Coved Mirrors

In Tutorial by jackmanworks@gmail.com2 Comments


These mirrors were created from reclaimed pine paneling and reclaimed mahogany deck balusters. Each section was glued up and then the coves were cut at an angle on the table saw and glued up again into the panels. The mirrors were repurposed from the center pieces at my sisters wedding. Enjoy the build!




Build Details

Materials – a stack of reclaimed pine 1x8s and 2×2 mahogany balusters. All materials for this project were rescued from the trash. Just doing my part. You’re welcome.

The pine is all cut down into 1.5″ strips.

And each of the mahogany balusters is cut down the middle.

I pulled out the thickness planer to take the gunk off the surface of the pine pieces and to take the rounded corners off to the mahogany. Everything is also brought down to consistent thickness.

Me and my special effects helper glue up a bunch of sandwiches. 4 of the pine strips are the contents of the sandwich and the mahogany is the bread.

I lay down all the sections into the clamps and flatten everything out. This is all done in one big glue-up but glue is left out in between the sections for a little something I have planed after the glue dries.

Just a couple pounds of weight on top of the glue up to make sure everything’s flat…

Once it is dry, we pull out the thickness planer again and run all of them through until they are flat and consistent with one another.

Once again, my special effects partner lends a hand.

Not for the faint of heart, I clamp an auxiliary fence onto my table saw. This is done at an arbitrary angle and is fine-tuned as I proceed through the cuts until the shape I get is perfect.

The purpose of the angled fence is to create a cove in the face of these pieces. It’s a slow process because you can only take 1/16 or 1/8″ off at a time.

With each pass I take off a little more and I adjust the fence as needed in order to get the cove centered. The steeper the fence, the wider the cove and the closer to square the fence is, the thinner the cove is.

When the coves are all cut, I move my regular fence back into place and cut 2 of the sections right down the middle because these will be the sides of the mirror frames.

I situate everything in the clamps temporarily for layout. I make sure all the pieces are where I want them and then draw lines on the back for my wood biscuit placement and also a triangle so I can get everything back where it goes during the glue-up.

I use a biscuit jointer to cut slots for the reinforcing biscuits.

This is a nice sloppy sandwich this time. The wood biscuits will help to reinforce the joint, but they also make sure that the pieces all line up flush with one another.

Everything in place and clamped up for the 2nd and final glue-up.

When the glue is all dried, I scrape off the excess with a paint scraper so the back face is smooth.

I then cut each of the mirrors into a square. From the stock I started with, I was able to make 4 mirror frames.

The center of the frames is marked on the back of the piece and my CNC is lined up there for the zero point.

I had 3 paths cut in each frame. One went all the way through for the hole for the mirror, the 2nd was a ledge for the mirror to rest on, and the 3rd was a ledge for the backer panel to rest on and be fastened to.

When these cuts are complete, I use one to trace out the circle onto some thin underlayment plywood for use as the backer panel.

These circles are all cut out on the bandsaw.

This part was inevitable and I couldn’t put it on hold any longer… sanding. I start by hand sanding the majority of the saw marks out using a PVC pipe wrapped in sandpaper.

Then I fine tune the sanding with an orbital sander.

At this point, the mirror can be put in place for a test fit before finishing.

And the backer panel is fastened into place.

Each one requires branding before the finish is applied.

Then for finish I brush on a few coats of shiny lacquer.

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to hang these, so I held off on this step. I ended up deciding to just cut a keyhole in the back of each of them using the keyhole bit mounted in the router on the CNC and manually cutting the slot.

Thanks for checking out this build!

Comments

  1. Norm

    This is the coolest stuff I have seen in a long time. I know the techniques aren’t particularly hard, but being precise is. Great work. It’s a pleasure to watch.

    Mahalo, from Hawaii. Norm

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