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Dealing With Damaged Hutch Mirrors

Hutches, the upper cabinet section of a pump organ, do not always have mirrors, but there’s a large number of them that do.

It's understandable, with the passing of 100 plus years, that the "silvering" on the back of hutch mirrors can quite often develop some faded spots, or streaks.

If the mirror(s) appear to have only a few spots or streaks, it's probably a good idea to leave the mirror alone. After all, antiques aren't supposed to look like new.

Over the passing of many decades, pump organs can up a few bumps and bruises, it's to be expected. Besides, it can also add a little character and charm.

If, on the other hand, you feel that your hutch's mirror should look like new, these antique mirrors can be repaired using a process known as "resilvering." Unfortunately, resilvering can be expensive and not that healthy.

Important note: A century ago antique mirrors were "silvered" with a reflective material that contained a considerable amount of lead. Today, we know that lead can be a dangerous material; therefore, caution should be taken in coming in contact with this silvering material. If you decide to disturb this backing material, be sure and use some kind of face mask and protective gloves. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

Do-it-yourself resilvering kits can be expensive, and the results maybe less than ideal. Replacing the mirror is one method of "repairing" a badly damaged mirror - but it can be expensive.

However, a quick-fix for a mirror's badly worn reflective backing may be in your kitchen. Although this may not be a perfect solution it can certainly help disguise the damage.

A piece of smooth aluminum foil  can be taped to the back of the mirror to disguise the damaged area. The foil might work well enough to camouflage the damage, and more than likely no one will notice it unless you point it out to them.

If you decide to try taping a piece of aluminum, keep in mind that removing the tape may further damage the reflective backing.

Note: It's important to mention that attempting to clean the back of a 100 year old antique mirror with any kind of household cleaning solutions can permanently damage the reflective backing - and may not be that healthy, too.

If the back of a mirror appears dusty and dirty, just leave it allow. There's no need running the risk of permanently damaging the mirror, or you.


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