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Craftsman Style Framed Mirror #1: Starting off, mortises, tenons, a curve, some glue, and clamps

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Blog entry by iamcliff posted 389 days ago 1439 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Craftsman Style Framed Mirror series Part 2: crack repair and cutting a cove on the table saw »
  • I was initially going to post all of my progress when I posted the final project, but there were too many pictures and the project page would’ve been way too long, so I decided to do a blog series instead in order to track my progress.

So I’ve been building little small projects and shop stuff out of scrap wood and I decided I wanted to build something nicer. Plus, I’ve been woodworking for a year now and wanted something to challenge and develop my skills. I love craftsman style furniture and was looking for plans and I found a craftsman style framed mirror that looked like it would be good for me to do with the tools that I have. I wanted to build a morris chair at first, but that may be a little too daunting a task for me at this point. This project has mortises, tenons, cove molding, plus making another cove on the tablesaw, and you can make the whole thing out of one 1×8 board.

First of all, it would require me to spend money (which I don’t have much extra of with 2 kids) on wood. The plan calls for quarter sawn white oak, but that’s out of my price range and I’d have to travel to get it or order it online, plus I am learning and didn’t want to ruin such nice wood. So I bought an 8’ piece of 1×8 “premium” pine from Home Depot. I was looking through all of the $10 knotty 1×8’s first and was getting discouraged because of all the knots and warps, then the worker guy told me that it was their “No. 2” pine and the “No. 1” pine was across the aisle. No knots and straighter boards, but at double the price. My wife talked me into just getting it, so I did and was super excited to get started.

I first cut the main frame pieces to size which was easy enough on the tablesaw, then I set about to chop the mortises. Before this project, I had only cut 4 mortises on the child’s stepstool project on my project page. And, I used the drill press method. Didn’t work too well because I don’t have forstner (other than 2.5”) bits and the regular drill bits liked to walk. So I decided to chop these completely by hand.

Before I bought the wood, I had spent the day sharpening my 1/4” and 1” chisels using the scary sharp method.

Then I watched Paul Sellers on YouTube and learned how he chopped mortises.

I first laid out the mortises finally getting to use the Christmas gift my wife gave to me: a Veritas wheel marking gauge:

It was so much easier this time around and so much more accurate. Love it.

My first mistake happened here. I laid them out in the wrong spot. I used the measurements of the tenons, but didn’t realize that the bottom frame sits 1/2” up from the bottom of the stiles. So I started over. Luckily the other spots will be hidden by the rail.

Then I started chopping.

It was a little awkward, but I guess I’ll get used to it the more I do. Not too shabby, I thought. I then chopped out the other 5 mortises. It took a little over an hour, I guess, to do them all. They are by no means perfect, but good enough for my first try. It did get easier even by the last one.

Next, I cut the tenons out using the table saw and the cross cut sled.

The top rail was easy and I got it to fit into the mortises pretty easily, but the bottom rail had double tenons and it was a little more difficult. I would say that I had a hard time with it. The bottom rail just doesn’t fit perfectly and it bothers me. I didn’t know what to do to fix it. I chiseled the shoulders of the tenons in towards the center from both sides and it still won’t fit just right. I had to end up flipping around the bottom rail and finding which way looked the best from the front. There is a tiny gap in the top of the left side where it looks like the shoulder was cut a little too deep somehow on the tablesaw. I hope to be able to fill it with a small sliver of wood.

I then used a strip of hardboard and laid out the curve on the bottom of the rail, cut it out with the jig saw, then sanded it down to my line on the drill press with a drum sander.

It wasn’t really smooth, so I used the same piece of 1/8” hardboard I used to draw the curve and put a piece of sandpaper under it and sanded the curve by hand. It worked way better than I thought it would.

I used tape to help with squeeze out during the frame glue-up. Then I glued, clamped, and let it dry overnight.

I removed the clamps the next morning. I thought it looked pretty good.

I sanded the top edge to make it smooth so I could glue the cap on. I also sanded the sides edges to get rid of burn marks. Then I glued the cap on and left it overnight.

I happened to have a 1/2” cove bit for the upper cove like the plans called for. I routed it out and cut the cove pieces to length and started gluing it on.

And lastly, this morning, I finished gluing the small side pieces of cove molding and am in the process of fixing the gap between the top left of the bottom rail and the stile. I’m not sure exactly how well it will work, but I taped off around the gap and then cut a sliver of wood with my chisel. Then I put some super glue on the sliver and pushed it down into the gap. I will trim off the excess with my chisel later on. I hope it works.

All of this work has taken place over the last 6 days. I work full time and have 2 kids (the youngest is only 1 month old), so my woodworking time has been limited to around 9 to 11 every night after we put the oldest to bed.

Next will be the lower shelf and lover cove molding (which I’ll do on the table saw) and corbels.

Thanks for reading.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9



11 comments so far

View Douglas's profile (online now)

Douglas

284 posts in 1156 days


#1 posted 389 days ago

Well done, Cliff. You’re learning a lot and making due with what you have. Doing mortise and tenons in pine is sometimes trickier than in oak or other hardwoods because it can be easy to split out the mortises. But yours is looking good, and you took the right pop roach on that fix.

I don’t know how you’re planning on finishing it, but as its craftsman style, I’d guess you’re going to want to color it. For that, I’d suggest a gel stain, as anything else with pine is going to look blotchy and bad.

Looking forward to the next part.

-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com

View iamcliff's profile

iamcliff

463 posts in 749 days


#2 posted 389 days ago

Thanks Douglas, and thanks for the tip on using gel stain. I am making a note of that. The sides of the mortises did seem to dent very easily if I moved the chisel too much. I had to be very careful. My guess was that it was because pine is so soft.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9

View Douglas's profile (online now)

Douglas

284 posts in 1156 days


#3 posted 389 days ago

On the topic of gel stain for pine, here’s an example for you. We refurbished some old pine sash windows (they had totally alligatored 100 year varnish) and wanted to match some stained red oak trim. So I used gel stain on the pine, and got a very good match…

In that picture, The sashes are pine, the stops and casing are red oak.

-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com

View iamcliff's profile

iamcliff

463 posts in 749 days


#4 posted 389 days ago

Good, that is actually kinda the color I was wanting to go for. I like the medium to darker color I’ve seen in some stickley furniture here in town where I live. I stinking love stickley furniture.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9

View rfusca's profile

rfusca

155 posts in 440 days


#5 posted 389 days ago

“so my woodworking time has been limited to around 9 to 11 every night after we put the oldest to bed” ...I hear ya there, thats when I do it too. Kids, work, and wife make it difficult to find time to wood work. I got my wife interested in the ‘creative side’ (as she calls it) of woodworking – lathe turning and carving – so that’s been a plus. I hear ya on the budget too.

Looking great so far! It might be worth it to trek out to a real lumber yard though to pick up a few boards at a time. The price for premium pine at Lowe’s and HD is the price of Cherry or such at the lumber yard I go too. Lumber yard FAS white oak is half the price of big box premium pine for me. I was really really shocked the first time I went out to the yard and decided maybe it was worth the 30 minute drive. (In fact, Suwanee Lumber is about an hour from you. And this place looks like it might be nearby, http://hayneslumber.com/)

Looking good, keep it up.

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2076 posts in 1082 days


#6 posted 389 days ago

Good stuff. Your method for sanding out that curve is something I’ll have to remember.

-- Brian Timmons, Big T Woodworks - https://www.etsy.com/shop/BigTWW - http://vimeo.com/98821147

View iamcliff's profile

iamcliff

463 posts in 749 days


#7 posted 389 days ago

rfusca: thanks for the info. I really had no idea I could possibly get something comparable in price at a lumber yard as something from a home store. I have to buy surfaced or pre-milled lumber as I have no way of milling it or jointing at home. I already checked out Haynes lumber. They are super close by to me, but they only do construction grade lumber for framing and then other stuff like siding, columns, and such. They don’t do hard woods or exotics or anything. There is such a lumber yard 30 minutes away, though.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9

View iamcliff's profile

iamcliff

463 posts in 749 days


#8 posted 389 days ago

BTimmons: I actually saw the wood whisperer do that before with a thin piece of wood, which made me think of it.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9

View rfusca's profile

rfusca

155 posts in 440 days


#9 posted 389 days ago

Well, many lumber yards that sell to consumers – like Suwanee Lumber by me – sell S3S lumber. So you’ll really only need to worry about ripping it down to your width and then its pretty much what you’re buying from the big box store. Odds are you’ll not be looking at a pile of rough lumber unless you head to a wholesaler.

And beyond that, some have a ‘paint pile’ of pieces that they feel didn’t meet standards but are good for paint jobs and small projects. Small pieces of maple for $1/bf? Oh, yes!

-- Chris S., North Atlanta, GA - woodworker,DBA, cook, photographer

View iamcliff's profile

iamcliff

463 posts in 749 days


#10 posted 388 days ago

rfusca: well, then I think it would behoove me to make the trip down to Kennesaw and check it out. Thanks for the info. The lumber yard is http://www.peachstatelumber.com/, btw. It looks pretty good to me.

-- Chris, http://www.youtube.com/CMRwoodworks , FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/cmrwoodworks1 , Proverbs 16:9

View AngieO's profile

AngieO

1134 posts in 744 days


#11 posted 388 days ago

Nice!

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