Modern Aluminum & Wood Bathroom Mirror

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This bathroom mirror uses all three of the main elements we are incorporating into our bathroom design: Squares, wood, and a brushed nickel look.  It was a great opportunity to use aluminum in a woodworking project. And aluminum is a great material to work with because it is soft enough to cut with regular woodworking tools.

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I picked up a thin sheet of aluminum at the hardware store and cut it, and some boards into oversized strips. Making the frame pieces wider will give me some breathing room when I laminate the metal to the wood. I’ll rip them to their actual widths after they are glued up.

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To laminate the metal to the wood strips, I first cleaned off all the pieces using lacquer thinner.

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Next, I brushed on contact cement. To use contact cement, you need to spread it onto both surfaces that you want to glue together. Unlike other glues, the important thing about contact cement is to let it dry before sticking the two pieces together. They will bond instantly, so figure out a way to position the pieces and carefully press them together. You only get one shot at this: once the two parts stick together, you can’t reposition them.

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I used some dowels to keep the pieces separated and  removed them one by one, starting in the center and working my way to the ends. If you have a firm, rubber roller, that will work best. I don’t have one, so I just rolled them together with a larger dowel.

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Once they were dry, I squared up the frame pieces with my edge jointing jig and cut them to their final sizes.

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I cut the miters using my miter sled.

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And glued everything together with wood glue.

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To remove scratches and sharp edges, sanded the aluminum with 220 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to 800 grit.

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I finished with a synthetic scrubbing pad. Fine steel wood would work too. This will bring the metal finish up to a smooth “brushed satin” look.

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I attached a french cleat hanger. To ensure the frame sits flush to the wall, I recessed the hanger into the wood.

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I mounted aluminum to thin pieces of plywood and attached these decorative squares to two corners using epoxy.

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Finally I dropped in  the mirror and a plywood backer board. I held these in place with glazing points using my point driver.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. What kind of stapler did you use to secure the mirror? I have not seen anything like that at Lowes/Home Depot and would like to know where I could find it. Thanks!

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