Hallway Mirror Barre VT
This weekend project features beautiful wood, invisible hinges and simple joinery.
by Luke Hartle
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My front hallway is the most heavily traveled, and usually the most cluttered, space in my home. Keys are tossed here and there, notes are scattered and the mail keeps getting lost. Tired of misplacing small but important items, I found a decorative way to keep everything together and organized. No more misplaced bills and no more lost keys. This hallway mirror presented me with the perfect opportunity to display some highly figured English sycamore I had recently acquired. The design is simple yet elegant, allowing the wood to shine. It is the first thing people see when they enter my home.
Materials and Construction
The frame is constructed with quick, easy biscuit joinery. Trim-head screws are used to attach the brackets, the lidded box and the cap piece on the frame. I chose these screws because their tiny heads are less visible and less prone to splitting thin parts, such as the brackets. Screws also allow the entire project to be disassembled for easier finishing.
Hidden barrel hinges give the box a clean, seamless appearance and allow the lid to double as a shelf. Solid brass pegs add beauty to the mirror and are perfect for hanging keys. The large mirror stands ready for a last-second glance before I walk out the door.
This project would also look great built with some straight-grained oak or pine, but I went all out and used figured English sycamore. The supplier requires a minimum purchase of $200 (roughly 7 bd. ft.). This is double the amount of lumber needed to build one project, so I simply decided to build two and give one as a gift. You can also combine your order for this project with other wood to reach the $200 threshold (see Sources, below).
Build the Frame
1. Lay out the project parts on rough lumber (Photo 1). The wood gets resawn so you only need to lay out pieces for one mirror to make two. Planning before cutting allows you to match color and grain patterns and maximize the yield, which is especially important on precious wood. Lay out the brackets together on a piece of wood large enough to be planed and jointed before you cut them out.
2. Cut and mill all the parts. I opted to use 5/4 stock because it minimizes waste and can be resawn into thinner pieces.
3. Enlarge the pattern (Fig. C, below) to full size and trace it onto the bottom rail (D). Rough-cut the pattern on a bandsaw and then smooth the final shape on a sanding drum or a spindle sander. Trim off the waste piece.
4. Mark and drill the holes for the brass pegs on the bottom rail using a drill press (Fig. A, below).
5. Make the decorative cap (L). Ease the cap’s edges and glue the cap to the bottom rail.
6. Join the frame pieces (Fig. A) using biscuits. Leave a 1/8-in. gap between the middle and bottom rails for cross-grain expansion. Offset the...