For A Sharp Image

and tenon joints.)

MIT Eli CORNERS. After the mortise and tenon joints are cut, the ends on both rails are mitered at 45°. Cut a %"-wide miter on the outside corners of both rails, see Detail in Fig. 1.

chamfer edges. To soften the edges on the frame, the front edges of the rails and stiles are chamfered. (I did this on a router table with a 45° chamfering bit.) On the rails, rout the front edges and the corner under the mitered end, see Fig. 2,

On the stiles, rout all the front edges. Then £ also wanted to chamfer the outside corner, see Fig. 3. The problem is that the tenon on the end of the stiles is right in the way of the pilot on the chamfer bit. So a little different procedure has to be used to chamfer the ends of the stiles.

Instead of using the W chamfer bit, I used a sharp chisel to shave off the corners to match the chamfered edges that were cut with the router bit, see Fig. 3.

After the edges of the frame have been chamfered, the frame can be glued

Whenever you build a chest of drawers, it's pretty much standard procedure to build a mirror to go with it. Usually this is simply a matter of building a frame and then having the mirror cut to size so it can be mounted in the back. Not so with the mirror shown at right.

The frame is designed to match the style of the chest of drawers and the headboard. Butinsteadof building the frame first, the mirror is cut to size and then the frame is built to fit around it.

Since there are such close tolerances between the frame and the mirror, this reverse procedure eliminates any chance of the mirror not fitting the frame.


I had the mirror cut to size (21^16" x 26'yie") at a local glass store. After it was cut, I went to work on the frame. The frame is simply four pieces of 5/4 stock that are joined with mortise and tenon joints.

cut pieces. The first step is to cut the frame pieces to size. The stiles are ripped I5/*" wide, and 33/ib" longer than the length of the mirror (this should be 30Vir"). Then the top and bottom rails are ripped IVk" wide, and a total of longer than the width of the mirror. Note: This extra length accounts for the width of the two stiles (1W each) plus a total of W for expansion space between the edge of the mirror and the edge of the stile.

MORTISES. After the pieces are cut to size, the next step is to cut the mortises in the rails. The mortises are %" wide by V/s" long and centered on the edge of the rails, see Fig. 1. Also, they're only Vz" deep to allow for the miter on the ends of the rails, refer to Detail in Fig. 1.

To cut the mortises, I used a Vs" bit in a drill press, drilling overlapping holes to remove the waste. (This is the same method used to cut the mortises on the headboard, see page 10.)

  1. Next, tenons are cut on the ends of the stiles to fit the mortises. I cut the tenons on a table saw using a doublecut method that automatically centers the tenon on the thickness of the stock. (See Woodsmith No. 26 for a more complete step-by-step article on cutting slot mortise together and checked for square.
  2. When the frame is assembled, a %"-wide rabbet is routed on the inside back edge for the W plywood back. To rout this rabbet, I used a W rabbet bit in a hand held router, see Cross Section in Fig. 5.

Shop Note: I usually cut rabbets on a table saw to prevent the shoulder from chipping out. But since the rabbet for the plywood back has to be stopped on both ends of the rails, it's much easier to rout with a hand held router.

The only problem with using a router to cut the rabbet is that the shoulder at the bottom of the cut usually chips out — and this is the shoulder that will show- on the front of the frame.

To get a clean cut while routing, set the depth of cut equal to the thickness of the plywood back. Then make a light scoring pass on the inside edge moving the router in a counter-clockwise direction, which is the opposite direction you're supposed to rout, see Fig. 4.

By routing in the "wrong" direction, the rotation of the bit tends to push itself away from the piece. So you really have to concentrate to keep the bit in contact with edge along the entire length of the piece. This method produces a very smooth cut on the bottom shoulder.

After the initial scoring pass, move the router in the normal clockwise direction to complete the rabbet. Then use a sharp chisel to square up the round corners of the rabbet, see Fig. 5.

cut back, Now the 'A" plywood back can be cut to fit in the rabbet on the back of the frame. Then glue it in place.

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