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Printer Friendly Fitting Instructions for Acrylic Safety Mirrors in Stables for Horses and Ponies.

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Fitting Stable Mirrors

Fitting your new stable mirror
Please read all of the below before fitting, if you would like to print this out please use the print control from your browser window.

Basics
Stable Mirrors must be fitted properly to ensure optimum performance and safety. They are strong and flexible. Their reflective qualities are good but they need to be mounted completely flat to avoid distortions as they are felxible. They should be mounted to a sold wood backing such as Plywood or MDF before mounting in the stable. If you have a flat plywood lined wall then they can be mounted to that at an appropriate height so long as it is really flat.

They are delivered with a clear plastic cover over the mirror face and to protect the surface from accidental damage during fitting, we recommend this should not be removed until after the mirror is fitted in position.

PLease Note: If they are not fitted properly they can bow giving a 'bent' reflection.. If this occurs it can be corrected by removing the stable mirror and refitting correctly. Fitting a mirror incorrectly so that it is bowed or unsupported can also lead to cracking if it is pushed against.

Fitting is simple if you follow the simple guidelines below.
You must drill holes of the correct size, 2 - 3mm wider than the screws you will be using, before attempting to fit. If you do not drill holes but try and screw through the stable mirror it will break - you must drill holes of the right size first. (We can pre-drill for you before delivery but we require accurate details of the placing of the holes and there is a minimum charge of 5.00 for this - please call if you want more information)

Think about where to fit it before you start and see suggestions below. If you have a manger fitted in the stable it is advisable to fit the stable mirror away from this to avoid it getting food on it or belieiving it has a competitor about to steal its food!

 

Where to fit:
Horses and ponies suffer from boredom in stables fitting a stable mirror has been proven to reduce this significantly and to reduce or cure stable vices..

Fit it at a height where your horse or pony can see into it at a natural relaxed head height. The optimum height will vary from horse to horse and particularly for ponies For a large horse this will be approximately 1.5m from the ground to the bottom edge of the mirror but for a small horse or pony the distance should be reduced to suit. It must be able to see itself full face from its normal relaxed head carriage position.

Research has shown that a distance of 0.5m or thereabouts to one side of the door is a suitable position. However avoid fitting it close to a manger if you have one fitted. Your horse or pony is likely to get feed onto the stable mirror and may even think it has a competitor trying to steal its food!

 

Flat and Level Surface.
In fitting any stable mirror a Flat and level surface is necessary to prevent distortion or mechanical damage. Mechanical damage can occur if a stable mirror is not supported against a flat surface and pressure is applied to it, in extreme cases this could lead to splitting of the acrylic and potential sharp edges. NOTE - This can occur if mounted to a brick or blockwork wall without a backing plate.

Backing Plate :
We recommend using a waterproof exterior grade plywood of 3/4in (19mm) or thicker, this is because stables can be humid or damp on occasion and water penetrating the backing plate can make it swell or distort. The stable mirror, being flexible, will distort with its backing plate. MDF can be used but only if properly treated first, it provides an exceptionally flat surface - But it will absorb water from the atmosphere and swell unevenly if not painted with a waterproof primer paint, this also needs to seal thoroughly through the holes drilled for mounting. Read all safety precautions on MDF prior to using.

The simplest way is for the backing plate to be larger than the mirror so that the mirror is mounted to the backing plate and then the backing plate is mounted complete with mirror. If you mount a backing plate first - Remember that any screws fitted through this must be countersunk and flush with or below the backing plate surface or they will project out into the mirror and distort it.

Timber Stable:
If have a timber stable which has no interior cladding Do Not fit a stable mirror directly to the vertical timbers because this would leave the stable mirror unsupported in between them. A person or a horse pushing or leaning heavily on the stable mirror where it is unsupported between the joists could crack or break it.

If you have an unlined timber stable you MUST fit a solid backing plate between the joists and mount the stable mirror to this. If you have a stable lined to full height with plywood then you may be able to mount direct to this lining so long as it is flat and level. SEE THE DIAGRAMS BELOW.

A Blockwork or Brickwork wall may be flat enough for direct mounting but we always recommend fitting a plywood backing plate to mount the mirror on. It will also provide a little 'give' in the unlikely event that a horse kicked the mirror.

Plywood is recommended for backing plates and it should be good quality and thick enough to provide a solid backing (see above), this will depend on the distance between the upright joists.

    • TIP 1. Many diy stores have standard size plywood sheet or will cut to size for you. It is quite likely that one of the standard size sheets will to the upright timbers in your stable wall. Measure the distance between uprights in your stable and phone your local DIY stores to see if they have a stock size which will fit.
    • TIP 2 If you fix the stable mirror backing plate to the uprights using screws you will be able to move it easily if you want to. If you use nails to fix the backing plate you may find it difficult to take off is you want to move it.
Remember to work out the right height for your horse or pony before fitting - where your horse or pony can see into it at a natural relaxed head height. For a large horse this will be about 1.5m from the ground to the base of the mirror smaller horses and ponies are likely to need this to be lower.

Never attempt to Screw through the Mirror without first drilling a hole of the right size (2 to 3mm wider than the screw). Read the section on Drilling Mirrors overleaf carefully before proceeding.

Use wide headed screws and Use plastic mirror cover caps with the screws you fix with. These will protect the acrylic stable mirror from damage from the screw tightening onto its surface and the cover cap will ensure that there are no sharp edges on the screws that your horse or pony can touch. These are fitted over the screw before it is screwed up through the hole you have drilled in the stable mirror. Most hardware and DIY shops will stock them. Ensure that the screws are the right size for the plastic cover caps and that they fit comfortably through the holes you have drilled in your stable mirror.

When positioning the screw though the hole in the Stable Mirror ensure that it is central and not touching the sides of the hole, this allows for any minor expansion or contraction of the mirror through temperature changes.

Take Care with the final tightening of the screws, this should be by hand to avoid over-tightening. Over-tightening a screw into a wood backing plate or stable lining can cause the screw to be drawn into the wood and this may distort the stable mirror and cause star cracking around its fixing point. This will not happen if you avoid over-tightening the screw, if you see any distortion of reflection around the screw - slacken it off until this disappears.. For this reason use great care if you are using a drill to screw the screws in, stop before the screw is tight and finish off by hand. We can not accept any responsibility if you do not follow this simple precaution.

Cutting Stable Mirrors
We do not recommend that you try and cut stable mirrors and cannot accept any responsibility for this if you do. Even with very sharp and fine toothed saw blades there is a danger of cracking to the sides of the cut leaving sharp or dangerous edges

CAUTION: Fixing to the Wall or Backing Plate
If you are fixing anything to a building wall you must ensure that you have followed all normal safety precautions and particularly to ensure that you are not going to drill or screw into a power cable or water pipe ! This may seem unlikely in your stable but it is better to be safe than sorry, if in any doubt check first. .

Drilling Holes in Stable Mirrors.
Work out where the holes in the stable mirror need to be drilled before drilling and mark these with a felt tip. .We suggest that you use one screw every 50cm - 70cm along the long side and approximately 2.5cm in from the edge of the mirror. Try and line this up with any uprights behind a wall lining as above if possible and vary distances accordingly.

When you drill into Acrylic use a sharp drill as a blunt drill can cause cracking if it does not cut cleanly. There are special plastic drills available but a normal twist drill can be used. If you use one of these try and use a variable speed electric drill and drill at a slow speed setting to avoid the acrylic becoming hot.

Make sure your stable mirror is adequately supported before drilling.

When Drilling a Stable Mirror - DO

    • Make sure that the drill you are using will drill a hole a little larger than the screws you will be using. If in doubt drill a hole in a piece of wood and check that your chosen screws will fit through comfortably and snugly.
    • Use a sharp Drill Use either a 'plastic' drill bit or drill on a slow speed setting
    • Check the measurements and / or position you want holes to be in the stable mirror against the surface you will be fixing it too.
    • Mark the position you want the holes to be with a permanent marker before drilling
    • Make sure that the stable mirror is flat when drilling and supported behind the drilling area.
    • When drilling, be sure to hold or clamp the stable mirror securely to prevent it from cracking or slipping and presenting a safety hazard to the operator
    • Hold the drill securely in the position you want the hole to avoid the drill sliding to one side and start off drilling slowly
    • Back the drill out as necessary to free chips as you drill.
    • Wear safety glasses with any power tool.

     

    When Drilling a Stable Mirror - DON'T

    • Drill holes which are smaller than the screws you will be using - the hole should be 2 - 3mm wider than the screw.
    • Use a blunt drill
    • Drill too fast
    • Drill if the stable mirror is not held securely
    • Drill if the stable mirror is not properly supported
    • Drill in the wrong place - check your measurements carefully first !
    • Use a drill without safety glasses

Fixing to the Wall or Backing Plate
If you are fixing anything to a building wall you must ensure that you have followed all normal safety precautions and particularly to ensure that you are not going to drill or screw into a power cable or water pipe ! This may seem unlikely in your stable but it is better to be safe than sorry, if in any doubt check first.

 

Solid wall (block or brick)
We always recommend fitting a backing plate for mounting to a brick or or other solid wall. For fixing to a solid wall you will need to use wall plugs to fix into the wall and then screw the Backing Plate into these.

    If in doubt with any measurement or position check again before drilling or fitting to make sure it is right.

 

Cutting Stable Mirrors
We do not recommend that you try and cut stable mirrors and cannot accept any responsibility for this of you do. Even with very sharp and fine toothed saw blades there is a danger of cracking to the sides of the cut leaving sharp or dangerous edges. Our stable mirrors are laser cut to ensure completely clean cut edges.

If you require a specific size (or even shape) we can cut this for you; outside of our standard sizes we are happy to quote you a price for this.

Acrylic safety mirrors for horses and ponies in stables sold online or on ebay
"Horses are happier and more relaxed if mirrors are fitted inside their stables, scientists have found " Sunday Telegraph

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