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Question DetailsAsked on 8/31/2013

Can a small scratch in an old mirror be repaired?

This is an antique mirror and there are many qualities about the mirrored part itself such that I don't want to put a new mirror in the old frame. There are two parallel scratches about a half inch long and the mirror itself is about 20 x 30.

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5 Answers


Yes if it passes the fingernail test. If the scratch is big enough for the end of your fingernail to fit in then take it to a professional. Otherwise, clean mirror, apply silicone caulk with a toothpick. Let it dry thoroughly. Take straight edge razor blade and shave off excess at the same level as the mirror. It doesn't take the scratch away but it covers it nicely.

Answered 6 years ago by BluButterfly


Clear superglue also works nice and doers not have the slight haziness most silicone caulks have - fill scratch slightly overfull, let harden, then cut the excess off with a single-edged razor blade at a low angle to the mirror - say about at a 20-30 degree angle from flat.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


I'm so grateful to the two of you for taking the time to offer your responses.

By saying to cut it at "20 or 30 degrees" - I assume the goal is still for it be flat like the rest of the mirror but this angle helps to cut into the glue, is that right?

Thanks again!

Answered 6 years ago by PuzzledinManhattan


There are several ways to make your repair as you can see. I have even heard of using clear nail polish. The good thing is if one option does not suit you then you can always clean it out and try another. Good luck. And thanks for the kind response.

Answered 6 years ago by BluButterfly


Sorry I was not clear about that - you want the razor blade to be fairly close to flat to (or parallel with) the glass for several reasons -

1) if it is at a high angle, it can hook and lift or peel the filler out of the scratch rather than cut it

2) at a high angle, the razor can scratch the mirror - yes steel can scratch glass surfaces

3) at a low angle (near flat to the glass) it will slice through the filler at the glass surface smoothly, rather than maybe "chatter" across it. Think blackboard chalk - at a high angle (near 90 degrees) it chatters across the board and makes that lovely sound everyone loves (well, at least school kids), but at a flat angle it slides across smoothly - the flatter the angle, the less chatter and the smoother the cut. Using a diagonal slicing motion rather than straight along the line of the scratch work best - just like a knife slicing through meat or vegetables makes a much neater cut slicing than chopping.

The clear fingernail polish idea I have heard also as working well, but some brands yellow with exposure to light over time (so does not work well on windows) - the key is use something clear that will stick to the miniscule surface area you are working with, and dry non-sticky and waterproof so it will not accumulate dirt as you clean the mirror.

If whatever you use does eventually yellow with age, lacquer thinner (fingernail polish remover) will dissolve it and clean the scratch so you can reapply - should not have to be done more than about every 10 years or so unless you are a mirror and glass cleaning fanatic.

Happy viewing.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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