By Ric Hanisch

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Simplicity is something that appeals to me. 1 appreciate it in nature and I like to make it pari of the furniture I design xs well.

In this mirror frame, which was part of a run of 10, 1 chose a clean and simple design in which the complexity of form comes from the exposed mortise and tenon joinery. (See Fig. 1.) To provide a foil to the frame's severe geometry, I made the parts from bird's-eye maple, a difficult wood to work, but it gave me a kind of surface decoration that was irregular in a regular way.

You have to be very precise in cutting exposed mortise and tenon joints such as these or you'll end up with visible gaps. But as you'll see, they're not hard to make if you use a few shop-made jigs and work carefully.

As I do with all my projects, I started by making a scale drawing to show the proportions of the piece, and full-size drawings showing the joinery. Then I made a list of the construction steps. This is particularly important when building multiples, as I often do. because it forces me to think through the entire construction process. With this done, I sketched the jigs I'd have to build, noted the special tools I would need, and estimated the time each step would take.

I file this information when a project is done, so that years later I can quickly look back and see exactly how I made something.

Laying Out the Stock

I used paper patterns to luv out pans so it would Ix* easy to choose the best grain pattern for each piece and dodge around defects. Then, before dimensioning the wood, I cut the rails and stiles oversize on the handsaw. This left me more pieces to process, but this approach wastes less stock than if I planed the entire board to thickness before cutting out the parts. It also gives me more options for feeding parts through the jointer and planer. I can feed each part in the optimum direction for minimum tear-out.

After machining the parts. I trimmed them to final dimension and hand-planed the surfaces to remove planer marks and tear-out. It's important to plane before cutting the joints and assembling the frame. Otherwise.

Chamfer ends of stiles and tenons.

Tenon protrudes Vu in. beyond stile.

Bore Vi6-in. dia. holes to prevent splitting.

Note: Stiles and rails made from 7/fe-in. stock.

Rout rabbet in back face after frame Is assembled.

Note: Stiles and rails made from 7/fe-in. stock.

Cut Vi6-ln. stop chamfer on rails and stiles.

Chamfer ends of stiles and tenons.

Rout rabbet in back face after frame Is assembled.

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