- 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.