It’s been hard to concentrate on woodworking with Easter holidays, company, and spring being sprung in the garden … but at last I’m ready to post another continuation of the Intarsia Wedding Gift.
The last blog left me ready to begin work upon the framing structure for this mirror … I’m not talking about the finishing frame that will show on the outside! My expertise does not lay in the area of carpentry, framing, etc. And so, when I reach this point with each project, it’s always something that makes me have to put on that heavy-duty thinking cap!
Actually Lumberjock Stefang suggested best … “if you can’t do it, get somebody else to make the framework”. A very good suggestion that I stuck to faithfully for many years, but unfortunately my woodwork’n buddy Des retired! I ended up purchasing a good many of his tools, including his very old and reliable table saw. I’m still a bit squeamish when it comes to using this beast, but I’m gradually learning not to fear as much as respect it’s power … endeavouring to go beyond the Intarsia part of this project.
My idea was to make a light-weight backing frame, because when all is said and done, this complete mirror to hang will be heavy enough! I end up using lots of ‘doorskin’ for substrate material and other needs within the shop. It’s 3/32” thick. The object of the game was to glue two layer of doorskin together, cross grains to prevent warping. Why I didn’t just use 3/8” plywood to begin with is beyond me … I just wasn’t thinking!, so spent extra time cutting, prepping, and gluing. But, maybe I needed that extra ‘thinking time’, and I now have plenty of extra doorskin left over for future use!!
After all that extra work, I ended up with 2 individual glued layers of doorskin: 1 ... for the upper part of framework where the mirror will fit into a recessed area and all the Intarsia pieces will be glued to; 2 ... for the backing underneath, to support the mirror as well as a major portion of the upper framework. This may become clearer than mud as you read further along!!
In this photo, the black rectangular outline represents where the mirror is situated within the design. However, the more ‘meat’ the intarsia pieces can be glued to, the better … I can’t glue to the mirror! , hence the curvy line following closely around the inside perimeter of the design, instead of using a rectangular mirror. Those pieces of Intarsia that present themselves over the mirror area will be glued side to side, then reinforced from beneath with a very thin layer of glued fabric. That’s my ‘vision’ right now … I may be singing a different tune when that stage is reached!
A cardboard template was made and sent off to the glass shop, making sure they would be able to cut my curvy mirror. Once, given the okay, I went ahead with the waxed paper template, marking it’s exact position upon the upper part of the doorskin framework, in preparation for cutting with the jigsaw.
What fun that was! To my way of thinking, a jigsaw is a very inferior cutting tool. But there again, my last experience using this old and very tired workshop jigsaw many years ago … has probably contributed to my slanted opinion!
The doorskin leapt beneath my hand pressure as it vibrated its way around, while I desperately tried to follow a line that distorted like a plucked string from all that movement. And yes … ’inferior’ did once again come to mind! But less than half way along, my thoughts suddenly screamed HOT! My hand, gripping (what seemed a far cry from) firm control, let go just as suddenly. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to snap a photo of the smoke curling from the jigsaw handle, toward the ceiling … but all I could do was watch in fascination while rubbing my tender palm!
A new, smaller model jigsaw was purchased to finish the job. Was that tool any better? Only slightly, but unfortunately it’s the only way to cut an inside line that is far too big for the scroll saw. So I’ve re-assessed my opinion of ‘inferior’ and given it an ‘adequate’ ... because of it being a necessary evil!!
With the mirror recess cut away, the upper framework was turned over and plywood framing was glued down around it’s perimeter.
With that plywood framing completed, the 2nd layer of prepared doorskin was cut to size … fitting inside the plywood frame. Then strips of double layered doorskin reinforcements were glued in place for added strength and extra support against the underside of the mirror … with the final strips extending over the plywood frame, and screwed in place … for easy mirror replacement if necessary. It may seem more like ‘over-kill’, but at least I know this support won’t warp … and it’s still very light and easy to manoeuvre.
Oh ya … my method of clamping pressure seems rather interesting, eh?! No … I don’t smoke!! But these tins, were handed down by a true smoker, and work when clamps just won’t reach. Combined with that heavy slab of iron, it’s the perfect solution … because this tobacco tin is filled with old piano tuning pins! If you’ve read my most recent ‘project posting’ you’ll understand how it is I manage to have tuning pins floating around my shop!!
Ah! The mirror fits, with just enough cushioning beneath to bump it up level with the surrounding doorskin surface. Everything feels solid!
With the mirror’s surface covered in saran wrap to protect it from glue and paint, a make-shift exterior frame is stuck down with double-faced tape … following the exact lines drawn on the board. Then the transfer of all the many Intarsia pieces (from the safety of the spray room table) into the make-shift frame and around the mirror slowly takes place.
A glitch!! With the design all put together within the make-shift exterior frame, the right bottom corner is out of whack. I’m not really surprised because I always seem to be fighting with my squares … Why aren’t they square?!! And so the bottom section, complete with those smaller pieces affected are mounted with double faced tape onto cardboard so everything necessary is kept together … and marked for correction. Measure twice … cut once!!
This photo shows the cleared area, where the affected section has been removed. If you follow the pencil line upward along the right side, you’ll probably notice a freshly broken end to the background section. As much as it pained me to do so, it was necessary to break the bottom part away (to be glued together later) for easier handling.
Only 1/8” out of whack … but enough to be very noticeable if not attended to! At least I know for a fact that the pencil lines drawn on the doorskin are exact. I measured, and re-measured … then measured again!
Finally! It’s all put together, and time to double check for any corrections to elevation, and extra sanding needed … especially for those pieces that rest upon the mirror itself. Those need to be sanded all the way around, as the mirror will reflect the sides and bottoms of those pieces.
This is the start of the ‘rosettes’ that will be used in the construction of the 3-1/2” wide exterior mirror frame. Our daughter loves hearts … thus the reason for the heart shaped opening in the bird house! I thought it would be fun to make personalized rosettes. They may not turn out, but we’ll see. Remember the scroll saw blade (from blog #1), and the method used to slightly dull my blade before tackling the intricate cuts in the design? ... well … this is the same blade, still able to cut out these hearts. It’s ready for retirement, I think!!
Now I can get on with the next stage … painting and staining all those pieces! And gluing the background pieces in place. That’s a bit nerve-wracking because one wrong placement means disaster!!
Thanks for checking up on my progress folks. Until next blog … keep happy making sawdust!
-- Elaine in Duncan