Photography By Michael Manni

With the dovetailed carcass accomplished, Projects Editor Colin Eden-Eadon moves on to complete his mirror

THE DIFFICULTY of the first part of this project, see page 34, was in the dovetailing for the carcass. The concluding stage, which covers making the drawers, frame and posts for this American white oak (Quercus alba) and English walnut (Juglans regia) toilet mirror, depends for success on careful planning as the mirror frame must be made first, so that the drilling position of the posts which take the pivot holes can be set up.

"Gluing up and sliding in the drawer bottom right: The 'real thing' transferred from the drawing helps to keep the piece in square"


Make up the components of the drawers and carefully fit to length and width. Some makers like to put an imperceptible bevel on the edges and tops and bottoms of the drawer front to produce a tight fit; this can be eased by planing once the drawer is glued up.

Another useful tip is to sink the tails a fraction deeper, 0.5mm at the most; this allows minimal fitting of the Brazilian mahogany (Swietenici macrophylla) drawer sides without having to plane off surplus material.

RIGHT: Drawer dovetails

"This is another example of where setting up a router in a table is easier than using a fence"

Set out on the bench and mark up the pieces, matching pins to tails. Decide how many tails to have on the front and back and mark out as for the carcass dovetails, noting that the number of back tails and pins depends on the depth of the drawer back; this in turn

Part of fence removed for clarity i depends on the position of the drawer bottom groove.

Next, cut out the tails and mark out the pins. To cut out the waste on the drawer front, a router can be used freehand, but by the time the power tool has been set up this job can probably be done as quickly by hand. Clean up and fit.

For two reasons the grooves are best machined on a router table: firstly, for safety because the components are fairly small; secondly, this method gives more control and avoids having to mess around with awkward fences and run-off blocks.

The two side grooves should be stopped to safeguard the front of the tail.

False fcnce

Part of fence removed for clarity i

False fcnce

Set-up for stopped rebates on a router table

To prevent problems later, drill the holes in the drawer front for the walnut knobs.

For both the backs and the drawer bottom I used 6mm veneered ply. These could also be made out of solid timber if desired. Gluing up and sliding in the drawer bottom helps to keep the piece in square.

The drawer stops are now fitted. These are a small rebated section, see drawing, that allows the depth in which the drawer is set to be adjusted. This is achieved by taking small amounts off the stops, either with a shoulder plane once they are glued in, or by planing to fit before gluing.

Mirror frame

The frame can either be tenoned or dowelled together; whichever technique is used, mark out with enough space to allow for the double rebate for the back and the mirror.

Cut the mortices on a small portable morticer and the tenon on a table-mounted router, using a cross-slide with a false fence to avoid spelching.

Mark the shoulders of the tenons with a knife; this will also help avoid break-out. Alternatively, they can be cut on a bandsaw or even by hand.

The mirror glass and the back are set into the double rebate which must be stopped on the longer of the two-frame pieces.

The first rebate is the 4mm depth of the mirror glass, and 7mm wide. If the glass is cut a little narrower then small wedges can be inserted on either side to hold the mirror in place.

The second rebate is the same 6mm depth as the back and 9mm wide to allow space for the screws.

The corners of the rebates can be cleaned up square with a chisel. This is another example of where setting up a router in a table is easier than using a fence.

For the chamfers on the inside and outside of the frame I used a chamfer cutter set up in the router, but this job can be done by hand with a chisel bevel down and a spokeshave. The outside chamfer can be planed around -sometimes as quick - but in this instance because the chamfer is the same as the internal one it can be accomplished using the same setting.

BELOWt Post and foot detail


My father turned the knobs for the drawers and mirror frame in walnut to match the feet. The threaded part of the knob mechanism for the mirror is made from an M5 chrome nut and bolt.

The nut is epoxy-glued into the base of the knob, the hole which takes the thread being drilled a little deeper to allow for tightening.

The other end of the bolt is cut off and the length worked out for the remaining piece. This is best done by setting up the drilled posts and marking the position of the thread hole in the mirror frame.

Then work out the required length with everything set up.

Posts┬╗ feet

The joint between the post and feet is optional, dowelled, tenoned or loose tongue all being suitable. These joints can be cut more easily while all the sections are still square - before any shaping takes place on the posts.

While the feet of the posts can again either be dowelled, tenoned or loose tongued, I would suggest that a loose tongue might actually be the best option: firstly, because to cut a tenon on a small piece like the foot could be quite tricky; secondly, dowelling is a little suspect partly because the amount of end-grain around the dowel means adhesion is not very good; also, the carcass does not provide much depth to play with.

A loose tongue provides a better gluing area than a dowel. At this stage rout the small housings in the carcass top to take this joint, using a hand-held router with a straight-edge clamped to both sides of the base; alternatively, use a couple of wooden sash bars and heads.

Pivot mechanism

It is also much easier to drill and set up the pivot mechanism for the tilt of the mirror while everything is still square. This action avoids having to make angled blocks in order to drill holes that need to be at 90┬░.

"It is much easier to drill and set up the pivot mechanism for the tilt of the mirror while everything is still square"

Set up the drilled posts with the feet and clamp to the carcass. Using an offcut from the feet, or something that is of the same thickness, as a spacer block, place the block on the carcass, stand the mirror frame on it and clamp the frame to the posts.

Mark with a bradawl the position of the hole for the pivot thread and carefully drill. Cut the thread to length and glue in with epoxy resin.


I made up some templates from the original full-size drawing, glued them to some MDF and cut them out.

The posts and both sets of feet can be cut out on a bandsaw and cleaned up by hand using spokeshaves and files. For those versed in template routing a bearing-guided router bit can be used.

The chamfers running round the edges of the posts are cut with convex and straight spokeshaves.

The chamfers on the post feet are all cut by hand using a %in chisel with the bevel face down and carefully paring a neat return. The straight runs are so small that they can be pared as well.

The slope is carefully planed and the rounding cut with a chisel and finished with files and abrasive paper. These small pieces are difficult to hold in a conventional vice and just too low to be comfortable.

An engineering vice, with soft jaws fitted, is extremely handy for this sort of work, presenting it in a much more versatile position.

LEFT! Marking out the posts and feet from templates

BELOWt Post and foot detail far right: Walnut feet are simply screwed into the bottom of the carcass

far right: Walnut feet are simply screwed into the bottom of the carcass

Carcass feet, backs

These were made the same way as the posts and feet, by using a template. They are screwed to the underside in line with the inside edge of the pin sockets. The backs are screwed into the rebates using No. 4%in brass screws.

Finish with several coats of Danish oil, cutting back in between every other coat, and glue and set up the posts and mirror.

Abrasive paper glued down to 6mm MDF and cut with a bandsaw into various sized strips is useful for this type of hand-shaping - but the bandsaw will become very blunt! Using a series of different grades of paper provides a set of mini 'files' that are very good for getting into fiddly corners and places.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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