Glen's recent post about the French cleat clamp rack in his shop reminded me about this installation job we did a few weeks ago. We had a client way up in the hills above Beverly Hills who needed a mirror installed in the master bedroom. Actually, six mirrors. They had bought these mirrors at an antique shop in New York. They were originally installed in the Toy Center building in Manhattan. They were heavy, with wood frames, each about 3' tall and nearly 4'wide. They were made to install as a tight grid, with no space between the mirrors. The final size was about 11' long and 6' high.
This was the only in my working with Perry where we didn't have the necessary materials in the truck to install something. We decided French cleats were the way to go, but we needed them to be very straight, and 11' long. We first saw the mirrors on a Friday, and told he client we'd have to come back the next week to do the installation. Since 11' long (or 12' long, for that matter) straight boards are hard to find at the Borgs, the next Monday I went to Bohnhoff Lumber (a big commercial lumber yard) and picked up four 12' long pieces of rough-cut poplar. Perry and I milled the lumber into nice straight cleats that afternoon, and installed the mirrors the next day.
Here are a few photos we took along the way. You might notice in a couple of the pics that the ends of the cleats are painted black. That's an old picture-hanging trick to make the cleat disappear behind the artwork...
And the finished installation. Nice bedroom, huh?
This was a pretty tricky installation, because everything had to be right on the money or else the six frames wouldn't line up right. We got them installed perfectly level and tight, but after looking at it, we realized that the base and crown molding weren't level, so we needed to tweak the whole assembly to make it look right. So we pulled the whole thing down and re-installed it, raising one end about 3/8". In the end, it looked great. (It was pretty common for us to have to tweak things to match unlevel trim or walls. We'd start with a bubble level but always finish with our eyes.)
And just for grins, here's the view out the bedroom window (and the living room downstairs, too)...
That's one of the reservoirs that stores drinking water for the west side of LA. It's not open to the public, but it makes for a nice view. You can buy the empty lot next door for a bit over $2 million.