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October 21, 2012

The M stands for Mirror.

Middle of this week I got wind of another auction taking place, this time it was a bar/club downtown that was closed and liquidating everything in the joint. I was thinking that the bar stools could be of use for my office (we’re moving in a couple months, and need some higher chairs/stools), but they were generally cigarette-burned or stained. But I did see this super cool gigantor mirror on the wall. Not so useful for the office, but it would certainly be at home at B.A.B.

And I won it for just a couple hundred bucks!

Perfect for primping

I was told by the older 20-somethings in my office that this bar was a popular hangout for younger 20-somethings, so I can imagine lots of primping happening in this humungous mirror. Unfortunately I had a much humbler future in mind for this Big Ass Mirror.

The biggest challenges: 1) Getting it safely off the wall and down to the ground, and 2) transporting it safely home.

The online auction ended Thursday night, and pickup was on Saturday, so I had some time to design a way to safely rig the Big Ass Truck to carry a mirror that was longer than its bed. (BAT bed was 8′-2″ long; mirror was 9′ x 5′.)

I asked our friend Eric to help out, and if you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that he’s become our go-to-guy for things weird and puzzling.

Eric met me at the bar. The mirror was mounted to the wall pretty high up; the bottom edge was around 5′-6″ off the floor, connected along a continuous channel on the wall, which bore all of the weight. At the top edge, over 10′ high, there were six straps of metal that were screwed into the wall and the mirror frame, allowing the mirror to tilt down at about a 10-degree angle.

We literally noodled on how to take this sucker down for over an hour. We did not know how much it weighed, so that factored into every possible solution. And the fact that it was so high up added additional danger – the straps, if needed to be cut, could only be accessed from a tall ladder. (Fortunately I spent about two hours in the morning gathering up tools, ladders, screws and anything else I could think of that would be useful on this mission.) Another option was to ask (or hire?) someone there to push the top edge of the mirror against the wall with a long 2×4 as Eric & I lifted the bottom edge off the wall.

I’ll stop here because the 17 other removal options and 55 minutes of debate would just bore you. The final answer is that Eric suggested that we use the conduit pipe behind the mirror as a “safety connection” for the top edge of the mirror while we lifted and then lowered the mirror from the bottom edge. I climbed a ladder, carrying a sacrificial 2′ length of tie-down webbing, and rigged a loop around the conduit. We would cut all straps except this new webbing loop, then lift the mirror off its channel and lower the whole thing down.

I told Eric: “This mirror was only a couple hundred bucks, so if things go crazy and we’re about to lose control, just let it go; it’s not worth getting hurt by shards of glass. Cover your face and your jugular.”

But in what seemed like seconds, we had it off the wall and resting on a borrowed table.

Eric admiring his simple lowering solution.

That was quite a relief – and everything from here on out seemed rather simple. It weighed a lot less than we expected.

Next step was to build the frame that would hold this mirror in the B.A.T. We got several suggestions that we should have hired a professional glass mover to move the mirror. Naaaaaaahhhhhh… we can rig up something…

I’m not going to go into the details of the carrying frame in the bed of the truck, but basically I planned ahead and brought some 10′ long 2×6’s, and various lengths of other 2-bys in case we needed to assemble something on the fly. What I didn’t want was the mirror to be supported on just two points – the truck bed gate and the front edge of the bed, creating a bouncy situation. The 2x supporting frame solved this problem.

We carried the mirror out of the bar and down the busy downtown sidewalk. Just as we were exiting the door, the guy that runs the auction said to us: ‘Hey that looks like a lot of cartoons I’ve seen…” and I got visions of some car or pedestrian plowing right through this huge mirror.

We laid the mirror flat on the frame in the back of the B.A.T. Took some finagling.

The B.A.M. loaded in the B.A.T.

Smoother sailing now – Heavy lifting generally over. I threw another moving blanket over the mirror and tied a strap across it so it couldn’t bounce up as I drove home.

I contemplated my available routes, thinking which would be least bumpy. I opted for the highway route, thinking it would be smoothest and I could go the minimum 40mph speed.

But my immediate path from downtown to the interstate went through some construction sites – and there were a few moments where I had to go just 3-5mph to minimize bumps, driving the entire way with emergency flashers on. I watched the mirror in my rear view mirror all the way home. My biggest fear was that the whole thing would crack, sending shards all over the road and raining down on the cars behind me.

But the trip went very well – though I’m sure sure some people were annoyed that I was driving the minimum 40mph on the interstate. I’ll say my internal “Mario Andretti” hasn’t seen me drive that speed, well, forever, so it was a personal struggle for me to not drive faster.

It all paid off, as I was able to pull up at home with the mirror totally intact.

The B.A.M. in the B.A.T. at the B.A.B.

One final move: get the Big Ass Mirror out of the Big Ass Truck and into the Big Ass Building. Eric didn’t have time to come to BAB; he had some family commitments. So I left it in the truck for a while. (Though Eric offered to come by later in the evening – what a guy!)

Sue & I were having guests over for dinner – just happened to be a couple of my fellow partners at work and their wives. So in-between the appetizer and the soup course, I asked Tom M and Dan M if they were up for moving a Big Ass Mirror out of the truck and into the building. They said “Sure!” so we went for it, and in less than 10 minutes we had the B.A.M. in the foyer of the B.A.B.! Super awesome.

After a wonderful dinner and conversation, Sue and Lucy stared into the mirror after our guests departed. I wondered which one of them was saying:

“Hmmmm, this will look really awesome in my Big Ass Closet…”

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Conery permalink
    October 22, 2012 6:37 am

    Now I am really embarrassed that I could not remove a 4×3 mirror without cracking it.

    • Tom permalink*
      October 22, 2012 9:59 pm

      Hey Dan. Maybe you should have wasted an hour like we did just thinking about taking it down…

  2. Maurine Pruchnicki permalink
    October 21, 2012 10:01 am

    Yeah, Susan, I think it belongs in your closet! Love, Mom

    • Tom permalink*
      October 22, 2012 9:57 pm

      It will probably end up there eventually!

      • Sue permalink
        October 26, 2012 10:45 am

        Who’s the fairest of them all?
        Lucy, of course!


  1. The Lobby, Today | B. A. B.

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