Here’s a recently commissioned mirror. The design is based on that of a pair of frames I made years ago for two leather panels by CR Ashbee. This mirror is a horizontal adaption of that design, featuring at the top center a carved medallion with two pine cones. The outside dimensions of the frame are 36″ x 48″. The medallion is 4-1/2″ in diameter. Quartersawn white oak with Medieval Oak stain.
A Chamfered Mirror
John Ruskin wrote, “to those who love Architecture, the life and accent of the hand are everything.”
One age-old kind of handwork is chamfering, and its application to frames is one of the greatest joys in my work.
This is a quartersawn white oak mirror I just made for a customer to give as a wedding gift. It measures 34″ x 22″, and features a carved initial “S” at the top and the year at the bottom.
Here’s the story, with pictures, of its making.
The customer really liked an earlier design shown here, so we adapted it.
The main difference is the top, where I added the carved initial medallion and adapted the chamfer at the sight edge to accommodate it.
Below are some shots of it being made.
Starting with a simple, flat mitered frame, I marked out the chamfer and carving pattern in pencil (above).
Next, the frame is clamped to the bench hanging over the edge to leave clearance for the spokeshave, shown below.
Chamfering the sight edge.
I do as much as I can of the outside chamfer with the spokeshave, then finish the tighter radius of the ends with a skew chisel. You can also use a gouge and carve across the grain.
Above—here’s one side all chamfered.
The inside of the top is a little different. Here are shots of it being carved, mostly with a straight chisel:
Above is frame with all the chamfering done. Below, with the initial and the year carved.
Then it’s off to the finishing room for stain and varnish, before a lifetime of service in somebody’s home!
With wedding season approaching I thought I’d put out a couple of examples of pieces we’ve recently done as wedding gifts. This picture’s framed close in a simple walnut “Hudson” frame with a gilt slip. Walnut, which is a tight-grained wood, has a smooth finish which suits the finish of the photo. The form gives a picture some space but has a graceful shape that suits the figurative subject matter. I think we struck the right balance between the formality of the image and occasion and the informality of the rustic porch (it’s actually a kind of stage set at the Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC).
The second example is a mirror made for a customer who found an image in tile that she liked as an appropriate image for newlyweds, and wanted it integrated into a mirror to give as a wedding gift. (Mirrors make great wedding gifts, because when you get married you have to watch yourself.) I also carved the year of the wedding, 2009, into the bottom. The tiles are by Motawi Tileworks (the two on either side of the landscape tile are actually glaze samples). Made in quartersawn white oak (Weathered Oak stain) it measures about 38″ x 18-1/2″.