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Thread: Speaking of Cleats

  1. #1
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    Oct 2006
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    Speaking of Cleats

    Glen's recent post about the French cleat clamp rack in his shop reminded me about this installation job we did a few weeks ago. We had a client way up in the hills above Beverly Hills who needed a mirror installed in the master bedroom. Actually, six mirrors. They had bought these mirrors at an antique shop in New York. They were originally installed in the Toy Center building in Manhattan. They were heavy, with wood frames, each about 3' tall and nearly 4'wide. They were made to install as a tight grid, with no space between the mirrors. The final size was about 11' long and 6' high.

    This was the only in my working with Perry where we didn't have the necessary materials in the truck to install something. We decided French cleats were the way to go, but we needed them to be very straight, and 11' long. We first saw the mirrors on a Friday, and told he client we'd have to come back the next week to do the installation. Since 11' long (or 12' long, for that matter) straight boards are hard to find at the Borgs, the next Monday I went to Bohnhoff Lumber (a big commercial lumber yard) and picked up four 12' long pieces of rough-cut poplar. Perry and I milled the lumber into nice straight cleats that afternoon, and installed the mirrors the next day.

    Here are a few photos we took along the way. You might notice in a couple of the pics that the ends of the cleats are painted black. That's an old picture-hanging trick to make the cleat disappear behind the artwork...

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    And the finished installation. Nice bedroom, huh?

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    This was a pretty tricky installation, because everything had to be right on the money or else the six frames wouldn't line up right. We got them installed perfectly level and tight, but after looking at it, we realized that the base and crown molding weren't level, so we needed to tweak the whole assembly to make it look right. So we pulled the whole thing down and re-installed it, raising one end about 3/8". In the end, it looked great. (It was pretty common for us to have to tweak things to match unlevel trim or walls. We'd start with a bubble level but always finish with our eyes.)

    And just for grins, here's the view out the bedroom window (and the living room downstairs, too)...

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    That's one of the reservoirs that stores drinking water for the west side of LA. It's not open to the public, but it makes for a nice view. You can buy the empty lot next door for a bit over $2 million.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  2. #2
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    That's really interesting, Vaughn. (and well done.) Beautiful mirror too.
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
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  3. #3
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    Very nice....But you could of cleaned the glass
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    Very nice....But you could of cleaned the glass
    Believe it or not, the glass was clean. Not sure what these folks were thinking, but they had a couple of other antique mirrors in the master bedroom that were so old and faded you could barely tell they were mirrors. These six were almost as bad.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Nice bedroom, huh?
    What bed? Where's the bed? From the reflection I see a full sofa + two easy chairs + ottoman. Looks like a nice living room.
    (Call me old fashioned, but I can't quite imaging needing seating for 6 people in my bedroom! )

    ...art

    ps: very nice installation though. As well a good eye by the owners, the piece really goes well on the wall. As for re-installing the whole thing... too bad you didn't have slotted holes for the mounting screws in the cleats!!
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  6. #6
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    Fantastic installation, Vaughn! What a great idea and perfect execution!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    What bed? Where's the bed? From the reflection I see a full sofa + two easy chairs + ottoman. Looks like a nice living room.
    (Call me old fashioned, but I can't quite imaging needing seating for 6 people in my bedroom! )

    ...art

    ps: very nice installation though. As well a good eye by the owners, the piece really goes well on the wall. As for re-installing the whole thing... too bad you didn't have slotted holes for the mounting screws in the cleats!!
    I think it's the pinkish blob in the bottom right mirror
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for showing the mirror and its installation. Myrna and I both think it is beautiful---and so is the outside view.

    Enjoy,

    JimB
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    What bed? Where's the bed? From the reflection I see a full sofa + two easy chairs + ottoman. Looks like a nice living room.(Call me old fashioned, but I can't quite imaging needing seating for 6 people in my bedroom! )

    ...art

    ps: very nice installation though. As well a good eye by the owners, the piece really goes well on the wall. As for re-installing the whole thing... too bad you didn't have slotted holes for the mounting screws in the cleats!!
    I think it's the pinkish blob in the bottom right mirror
    Yep, I think that's a corner of the bed. I agree with Art...a bedroom is for sleeping and other bed-related activities, not entertaining a bunch of guests. This house had a fairly modest master suite, although the bath area was pretty large (probably about the same square footage as the master bedroom), with separate hair and makeup stations (for the wife), his and hers toilet/bidet rooms (again, for the wife ), and the wife's walk-in closet was big enough she had a floral arrangement in it. There were at least five phones in the bathroom alone. In my travels with Perry, I saw a couple other houses with master suites bigger than my ~1900 sf house.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Very nice mirror Vaughn great installation tips i noticed the black and was wondering had you guys just left the lumber yards paint on thanks for the explanation.

    In my view the mirror looks as though it gives the effect of another windows where the weather outside is raining. Not sure i could live with it for ever.

    Guess this person likes to have er friends take a look at what she is gonna be wearing before she leaves the room or the "room" could have alternative purposes not specifically for sleeping.

    Sent from my MB860 using Tapatalk
    cheers

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