Cheval Mirror Anniversary Gift

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Project by Darryl Jones posted 07-07-2013 04:00 AM 2055 views 5 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this mirror as an anniversary gift for my wife of 17 years. She had been asking for a full length mirror for some time and I thought it would make an excellent anniversary gift. My wife and kids left on father’s day to visit the in-laws and I was to follow 4 days later. As soon as she left, I sprang into action researching examples of full length mirrors (it was at this time I discovered that a tilting mirror was called a cheval mirror). I couldn’t find anything I liked because I was searching for full length and tilting mirror so I had to create my own plans. This presented an interesting problem, because I wanted a design that would be timeless and not to ornate but, not as simple as shaker.

The original drawing was more ornate than the finished piece but after the dry fit, I really like the look of the piece without the extra embellishments. I did include the three curves from the drawing one at the top of the mirror frame, one at the bottom of the frame and also one at the bottom of the base. The leg design was actually changed a little because of technical difficulties due to lack of time, but I am happy with the resulting foot design. I used my festool domino for the mortise and tenon work on the mirror frame and base unit. The fit was so good that I was able to dry fit the project without any fasteners and was able to see what it looked like before adding the extra embellishments.

I had to create the buttons for adjusting the angle of the mirror because I didn’t have time to order hardware (also because I didn’t like what was available). I made them out of scraps from the mirror project and threaded inserts from the borg.

I used 1/4” mirror glass with a 1/4” plywood backing and custom made the clips that hold the mirror assembly to the frame. The plywood wasn’t exactly 1/4” so the clips are actually a little less than an 1/8” thicker on the mirror half.

I also etched a butterfly design on mirror because the wife loves butterflies. I applied blue painters tape to the glass and cut the design out with an xacto knife. I have used sand blasting in the past but this time I used etching paste. I chose a design that was not too youthful so that it would not take away from the design of the piece.

I used my home-brew wipe-on formula for the first three coats of finish followed by 2 coats of shellac and a coat of wax. My home-brew formula is 1 part poly, 1 part mineral spirits, 1/2 part blo, in case you were wondering. I completed this project except for the final finish in 4 days. I also created patterns for all the curved parts so that I can replicate this project if necessary at a later date.

I realize that this posting is really long but this was a special project that I put a lot of thought and effort into (despite the short amount of time I had to do it in). I hope that this will become one of my wife’s treasured possessions. And in case she reads all of this one day… I love you and I hope you really enjoy this gift!

-- Dread Knot Wood Shop

4 comments so far

View Birks's profile


109 posts in 2376 days

#1 posted 07-07-2013 10:37 PM

Oh! I love the etching!!!! That is a great final touch! Great design and nice curves on the mirror. I too am not fond of the existing Cheval hardware out there, even what is available on the internet. I have an old beveled mirror dresser with small, unobtrusive mirror pivots that fit in the inside of the frame that I would have loved to have used on my mirror, but, alas, I couldn’t not find anything similar available.

View Xyloid_Curt's profile


131 posts in 2233 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 03:12 AM

Very nice construction, understated curve, nice etching. I trust she likes it.

-- Xyloid Curt "Exposing the hidden beauty in wood"

View gsimon's profile


1290 posts in 2260 days

#3 posted 07-09-2013 12:10 AM

very thoughtful gift
well done

-- Greg Simon

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2322 days

#4 posted 07-10-2013 02:23 PM

Beautiful and well made mirror! Great design especially the legs, buttons and the clips. I’m sure she loves it. Great job!

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