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Topic: Best place to purchase mirror...
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (Jan 1, 2007 10:31PM)
I was wondering the best resource to purchase mirror for items such as Mirror Boxes and Duck Buckets?

Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 2, 2007 02:38AM)
Typically any glass supplier will have mirror in different thicknesses. They can cut to size what you need, and even polish/bevel the edges if you require that. Check your local yellow pages.

Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Jan 2, 2007 08:25AM)
At one time you could get mirrors silvered on the front instead of on the back. This eliminated the tell-tale lines on the edges of the glass. Also, you might want to check out stainless steel that has been polished to a mirror finish.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 2, 2007 12:30PM)
I've heard that front surfaced mirrors are expensive, and subject to damage if handled. What do you know about this Amos?

Depending on the usage, shiny aluminum, such as used by companies that make trophies and plaques works. I have used it with success for mirror glasses, and things that did not require a brightly lit perfect reflection. There is just a hint of cloudiness to this stuff.

I will be looking for double mirror (reflective surfaces on both sides). Is it best to just put two mirrors back to back, or is there a better option that anyone knows of?

Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Jan 2, 2007 06:00PM)
When I worked as a scientific glassblower, we used to apply silver (chemical process) to several of the items that we made. This silver coating is extremely thin and fragile. First surface mirrors are way too fragile for magic uses. If you examine glass mirrors, you will notice that the silver layer on the back is protected by a lacquer or painted coating. This prevents oxidation and scratching. Forget first surface mirrors.

The item I prefer to use for reflective purposes was something I first used over 50 years ago as I learned to make B&W prints in a basement darkroom. The item is termed a ferrotype plate. It is a highly polished metal plate for drying photos to get a glossy surface. They come in either plated or stainless steel. They are sold in sheets about the sizes of cookie sheets and have peel off protective coverings on both sides. You will require access to a good metal shear for cutting these without ruining them. They are the perfect solution for duck buckets, mirror glasses, mirror boxes, head boxes, sword boxes, etc. Do not try to cut these with anything but a commercial type of shear or nibbler. I use a jump shear for straight cuts and a profile cutting nibbler for odd shapes.

Ferrotype plates are available from photo processing supply outlets.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jan 2, 2007 06:38PM)
If you want to go on the cheap, I had some success using mirrored mylar which costs about $5/yard depending on where you go. This is obtainable at any plastics warehouse.

WARNING: while easy to cut and shape, and glue where you like it, if you need a perfect, distortion free, mirror, this is not for you. Great for a mirror box which you have moving when it is open, but not for close scrutiny.

I had a mirror made of mylar which Alice put her hand through in a production of Alice in Wonderland. The audience all believed it was a real mirror both before and after the effect.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 2, 2007 06:44PM)

Is this what is needed?

[url=http://www.bkaphoto.com/detail.asp?section=Darkroom&cat=Dryers/Film%20and%20Print&product=PRSS10]Premier Ferrotype Plates[/url]

Price is much cheaper than I thought.
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Jan 2, 2007 11:32PM)
That's it. Some places have a wider size range; but that's the item.
Message: Posted by: haywire (Jan 3, 2007 01:57AM)
In larger cities, there are actually mirror supply companies that have various standard size mirrors but will also cut to fit. I have an excellent one nearby me that has cut me a few to my request, and charged me amazingly little for this.

Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Jan 3, 2007 05:40AM)
Michael, they are subject to damage. If you want a double-sided mirror, look at the stainless steel option.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jan 3, 2007 09:12AM)
Mirror polish on stainless steel is a great option.

Jim, I remember using ferrotype plates in the darkroom for years. but then I also remember speed graphics. The plates are probably collector items and worth more that way. When they went to resin paper (which not very stable), they did away with a lot of the print drying equipment. I still have couple old dryers that I nurse along when I do darkroom work.

Message: Posted by: magicmarkdaniel (Jan 3, 2007 11:33AM)
I second Richard's idea. I have a Head Dagger Chest using Polished Stainless. No worries about it getting broken in transit. A much better option to glass. And as its not glass you don't get a 'double' reflection. You often get this double reflection with some plastic mirrors.

Message: Posted by: abrell (Jan 3, 2007 12:42PM)
I higly recommend acrylic mirrors. They do not break and don't have double reflections when the mirror is on the front of the perspex! Here are some European suppliers: http://www.alluvial.de http://www.gerriets.com http://www.seco-sign.de
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Jan 3, 2007 12:56PM)
I still own two Speed Graphics - a 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 and a 4 x 5. I lent them to my older son who takes many pictures of ancient ruins and rock art. The younger son got the lens from my enlarger to use on his. I still have my old ferrotype plates and small print dryer. The plates could not be beat for F type photo paper. I even used them with RC paper.

The ferrotype plates are still readily available and are not expensive. This is a much easier option than buying a full sheet (4' x 8') of polished stainless and trying to move/store it without bending, scratching, or denting it. The finish is like a mirror. The suppliers also sell a ferrotype plate polish - I suggest getting and using this.

Message: Posted by: kregg (Jan 3, 2007 10:31PM)
On 2007-01-02 09:25, amosmc wrote:
"At one time you could get mirrors silvered on the front instead of on the back. This eliminated the tell-tale lines on the edges of the glass."

I thought painting the edges solved that problem.
Message: Posted by: Bryan Gilles (Jan 3, 2007 11:06PM)
Would these suggestions work well for a flawless look in a mirror box or duck bucket? I remmebr hearing about "theater mirrors"... is anyone familiar with these?

I like the idea of an acrylic mirror (in fear of a glass one breaking).

Message: Posted by: leapinglizards (Jan 4, 2007 05:30AM)
By Theatre Mirrors you may be referring to a heat shrink mirror film one can buy from some theatrical houses. You basically staple it to wood frames, and then use a heat gun to shrink it and make it tight.

There were several kinds, some meant to be true mirrors, other meant to be slightly reflective for situations where you wanted people to get "Oh it's a mirror" without having to deal with lights reflecting off of them and blinding audience members.

I haven't used this stuff in about 20 years, will snoop for a supplier.

If you opt for acrylic/plexi mirror, use regular car was, and wax the front surface, this helps protect it from minor scratches, and use a black spray paint on the back to protect the back surface, or apply pressure sensitive vinyl. Test to make sure it doesn't eat into the film.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 4, 2007 10:30AM)
For what it's worth, Brasso will do wonders toward buffing minor scratches out of plexiglass.

Lexan mirror is another option... virtually unbreakable, very scratch resistant, but maybe more expensive.

I am still thinking polished chrome stainless steel, such as the Ferrotype plates, as being the best option. I saw a bath/shower mirror at Bed, Bath and Beyond while shopping with my wife last night. Overly priced due to the frame, mounting brackets, etc., but very nice mirror qualities. It appeared to be polished on both sides, which would help keep the mirror quite thin... a plus for some applications.

I have at least one project on the drawing board that will require a small piece of mirror, maybe 4" x 6", so when I have results to post, I will, although it may be a month or so.

Message: Posted by: Fredrick (Jan 4, 2007 02:48PM)
I have had great success with Tapp Plastics' plastic mirror material. They have a website that lists their products. If they have a retail location, I recommend going into talk with their staff. They cut to size and can provide additional pointers.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Jan 4, 2007 04:50PM)
On 2007-01-03 23:31, kregg wrote:

I thought painting the edges solved that problem.

Actually, another problem is the double reflection you can get when the mirror is silvered on the rear.
Message: Posted by: RiserMagic (Jan 4, 2007 08:59PM)
When I suggest using ferrotype plates, this suggestion is based upon LOTS of experience. Using a plastic mirror on anything like a duck bucket would be less than ideal. I realize that choices need to be made based upon the builder's limited equipment for shaping the required mirror. A professional builder will acquire the correct equipment needed for the job at hand or hire it out. This is a major criteria for the amateur builder. (Actually there is a simple; but effective way for the amateur to cut the metal mirror. Those who really know their tools will be able to figure this out.) For me the major criteria is deciding what material will best do the job. For something like a duck bucket a metal mirror is a much better choice than any form of plastic. One concern must be durability. Plastic will scratch and "frost over" much quicker than the harder chromed metal surface (keep the metal polished with ferrotype plate polish). But the biggest concern all of the inexperienced people have overlooked is STATIC ELECTRICITY! A plastic mirror will have a surface charge after being dusted off prior to a performance. To this charged surface will adhere all of the loose feathers floating around the vicinity of the duck. When the interior of the bucket is supposedly shown empty, instead of emptiness the audience will see feathers seeming floating the the center of the empty bucket interior! I would suggest doing the job correctly or not at all. Crappy construction translates into exposure during a performance.