A place for me to display some of the varied projects that come out of my shop, as well as to "talk" about some of my experiences working with wood.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Dressing Mirror holds a secret

After finishing the bedroom set for my oldest son I wanted to do something special for his girlfriend. We have known her since she was born and has always been a part of our family. Now that she is graduating from university and they are making a home together, we could not be more happy for them.

I wanted to make something personal that was just for her; they did not want a mirror for the dresser so we decided I would build a dressing mirror. Now everyone knows what this is, but I had a very difficult time finding examples online, let alone plans to build one – so a design from scratch was in order. Of course this started with a model to make sure the scale worked with the dresser:
The overall dimensions were designed around the mirror as I found a sample mirror from a local retailer that’s 12”x12” and nicely bevelled so the size was set.
Now as most woodworkers know, making something small does not mean it is less work; in fact, I have found the opposite to be the case. While this is just a box, mistakes are magnified as you scale the size down. here's a few pics documenting the build process.
It is important that the top and bottom panels be exactly the same size, here I am using my
Bill Carter tenon saw plane to clean up to the saw marks on the end grain.

The 3 vertical panels in the piece have 3/16" high tenons to fit into stopped grooves
in the top and bottom. This is the router jig I built to cut these grooves in the top and bottom.
 The mirror is supported by LV Mirror clips, which work nicely however they are not much to look at. To semi-hide them I put a lip on the front of the vertical supports to hide part of the hardware, to reduce the ugly factor. Once the exact spacing of the vertical members was determined it was time to fasten them to the top.

Lots a layout for a very tense cut. The vertical supports have a 1/4" deep tenon that is
let into a mortise in the top and screwed from below. This needed to be done before
the box could be glued up.

Can never have too many clamps...

Gluing some custom feet on the box and this part is complete.
I wanted to incorporate something unique and cool into this, and what’s cooler than a secret compartment. This was to be a simple unfinished box that fit behind the drawers and concealed as well as possible. These boxes slide into the drawer opening and a rare earth magnet holds them in place in the back. These are a piston fit for the voids so they look like they belong if one goes looking for them. Here’s a look inside:

A peek inside the box "showing" the hidden compartments. The piece you see at the bottom
is a "tongue" to pull out the hidden drawer and the drawer sides slide alongside this piece.

Time to cut the dovetails for the drawers, using my trusty David Barron guide on
my Moxon vise.

The mirror frame is to be a bridle joint and the table saw sled is the perfect way to cut these
accurately. My blade is a flat tooth rip which makes perfect grooves every-time.

The mirror frame in glue-up, the beveled glass is quite heavy, so I wanted a joint that
 would carry the weight and last forever.

The drawers are to hold jewelry and the drawer itself has walnut dividers and yellow leather base. Each drawer has a removable tray made from purpleheart and lined with black leather for rings and other bobbles. The overall width of the base is 22” which provides an incredible amount of storage in this amount of space.

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