metals4U customer Harry Brooks shows us his latest brass project.
Here at metals4U we love to see what projects our customers complete with our products. We know from the range of stock we sell that it could end up anywhere. We were delighted when Harry Brooks, one of our repeat customers, took the time to share the process of making his magnificent polished brass mirror- not only does it look amazing, it cost him a fraction of the price he had seen one selling for at an exclusive interiors shop.
Here is Harry’s journey through the project in his own words.
My wife had the idea of making a large circular mirror from polished metal ages ago, inspired by brass nameplates with the edges worn smooth by decades of weekly polishing. Then a couple of weeks ago we happened to see one for sale on the website of an upmarket London furnishings store.
It looked stunning, with a minimal design that let the gentle ripples of the polished metal take centre stage. The price for the bigger ones was pretty eye-watering, but I felt sure it would be easy enough to make one at home for a fraction of the cost.
I'd used metals4U previously, so that was the first place I looked for the brass. I chose 0.9 mm thick brass with a mirror polish. They can supply any dimensions you want, so I went for a 65 cm square.
The brass comes with a protective film on the polished side, and I left that in place until the build was finished. I had some 12 mm plywood lying around, so I used that as the backing. MDF would work just as well. I drilled a 25 mm hole in the plywood so the nail used to hang the mirror could be recessed, allowing the mirror to sit flush against the wall.
Having clamped the brass and the plywood together it was simple enough to draw a circle on the wood with a string-and-pencil compass. A metal-cutting jigsaw blade cut through the brass and plywood sandwich very easily.
You could stick the brass to the backing before cutting, but gluing brass can be a bit tricky, so I wanted to avoid stressing the bond. I also sanded the brass before applying a layer of construction adhesive. The oxide layer that forms on the surface of the metal won't glue well, and a rougher surface should bond better.
With a thin layer of glue applied, I pressed the surfaces together and clamped everything in place using pieces of wood to spread the clamping forces so the mirror surface would remain more or less flat.
Once the adhesive had cured, I sanded the plywood edge and applied a few coats of paint in a colour that would contrast with the paintwork of the wall where I wanted to hang the mirror. I lightly sanded the edge of the metal to bevel the edge and prevent the protective film from spoiling the painted edge.
Peeling off the film to reveal the immaculate polished metal beneath was very satisfying!
It's difficult to capture the colour of the brass in a photo, but it looks great. You could lacquer the surface to prevent it from tarnishing, but I'd prefer to watch the gradual erosion of polishing, just like on those old nameplates.
Well, we are sure you would agree he has made a fantastic job of that; if this has inspired you to tackle your own project in brass, why not check out our in depth technical guide here.