Entryway Arts & Crafts Mirror & Storage Bench #2: Starting with the Mirror

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Blog entry by Steve Erwin posted 11-12-2012 04:44 AM 5667 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Assigning Parts to Boards Part 2 of Entryway Arts & Crafts Mirror & Storage Bench series Part 3: Tenons »

I decided it was too confusing trying to build the bench and the mirror at the same time, so I’m making the mirror first, because it’s simpler. I’ll have less to think about if I get it out of the way.

So Step 0: Stop. Go re-sharpen all your tools. This took about a day or so. Longer than normal because I was trying to grind a camber on most of the irons and I’m not very swift at it yet.

Step 1: Cut all parts to rough width and rough length.

Step 2: Cut all parts to final width, smooth both faces and edges.

Here’s where the sharpening really paid off. I spent a little extra time trying to fine tune my jack plane and the results were ridiculously amazing (to me). This is my first real success with smoothing a board by hand tool in a short amount of time. It’s way more fun than sanding.

Step 3: Cut parts to final length.
I tried to use my jack plane and shooting board to square up the end grain, but it was bothering my shoulder. Carolyn has said she wants to buy me the Lie-Nielsen No.51 Shooting Board Plane for Birthday/Christmas this year, but that’s over a month and a half away. Not wanting to wait on the project I looked around for an alternative method for squaring up the ends of the boards.

I pulled out my Ulmia Miter Saw and gave it a shot.

I figured that I’d only have a tiny bit of wood on each end that needed to be cleaned up on the shooting board. I was wrong.

The freshly sawn end grain surface left by the Ulmia is almost as smooth as what you’d get from a shooting board. And as for having to make things square…

This is a real problem because now I’m going to have a very difficult time justifying the purchase of such an expensive hand plane. :P

Step 4: Indicate which way is front and which way is up.

Here are all the parts to final width and final length and final smoothness in place. All they need now is a little joinery so they all fit together. This is going faster than I expected.

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. -

3 comments so far

View Vince's profile


1209 posts in 3939 days

#1 posted 11-12-2012 06:32 AM

Looking good, how long does it take to cut through one of those boards?
Do you plan on using all hand tools on this project? If so I’ll be waiting to see more.
Also the picture with the T-square….I thought the board was glass, very nice work.

-- Vince

View Steve Erwin's profile

Steve Erwin

132 posts in 2562 days

#2 posted 11-12-2012 03:13 PM

@Vince: Whether crosscutting with a panel saw or the miter saw it only takes a few seconds. I never really timed it. Maybe 20-30 saw strokes? Maybe more, it’s a pretty smooth cut. I don’t do rip cuts by hand. I use my bandsaw and then I joint the edge with my jack plane (I don’t own a jointer plane).

As for the hand tool / power tool topic, I share a woodshop with my brother in his garage. These photos so my basement shop, if you can even call it a shop. I don’t have space for a lot of power tools at my house and I got sick of having to drive out to his place to do anything, so hand tools at my place (mostly), and power tools at his.

I keep my 13” planer, 6” jointer, and benchtop mortiser at my brother’s. If I buy rough-sawn lumber, I’ll bring it there and mill it down to thickness and joint the edges with power tools, cut it to rough width and length using his table saw and radial arm saw, and then bring the boards home to get things to final dimensions and mark for the joinery.

In the case of this project, Dunham Hardwood prepped all the boards to S3S for me, so I had him deliver the wood to my place.

I don’t do the mortises by hand. I go for a drive, drill a few and visit with my niece and nephews on a Saturday morning. I prefer to cut the tenons on the table saw using a dado stack.

But I do like using hand tools to do most of what a powered router does. So you’ll see photos of rabbets and dadoes and grooves and tongues.

And then of course using hand planes to smooth the boards instead of sandpaper. I’m not against sandpaper, I’m just interested in saving myself time and from having to inhale all the dust. If I can’t get the planes or the wood to cooperate, I’m not too stubborn to pick up a sanding block and get the job done.

Thanks for the kind words :)

-- I've been creating problems to solve since I was born. -

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 3197 days

#3 posted 11-12-2012 06:30 PM

Wow I so look forward to seeing this in process!

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