Period dressing mirror project #1: ground zero.

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Blog entry by ELCfinefurniture posted 01-24-2012 06:13 AM 1207 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I have two weeks before starting at NBSS. I have been kicking back to be honest before school starts however I wanted to still take on a project that bring me right up untill day one. I wanted something small, yet complex and involved.
My wife loves her makeup and likes to agonize over it for a long time like a finish. Not that she needs it but its her thing. So I thought what more of a perfect piece to make then a period style dressing mirror. I am basing this one on a federal one from Boston MA around 1810.
It has french style base with flared feet. The feet will need to be wedged to get the flair which will be interesting.
The example I found had two drawers but I am opting for one larger drawer. I simply think it looks better.
I am assembling the whole case part with dovetails. Half blind pins on the sides and tails on the top and bottom. On the original it appears that the top over hangs the sides and front of the case, however I am opting out of this and plan to have the dovetails showing through to be a focal point as well as some inlay work I will do on the top.
The whole front of the case is curved. Nothing fancy just a slight arc, which the drawer follows as well obviously.

I will be making this out of Cherry. I had some pieces of large 8/4 Cherry that I resawed up on the band saw to use. I rough planed it with my number 6 to get it close to final dimension and then stickered my 4 pieces up for them to finaly acclimate. After that period I then followed up with other planes and once the joinery Is done I will hit all surfaces with a scraper and then sand paper lightly.
I took extra care when planing these. All the parts came out to just under 3/4 which I am perfectly fine with. The extra care was taken because All corners get a dovetail and I want to be positive I have nice flat and sound parts to make construction go smoother.
I first use a marking guage on the sides to indicate my base lines, then I use my nice dovetail ramp block I made to layout the pins. (I cut pins first) The block is made of solid Purple heart and has rabbet along its length to allow it to sit on the edge of a board and be clamped. The ends are at a 1:7 angle perfect for DT. I simply located where I personaly felt all my pins looked best, made sure my faces were orriented properly and then marked all the pins with my block. I dont use a marking knife on these. Just a sharp pencil. I saw down the line with my DT saw stopping right at both of my base lines, being extremely carefull not to go past these. (One of these which I started to of course!). After that I remove the bulk of the waste with a laminate trimmer and a straight cutting bit. Be carefull not to go past ANY of your marking guage lines with the router if you choose to do it this way. We will pare to these lines later with chisels. Also I keep my router set about a 32nd above final depth, I will pare to THIS line as well.
Once all the waste is removed I pare down the back shoulder with my widest chisel that fits and then do the same to the floor as well. Next is where that hand ramp block comes in again. I slide it up to my tails in order, just in line with my pencil like and clamp it down. Now as long as I keep my chisel flat and ensure it rides on the block. This will leave you with perfectly 90 degree walls on your pins, as well as symetrical angles on all of them.

Next I will layout the tails out and cut them out.

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

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