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Thread: curved top mirror frame

  1. #1
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    curved top mirror frame

    We had this old mirror that a friend gave us when she moved. It came from a bureau, and had seen better days. There were a couple of cracks in the arch. I decided to make a new frame. SWMBO also pointed out that the mirror itself was pretty rough, with parts of the silvering looking bad, and also warranting replacement. If you look at the top arch, you can see the two places where the wood cracked. I hot glued them together to use the frame as a pattern.

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    I liked the overall feel of it though, and the size was just right, so I am re-making it in cherry. Now the tricky issue was how to deal with grain and cross grain attachment. One reason the original failed, IMO, was cross grain gluing, and weak areas of material. I decided to try a rather dumb way of making the frame, but it should be interesting to see what happens. The bottom is mitered, with FF biscuits. The top of the arch is all butt jointed together, with all the grain running vertically. Once glued up, I cut the outside curve with a bandsaw, then trimmed it with a router, and then spokeshaves. The inside curve is not yet done, but will follow a similar method, except that I did the rough cutting with a hand held jigsaw.
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    Where I think I may have problems is that the wood - assembled to be 24" wide is bound to move in and out with seasonal changes. And the bottom, being long grain, won't. I'm hoping there's enough give in the sides to allow this movement without ruining those nice little biscuited miters at the bottom. When I put a back on, behind the mirror, it'll either be solid wood oriented with the grain running vertically, or more likely some 3/16" plywood, held on in slots with screws.

    Comments, suggestions and criticism are welcome. This is turning into a multi-day project, as each side to side glue-up, and there were several, was allowed to dry before combining the next ones. And I won't get the new mirror before next Tues, at the earliest.
    Last edited by ken werner; 11-17-2011 at 12:26 AM.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken werner View Post
    ...Where I think I may have problems is that the wood - assembled to be 24" wide is bound to move in and out with seasonal changes. And the bottom, being long grain, won't. I'm hoping there's enough give in the sides to allow this movement without ruining those nice little biscuited miters at the bottom...Comments, suggestions and criticism are welcome...
    I suspect you may be right about the expansion/contraction problems. I think if it were me, I'd have made up an MDF form and then cut strips and glue-laminated the arch. It appears to be a gentle enough radius that 1/8", or maybe even 3/16" strips would work.

    If this one doesn't hold up, maybe you can do that for the next one...
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  3. #3
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    Yeah, Jim, I thought of the lamination technique after I did this. Laminating it would be just about indestructible. Not sure though that I'd like the look of all the laminations on the face of it. Wood WILL move, and time will tell. I thought of steam bending too, but the frame is about 1 1/8 thick x 1 3/8 wide, that would be a lot of steaming.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  4. #4
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    I'm probably dead wrong but I don't really think there will be much, if any, movement.

    I really like the simple but elegant design
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken werner View Post
    Yeah, Jim, I thought of the lamination technique after I did this. Laminating it would be just about indestructible. Not sure though that I'd like the look of all the laminations on the face of it. Wood WILL move, and time will tell. I thought of steam bending too, but the frame is about 1 1/8 thick x 1 3/8 wide, that would be a lot of steaming.
    Steam bending that would've been a bear of a job, for sure!

    As for the laminations, if they're done carefully, using sequential lams from the parent board, and a matching or transparent glue (hot hide glue works well), will miniimize them showing. You could also rout/shape a profile on their face to help them disappear.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  6. #6
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    Jim i am so glad you posted your thoughts on steam bending since thats what i was thinking too Ken but i dont have the experience to be able to make the call. I learnt something here. Thanks guys. Good luck with it Ken. You bring great challenges to the table.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

  7. #7
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    Frame complete, mirror hung

    Well, that about says it all. It took a couple of weeks to get the arched top mirror from the glass vendor. The frame is finished with shellac and wax. The shelf below was done a few years ago, but they match pretty well. Nearby is a Shaker bench and peg rails, so it's kind of a suite. Of course, strictly speaking a mirror this big [approx 26 x 34"] would not be acceptable to the Shakers.


    .
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  8. #8
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    looks great ken,, is that beveled or just plate mirror,, how much was the glass?
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
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    Looks great Ken. The small shelf is perfect with the mirror
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
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    There were a few choices on the glass. I bought plain, 1/8" thick with unpolished edges at around $30. 1/4" would've been around $65. I didn't ask about bevels, but that adds more than x2 to the cost. Polishing the edges in 1/8" was around $80.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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