This slim and eleganl free-standing dressing mirror is a very rewarding piece to build. We used 10% board feet of cherry. The 14 x 54" mirror was purchased at a discount store and stripped of its cheap plastic frame.
Start construction with the base. Enlarge the pattern squares on template stock and transfer the shape of the feel. Lay out the wide dadoes and cut with repeated passes of a dado cutter. Next, the feet can be bandsawed to shape. Cut them slightly oversize to allow for slight irregularities and final shaping.
The tenon at the lower end of the upright supports is the widest point on the supports. Cut this for a snug fit in the foot dado and leave the tenon at least W long to be trimmed flush with the foot bottom after the joint is secured.
Locate the ^-diameter holes in the uprights through which the M" bolts will pass. Use a drill press or doweling jig to bore these holes as it is very important that they be bored true. Sand the uprights and feet, then glue and clamp them together. When the assembly is dry, use a rasp or cabinet file to shape a smooth curve from the feet to the uprights, and give a generous radius to all sharp edges.
The base crossmember is cut from stock, and both the crossmember and the feet are bored for four % x Idowel pins. The top edge of the crossmember is exactly flush with the top edge of the feet. Glue and clamp the crossmember between the feet and keep the assembly square by clamping a piece of scrap, cxactly the same length as the crossmember. between the upper ends of the uprights. Use a try square and framing square to make certain that all parts are squarely joined.
The four parts of the mirror frame are cut to length and notched for a half-lap joint at the corners. Join the frame with glue and wood screws driven from the back as shown, or drive the screws in from the front, counterboring them for the insertion of decorative plugs. The mirror rabbet on the back of the frame is easily cut with a router and %" rabbet bit and pilot. The rounded corners are then squared off with a chisel.
In keeping with the clean, contemporary lines of the base, the front inner edge of the frame is not molded but rather simply rounded off (as shown in the frame section detail). This process can be done by hand or with a router.
To locate the holes in the frame for the adjusting bolts, place a piece of %"-thick scrap along the top of the crossmember and rest the mirror on it. Use a pencil through the upright holes to mark the frame sides for drilling. Again, use a drill press or doweling jig to insure that the holes are bored true.
Drill holes deep enough to take %" threaded inserts. These inserts have an inside thread for a V*" bolt, and sharp outside threads to cut into the wood. A screwdriver slot in one end provides the means of inserting them. They can be purchased in some hardware stores or by mail from Brookstone Co., 127 Vose Farm Rd., Peterborough, NH 03458.
The adjusting screws are made from 2!4" carriage bolts with their heads cut off and inserted into I ^"-diameter wood drawer pulls. Drill the pulls for a tight fit on the end of the bolts and dab a bit of epoxy on the bolt before twisting into the pull.
There will be about of space between the frame sides and uprights. This is taken up with a thin hardwood washer cut by hand or with a hole saw and electric drill. Fiber washers can also be used.
The mirror may have a cardboard backing glued to it. Do not try to remove it, as you'll surely scratch the silvering and spoil the mirror. Strip the commercial frame from the mirror and insert the mirror into the frame rabbet. It should fit easily.
If it's tight, ease the rabbet a bit. Cut a 'A" plywood back for the mirror. This piece is held in place with three thin cleats screwed at each end to the frame.
Finishing is a matter of preference. We gave our mirror a very light coat of walnut stain to accentuate the grain, and finished up with three coats of W'atco Danish Oil, a penetrating sealer that leaves a soft hand-rubbed glow.
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