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Thread: Project: Natural Edge Mirror Frame

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Project: Natural Edge Mirror Frame

    One of my good clients that I frequently do CNC inlay pocket work and also built a large natural edge table for recently brought a couple of natural edge ambrosia maple boards by, ostensibly to build a long coffee table from. Sadly, I had to show him that they were pretty much "banana boards" that just were not going to work for any kind of table top. There was quite a bow in both of them! We parked them in my wood storage, knowing that some idea would come for using them. That idea became a heavy mirror frame with the natural edge on the inside next to the glass.

    My illness, the pandemic, cutting chair seats for another client and other distractions conspired to delay things, but I figured out a plan last week, cut down the slabs and today I milled things up and got to the job. Working this kind of project is a combination of good planning with an even bigger dose of "wing and a prayer". LOL

    The project began by sizing things up to rough (very rough) dimensions with chalk

    IMG_7360.jpg

    The pieces were crosscut which was fun considering they were not exactly...flat...and ripped at the bandsaw into general component sizes

    IMG_7361.jpg

    About 30 minutes of face jointing followed by thicknessing to a net 40mm provided actual usable boards for the project. Working with the shorter components reduced the material loss in a very reasonable way. Once that was done, the non-natural edges were cleaned up with straight-line ripping clamped down on the slider. It was done slow and steady and with minimal stock removal...the idea was to provide a clean, straight, "jointed" edge with little or no burning.

    IMG_7395.jpg

    Because of the size of the mirror frame and the fact that my main bench had two other projects going on, I took advantage of the larger CNC table again. The first step was to shuffle the boards around to find the best orientation for the four pieces such that minimal "faux" natural edge would be require to make the inside corners work.

    IMG_7396.jpg

    That determined, I did a little layout to setup for the corner miters which were then cut on the slider with the miter fence at 45. It was clear to me that this would get things close, but due to the nature of the stock, a bunch of fine tuning was going to be required.

    IMG_7397.jpg

    That held true...the two corners to the front of this photo were "really good" but I had to adjust things for component at the top of the photo

    IMG_7398.jpg

    After determining the lines required, I chose to use the track saw to make the adjustments to fit that component...which were actually done on the side-pieces.

    IMG_7399.jpg

    That got things really close...just a little work to back-bevel the miters on each side brought things together the way they needed to be.

    IMG_7400.jpg
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 05-13-2020 at 9:17 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    At that point, everything was fitting in the corners...please ignore the outside edges as they will get adjusted in the end.

    IMG_7402.jpg

    Two of the inside corners needed some work to adapt the natural edges so that they met in a clean way. The first step there was to do some markup to indicate where material needed to be removed and what the "line" was at the corner that had to be met.

    IMG_7403.jpg IMG_7404.jpg

    "Stock removal" was done creatively with my jigsaw...kinda like folks use chain saws to make sculptures I guess. LOL That was subsequently smoothed by sanding and then I wire brushed (with the brush in a drill) the natural edges to remove the dreck as well as to texture the "faux" areas so that they had the same appearance as the rest of the edge.

    IMG_7399.jpg

    That completed the fabrication of the components.

    IMG_7406.jpg

    10mm x 80mm Dominos were used in the corners to provide reinforcement-- two per corner except for one corner that got only one because of being narrower.

    IMG_7407.jpg

    At the end of the day, glue and clamps were employed in the normal manner.

    IMG_7408.jpg

    Still to come....provision for the mirror glass and a mounting system that will handle the significant weight of this frame and the mirror glass on whomever's wall this eventually lands on. The client will be finishing this...I'm only fabricating.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 05-13-2020 at 9:16 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
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    Clever use of what often would end up in the woodstove. Amazing how just one non straight edge can cause so much extra work isn't it? But all your efforts paid off because those corners look very good. That wood looks to be spalted as well as having been visited by the ambrosia beetle.

    Funny you should post a project with ambrosia maple. I milled a whole bunch of ambrosia maple last Fall, and I think we even talked about it here. Anyway, I had several live edge slabs of it and they just about flew out of my shed to customers and friends over the past month or so. Beautiful stuff after it's finished. Look forward to see what your project looks like when done.

    Sorry, didn't know you were ill. I hope you're back in full form again.

    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Thanks, John. I was "really sick" the first week of the month. The test was negative but taken a week too late because of an administrative screw up. I've never been that sick in my life that I can remember. Fortunately, no pneumonia...just everything else.

    I'm actually glad that we were able to come up with a good use for this wood. The client loves three species in particular...walnut, ambrosia maple and, when he can get it, olive wood. I mostly do charcuterie boards for him out of those three species. He's one of those folks who will be driving down the road and see someone has stuff available, stop and buy it. Apparently, last winter he did that returning to NJ from a Penn State football game and had to drive half of the way home with the hatch open on his SUV because of the walnut slabs he had hanging way out. LOL His spouse really, um...loved...that....

    You did mention the ambrosia maple you have and if not for this pandemic, I'd have considered a little field trip to relieve you of some of it. LOL It's not a horrible drive...I did it a couple of times to visit with a federal government agency customer in Buffalo prior to retiring.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Wow, Jim. I had no idea the extent of your sickness. I am glad you are mending...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
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    715
    Glad to hear you are healing. I have a severe cough that has had everything medical can throw at it but it just won't go away after 6+ weeks. It is reassuring to know the lungs and airways are looking good based on the diagnostics.

    Just curious about the overall dimensions and weight. Clever design using what is on hand. Thanks for sharing.
    Rustic? Well, no. That was not my intention!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    David....it's ~31" wide and ~36.5" tall. Weight..."heavy".

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    I finished this one up today and sent the invoice. As mentioned, it's heavy, so I embedded some keyhole hangers with longer screws to aid whoever ends up with this in securing it to a wall. I did use the CNC for the recesses since I already have cutting files for the particular hangers I have in my hardware stock. Note that the "open" joint shown really isn't open. I had to do a little minor back beveling to get tight joints on the show side and subsequent to this photo, the two corners that had slight gaps in the back were filled with resin. The Dominos are not going to let any of these joints come apart without something violently explosive I suspect.

    IMG_7414.jpg

    I asked Mike (the client) to have a conversation with his preferred glass supplier for the mirror to determine what the thickness of the mirror will need to be for the given size. Once I had that information (.25" as it turns out) I constructed the retention system for the mirror on the back of the frame. Originally, I was going to use the CNC to cut a recess for the glass, but after assembling the frame, I determined that cutting a recess would destroy some details along the natural edge that were too interesting to go away. So surface mounting on the back and capturing the glass was chosen instead. Narrow strips define the extent of the mirror area on the sides and bottom and were glued on. Wider strips were then provided to hold the mirror glass fast. Those are attached with screws so the mirror can be easily installed once the frame is finished and easily replaced when "Junior" throws a baseball at it.

    IMG_7417.jpg

    And there you go...it's ready for final sanding and finishing by the client. He needs to arrange a day and time for "curbside" pickup, of course, not that I have any curbs... LOL

    LJPXE4265.jpg

    BTW, this mirror is NOT a perfect rectangle. It's a little wider at the bottom, for example, than the top. What was more important for this project was making the inside natural edge work and having the corners tight. I could have squared it up in the end, but it would have been busy work and not really benefited the project in any way other than simply knowing it was square. In this case, imperfection was appropriate.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Averill Park NY
    Posts
    126
    Very impressive project!
    Some Blue Tools
    Some Yellow Tools
    And a Pet Grizzly
    ShapeokoXL
    Blue and White 50 Watt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Thanks, Clark. After you left yesterday, I got the mirror retention stuff installed as shown and it's good to go. As you saw, the tricky part was making those inside corners work!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKinney, TX
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    1,749
    Nice job Jim. I agree that the inside corners are important
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  11. #11
    Thank you for the detailed description of the process. Interesting use of live edge and great result!

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