Chippendale Mirrors

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Project by mauibob posted 10-02-2012 08:03 PM 3029 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are two Chippendale-style mirrors that I constructed from a circa 1775 design that I happened to really like.

The first is constructed of figured tiger and Western big leaf maple; the second uses figured African mahogany. The maple mirror uses a more traditional 18th century design with a half-lap subframe, and thick veneer moldings which were shaped on my router table. The mahogany mirror uses thicker, mitered moldings reinforced with miter splines (something not done in 18th century designs to my knowledge).

The “rabbet” for the mirror in the maple design is actually created by the overhang of the shaped molding and the poplar subframe, whereas in the mahogany design the rabbet is actually shaped in the molding material itself.

The “fins” are all cut using 1/4” solid material on the scroll saw, and then further refined and shaped on the oscillating spindle sander. As they are attached long-grain to long-grain to the moldings, and further reinforced with glue blocks from behind, warping is not a problem.

Both mirrors were stained and then finished with about 6 layers of tung oil, finished with hand rubbed paste wax.

—I added a “square” image of the maple mirror since LJ’s web interface displayed only the sides of the mirror in the preview.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

16 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8086 posts in 2940 days

#1 posted 10-02-2012 08:46 PM

Very nice mirrors Bob.

The grain on the Maple is just gorgeous.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 10-02-2012 08:53 PM

wow…flaming beauties!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View bobasaurus's profile


3531 posts in 3326 days

#3 posted 10-02-2012 09:22 PM

Both mirrors look really nice. The color contrast as a set would be great in a room. The tiger maple especially stands out.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2524 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 02:42 AM

Really nice pieces. Love to see great looking work on great looking wood.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Woodenwizard's profile


1340 posts in 3185 days

#5 posted 10-03-2012 03:19 AM

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest lumberjock of all.

Nice job!

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View ShaneA's profile


7033 posts in 2740 days

#6 posted 10-03-2012 03:21 AM

Wow, amazing wood on this one. Where do people get this amazing wood? Really nice stuff.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2343 days

#7 posted 10-03-2012 04:04 PM

Wow, now that is the 3rd WOW Bob….. Beautiful Work. Since I am a sucker for the Mahoganys you know which one I like… What plans did you use?

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View mauibob's profile


236 posts in 3209 days

#8 posted 10-03-2012 04:21 PM

Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

Gshepherd, I literally searched the web for period 18th century Chippendale mirrors for sale at various auction houses and galleries and picked the scrollwork design that I liked the best. I copied the photo into Photoshop and did some simple mods to generate a suitable outline for scrolling. The rest was easy—just a question of making the frames (like I indicated, there were 2 different approaches used for the two), and then attaching the scrollwork.

ShaneA, the big leaf and curly maple for the first mirror project actually came from two eBay suppliers (lewoh in Ohio, and woodbay in Washington state). I also have a stock of big leaf that I shipped from Tacoma, WA when I visited my brother in law out there—wish I had shipped a ton more! The figured African mahogany came from Exotic Lumber (, a local supplier here in Maryland (he also ships anywhere).

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3719 days

#9 posted 10-03-2012 04:36 PM

Fantastic job Bob they both look fantastic.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2330 days

#10 posted 10-03-2012 06:30 PM

Beautiful ! I think the lighter colored woods are actually better (than the versions of this type of mirror using woods like Walnut or mahogany).

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View BenR's profile


340 posts in 2770 days

#11 posted 10-03-2012 10:06 PM

Spectacular wood choices, both are beautiful. Those scroll work details look crisp from here. Just really nice work. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Ben in Va

View tinnman65's profile


1362 posts in 3556 days

#12 posted 10-06-2012 02:16 PM

Beautiful piece, the grain on both mirrors is striking.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3220 days

#13 posted 11-03-2012 04:52 AM

They are true beauties. The first one looks more like quilted rather than tiger maple which I like almost above all other wood. I sure would hang either on my wall!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4066 days

#14 posted 02-23-2013 03:07 PM

Hi Bob, Where did you get the design? Did you draw them yourself?

View mauibob's profile


236 posts in 3209 days

#15 posted 02-23-2013 03:53 PM

Hi Bob! I actually got the design idea from an 18th century mirror that I found on the Internet. I’ve added 3 more pictures—#4 is of the original 18th century mirror (note the string inlay which I decided not to incorporate in my versions), and #5 and #6 are of the templates that I used for the top and bottom crests.

I popped the original image of the mirror into Photoshop, contrast stretched and converted to B&W. I then used Microsoft Powerpoint to take the resulting bit maps, scale them to the dimensions that I wanted, and flipped and connected the mirror images to use as paper templates for my scroll saw. (Could have also done that in Photoshop, but Powerpoint is actually a bit simpler to use for such simple operations.) Lumberjocks only lets you post 6 images, so I have not shown the side pieces, but they were done in the same manner.

My frame is slightly wider than on the original, but I chose the width based upon measurements that I took on two other Chippendale mirrors whose proportions I liked better.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

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