The Mirror Shelf

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Project by thebenchroom posted 12-04-2012 04:38 AM 1826 views 5 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The mirror shelf is a curious piece that doesn’t produce a reflection as the word is traditionally defined. The only reflection is actually found on the piece itself. Each piece of this shelf, and its counterpart alternate to form its own reflection. So what is left, is right, what is up, is down. Furthermore this shelf is a knock down, and is assembled without glue. The through tenon joinery of the shelves, are locked in place with zebrawood wedges. The center back stretcher is locked into the side pieces with hald lap joinery. All of the joints are cut by hand without the aid of modern machinery. Due to the “Knock-Down” design, the cost of shipping is reduced, and each part is labeled inconspicuously to make the assembly easy.

This was one of those pieces that had me baffled from the start. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do here, armed only with the finished dimensions and wood selection. I let this piece tell me how to design it, rather than work within the boundaries of a drawing or sketch. Drawing would’ve only muddied the waters and wasted time.

I squared up everything then began with mapping out the profile and joinery. Somewhere during this process I decided to alternate the end pieces, and the shelves. In other words what’s up is down, and what’s left is right. This project is a great way to hone hand skills in sawing and paring. The hardest part was keeping everything in order, and since this piece is a “Knock-Down” there is no glue. Taking the time to label each part is very important for both the maker and consumer. Careful layout is even more important than identifying each piece. Going into projects such as this, it’s okay not to have a drawing, at least for me. Sometimes imagination is all you need.

-- Twitter-@thebenchroom

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117340 posts in 3780 days

#1 posted 12-04-2012 05:02 AM

Very cool John

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30064 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 12-04-2012 08:38 AM

Beautiful piece, done with hand tools to boot! Great job

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


8725 posts in 3046 days

#3 posted 12-04-2012 03:56 PM

The piece has a visual rythem ( sp?) Set by the feel of the wood? I like where your journey is taking you, vs. where you are going? I like it!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View thebenchroom's profile


47 posts in 2720 days

#4 posted 12-05-2012 01:51 AM

Thanks for the comments everyone

-- Twitter-@thebenchroom

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3117 days

#5 posted 12-05-2012 03:26 PM

I love the locking pegs/pins. I will remember this piece and eventually try a piece with these type pegs. I have wedges on my workbench, and have often wondered how to do something like that for an indoors piece. Thanks!

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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