Barn Wood Frames

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My wife always wanted an old barn wood framed mirror to put above our fireplace mantle. After building a new mantle and getting ready to take the final picture for my blog, I started to agree. I held off on publishing that post for nearly two months while I found the old weathered wood and mirror. I got lucky because one of my friends bought a house with an old horse pasture that he didn’t want anymore. He also remodeled his bathrooms and was going to throw away some giant mirrors. (The above picture is a smaller frame I made with the excess.)
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I started out with a 2″x6″ board which I ripped into three different boards. The board on the right is the three separate pieces put back together and the three on the left are what I ended up with. I basically cut 1&1/4″ off one side and ripped the rest down the middle.
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Using my router table, I took a notch out of each piece of frame so everything fit together. The molding on the side fit on the flat frame part and the glass fits in the notch on the right. If you pay attention, I’m actually gluing/nailing/clamping the larger frame together under the example side section.
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The larger frame that got a mirror was caulked to make it a little more sturdy. I was kind of hesitant not doing this since it was one heavy mirror and I didn’t want any of my corners to break apart after hanging it up.
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I decided to get fancy and got that large roll of brown paper that you always see on the back of paintings. I think it really put the “pro” touch on it even though nobody ever looks at the back. I also got a heavy french cleat hanging kit. I got a 6″ one, cut it in half and drilled some additional holes so I could install one half on each side of the mirror. (This really worked out good and calmed my nerves about hanging such a heavy mirror in old not so sturdy new wood.)
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I think that the end product really ended up good and makes the new mantle just that much better.

Lessons Learned

  1. Weathered barn wood can be pretty dirty. After ripping all of my boards, I laid them out in the driveway to clean them up and spray them off. I got worried while cleaning because the wood lightened up quite a bit. I started feeling better after they fully dried and the grey color came back.
  2. Older wood isn’t the straightest thing and can be harder to line up. When doing the larger frame I glued/nailed/clamped it together upside down and ended up with larger gaps in the joints than I wanted. The smaller frame I clamped front side up and it ended up much better.
  3. When cutting larger pieces of glass, make sure the part you are cutting off is also supported. This mirror was quite a bit larger than the table I use in my garage and I didn’t really think about support until after the portion I was cutting off was all over my garage floor.

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