point lasers at them, pop in your fave rock or hip-hop CD, turn off the lights, and Up the volume! Homemade laser show!

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