Corner Blocks

Cross banding

Inlay stringing

Inlay stringing

NOTE: Use miter guide block to create 45° miters on cross banding

Inlay stringing

The only other pieces of the frame that are left to make are the corner blocks. What sets the corner blocks apart are the marquetry medallions. These intricate patterns are formed by many pieces of wood that are colored, cut to size, and then glued to a wax paper backing.

The medallions are surrounded by a thin inlay stringing and veneer cross banding. Like the frame pieces, I made the comer blocks by starting in the center and working out.

THE BLOCKS. Making the corner blocks starts by cutting them to size from 1 Vis"-thick stock. Unlike the frame pieces, the corner blocks are

Marquetry pattern

Diagonal -layout lines

CORNER BLOCK

NOTE: Cross banding and inlay strips are cut-to-fit visible, so I cut these from mahogany. Once the blocks are sized, you're almost ready to start adding the details. But before you do, it helps to draw diagonal layout lines on the top of the corner block. The lines will make it easier to position all the pieces on each block.

MEDALLIONS. Like I said before, the first piece to add is the square mar quetry medallion. The medallions 1 used weren't exactly square. So I came up with a technique that makes it appear square once it's complete (box below).

When gluing the medallion down, you'll need to "eyeball" it to get it roughly centered. I glued it with the paper backing up. It can be easily sanded or scraped off later.

INLAY STRINGING. To help square up the look of the medallion, a thin black inlay stringing is wrapped around it. And rather than butt these strips tightly to the medallion, I glued them on as square as possible. While this leaves some tiny gaps around the border of the medallion, the dark color of the inlay strip will mask them (detail below).

Align corners of

Use mitered spacer to fit first piece

Inlay stringing

Straight border piece is used to square up sides of medallion

Apply Inlay Stringing. Black inlay stringing sets off the medallion. Since the medallions may not be square, don't glue the stringing tight against the medallion. Instead, use the inlay to help square up the pattern. The tiny gaps won't be visible.

Placing Medallion. Use diagonal layout lines to roughly center the marquetry medallion on the corner block.

Apply Inlay Stringing. Black inlay stringing sets off the medallion. Since the medallions may not be square, don't glue the stringing tight against the medallion. Instead, use the inlay to help square up the pattern. The tiny gaps won't be visible.

How-To; Squaring Marquetry Medallion

Inlay stringing

Straight border piece is used to square up sides of medallion

Align corners of

Use mitered spacer to fit first piece

Completing the Corner Block

Completing the Corner Block

Rout Roundover. After trimming cross-banding, rout a slight, shouldered roundover on all four edges.

Cut Grooves for Splines. Rout a groove in two sides of each corner block and the ends of the frame pieces to hold a spline.

CORNER BLOCK

NOTE: Use mitering guide block to cut cross banding ends to fit

Add Veneer Cross Banding. Cut cross banding strips from a sheet of straight-grained veneer. Note grain direction.

Rout Roundover. After trimming cross-banding, rout a slight, shouldered roundover on all four edges.

Cut Grooves for Splines. Rout a groove in two sides of each corner block and the ends of the frame pieces to hold a spline.

Corner - block assembly

■ / J^- ' Frame ( rail Chisel or sand extra-wide splines flush with frame edge

Frame rail edge and corner block edges are flush

SPLINES

r/ax23A)

Corner block - assembly

CUTTING MITERS. The miter joints on the inlay strip are cut with a chisel like the inlay on the frame pieces. But instead of using a miter block, I used the layout lines on the corner block to line up the chisel. Then it's just a matter of cutting and fitting each piece as you work your way around the marquetry medallion.

CROSS BANDING. The final piece you'll add to each corner block is a strip of cross banding. The narrow banding is crosscut from a larger sheet of straight-grained veneer. Just note that the grain runs across the width of the strips. These pieces are then mitered and fit to the block the same way as the thin inlay stringing that was just applied.

There's just one last thing to do before moving on to the joinery. And that's to rout a roundover on all four edges of the comer block. When setting up for this detail, I created a slight (3/32m) shoulder so the cross banding strip really stands out.

SPUNE JOINERY. With all the details of the frame taken care of, you're ready to connect the eight parts (four frame pieces and four corner blocks) into

Frame top rail assembly

Frame side rail assembly the frame. To keep things simple, I used spline joinery. The '/¿-^* drawing above shows how it works. A groove in the end of each piece creates a pocket for a thin spline.

But there's one thing to watch out for. When cutting grooves on the ends of the frame pieces and the end grain of the corner blocks, if s a good idea to back up the workpiece to prevent tearout (box below).

Once the grooves are routed, you can make the splines. Note: The grain direction runs across the joint line. I cut the splines extra-wide and trimmed them flush after the glue dried. This way I didn't have to worry about keeping the splines aligned while the frame was assembled, as in detail 'a' above.

Frame bottom rail assembly

Corner block assembly

ASSEMBLING THE FRAME. Speaking of assembling the frame, I found that one way to make the process a little less hectic is to do it in two stages. Start by gluing up the ends of the frame first. In my case, I glued a short frame piece to two corner blocks. The second stage of the process is to connect these two assemblies together with splines and the remaining two frame pieces.

LONG STOP

SHORT STOP

SHORT STOP

D-ring hanger with screws

LONG STOP

Kraft paper attached to mirror with spray adhesive securing

NOTE: Stop made from 3/s"-thick stock

D-ring hanger with screws

At this stage of the game, the frame is pretty well complete. There are just a few things left to do to fit the mirror in place.

ROUTING A RABBET. The first thing to do is to rout a rabbet in the back face of the frame to hold the mirror. Since the frame is already assembled, this is not the time for any problems like tearout. To avoid this, I routed the rabbet in three passes, as you can see in the box below.

The first pass is a light, skim cut with the bit set for the full-depth of the rabbet. I backrouted this cut to prevent chipout on the edge. The second pass is routed clockwise against the bearing but the bit is a little shy of the full depth. And the final pass is a clean-up cut. The bit is set at full depth to skim off the waste and complete the rabbet.

Now, the large router bit can't get into the corners of the frame. So you'll need to go back and square them up with a chisel. I used a pretty wide chisel here to help keep the

THIRD: Final pass at full depth cleans up rabbet

Rabbeting bit

Direction of second and third passes

Rout shy of rabbet depth

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