Sunday, August 27, 2017
Mirroring is a process that is used frequently at Remark Glass, and it is quite an intense one. This is a chemistry based process that requires the utmost attention and cleanliness to produce acceptable results. In addition to needing to be clean, the surface of the glass that you are applying mirror to needs to remain wet throughout the entire process. This means that you need to work quickly and carefully to ensure no spots dry in the middle of the process. The results are stunning and worth this careful detail. However because we are dealing with things such as tin and silver in liquid chemical forms precaution must be taken as these can be very easily absorbed through the skin and wreak havoc on the human body. Safety is no joke when it comes to glass processes, and this one in particular.
To begin we start off with a clean glass object, for this I will describe the process of mirroring a hollow form on the inside. Again during this process the glass must remain wet at all times. First scrub the inside of the form with a solution of alconox and water ensuring to scrub the entirety of it. Rinse the solution off of the glass with tap water, at this point we need to be wearing gloves to make sure none of the oils from our hands transfer to the glass. We make sure not even the glove touches the surface of the glass however as even that could mess it up. Next is a scrub of CRL cleaner once with extra fine pumice, again a rinse of tap water and then another scrub of CRL cleaner without the pumice this time. Now we switch over from tap water to distilled water for rinses. Tap water will have too many impurities to continue using at this point and will interfere with the mirror forming correctly. We do 3 complete rinses with fresh distilled water each time. From here a wetting agent is added and allowed to coat the surface of the glass. At least 30 seconds of exposure to all surfaces to be mirrored is required. This is then followed by 3 more rinses of distilled water. Immediately after this the surface of the glass is tinned with a liquid tin solution again allowing all surfaces to be exposed for 30 seconds minimum. This is then carefully poured out and 3 rinses are done with distilled water. Now the big moment is approaching/already happening since we must work quickly. The silver for the mirror comes in 3 parts that must be mixed together immediately before use. Parts A and B are non reactive to each other so they can be mixed prior but once part C is added the time starts ticking for the silver to fall out of the solution. This is shaken along all surfaces to be mirrored until the appropriate level of mirror desired is built up on the surface of the glass. This may require more than one mix of silver solution. To finish it off 3 more rinses with distilled water is done and then a final rinse with denatured alcohol to remove any remaining water from the silver as it would tarnish. This is then dried until absolutely bone dry before a lacquer is applied to seal and protect the mirror surface.