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Old 12-21-2014, 06:42 PM
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Default Greene and Greene mirror frame

This past summer a friend commissioned me to build them a Craftsman-style mirror frame. The husband of my friend made a fairly detailed drawing of the frame, and I tried my best to adhere to it. It included the usual "cloud lifts" in the design.

But it had a particularly challenging element: he wanted S-miters in the corner joints. It's possible that these were originated by Darrell Peart, though perhaps he has just publicized them. On Darrell's pieces they are decorative, and designed for a fairly small frame. This mirror (1/4" glass) was to be 45" by 27", and would weigh about 30 lbs. I didn't think that the S-miter would support the weight. So I had to use a spline. But the clients also wanted "ebony" (I used wenge) decorative elements. The joints turned out to be very complex, taking about 5 steps per joint.

Here's what the frame looked like when finished. (Please forgive my crappy Photoshop extraction of the inside of the frame - I wanted to remove myself from the mirror reflection!)



Here are some close-ups of one of the joints:





The frame is made from book-matched sapele, with wenge accents. The figure really pops, which will work well with the accents in their house.

To make the S-miters, I first made an MDF template for the shape of the joint (the top and bottom miters are different). I then used that template to make an offset template to use with my router and inlay guide bushing. I used this to cut the miters. I then cut a slot for the spline using my band saw (I was wishing I'd had a table saw at this point - the mortices were a bit wobbly). I then chamfered the top edge of the miter (the shadow line helps you see the curve in the S-miter). Glue-up was fairly straightforward.

After the glue dried, I used a slot-cutting bit to make a slot in the spline to receive a decorative wenge accent that would be proud of the frame's surface. I cut and fit the accents on the bandsaw, along with files and sandpaper. After that, the rest was pretty easy!

The clients were extremely happy with it. I just finished it yesterday. It was a Christmas present for the husband - he didn't wait until Christmas to open it!
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Old 12-21-2014, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Nice job, Peter! I've never tried an S-shaped miter.
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Do you have any "construction" photos of joint?
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Old 12-21-2014, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Thanks, Alex!

Unfortunately I didn't take ANY pictures during the build. If I find time over the holidays, I could mock up a joint, just for the educational benefit...
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Beautiful work! I assume that is kind of time intensive?

Jack
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Time intensive indeed. It took me several months to figure out how to execute the miters. Once I came up with the router and template idea, it took me an afternoon to make the templates and do the joinery. But then finishing all the fussy bits (the wenge fake spline inserts, etc.) took another day or so. But from start to finish, the frame took about 3 months (I had to travel and then got sick in the middle and couldn't work for several weeks). But overall I think I earned close to $10 per hour on it...
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Nice!
Creative challenges are always best in the rearview mirror.
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Quote:
Originally Posted by RWeber View Post
Nice!
Creative challenges are always best in the rearview mirror.
True. The ones that don't work aren't usually visible in the rear-view mirror. I love a good creative challenge, though, and this was a real brain-buster for a while. Good workout for the neurons!
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Really, really nice. I'd love to see your mock up. I'm hoping to come south for the LN event at Palomar. Maybe I'll see you and be able to pry the info out of you. Great work Peter.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: Greene and Greene mirror frame

Thanks, Mike. I should be around that weekend, so pop me an email and let's see if we can get together. The templates are fairly ordinary. It's figuring out how to make them that's challenging!
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