Craftsman Style Framed Mirror #3: Making the corbels & screwing up the cove molding

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Blog entry by Chris McDowell posted 07-08-2013 12:29 AM 2872 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: crack repair and cutting a cove on the table saw Part 3 of Craftsman Style Framed Mirror series Part 4: Inner Frame »
  • I had a major screw up in this segment and was so aggravated that I almost scrapped the whole project and started over. But that would’ve cost another $21 bucks for wood, so I had to make it work, which I did, and I’m not overly happy about the way it turned out, but it’ll have to suffice. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

After I finished all the cuts on the cove molding I sanded it to get rid of burn marks.

Then I started on the corbels. The first time I cut them the wrong size and I didn’t realize it until I was laying out the part I had to cut out of them and something just wasn’t right. I redid them and moved to the drill press to cut the main chunk out.

The plans said to cut them out using a band saw, which I don’t have, and didn’t feel comfortable trying to cut them out on the jig saw. I considered using a coping saw, but have never really used it yet for anything so I instead used a 1.5” hole saw. The plans called for a size of 1.25”, but I thought 1.5” would look about the same.

I got a file set for father’s day, so I used one of them to shape it the rest of the way. It was my first time ever using a file (for woodworking) and it took a while, but it was kind of fun doing it by hand. My goal in woodworking was originally to do everything the traditional way with hand tools and I do still want to do most of it using hand tools, but I kind of like the idea of “hybrid woodworking” like the wood whisperer espouses. Plus, if I only used hand tools, I really wouldn’t have been able to start woodworking yet because I can’t find or afford the hand tools I would need, like planes and saws, which I really want. That’ll come in time, I guess. Until then, using power tools, I at least get to make some stuff.

Then I glued the corbels on.

At this point, we left for July 4th weekend to go see my sister-in-law in North Carolina, so I was left to watching many woodworking videos. I rewatched a bunch of Wood Whisperer videos, plus I found a guy in Canada called The Woodpecker and watched a ton of his.

Once we got back I started cutting the cove molding. I attached the two parts for the middle sections. Then, for some reason, I could not wrap my head around how I needed to miter the end pieces. I kept trying to lay the pieces the wrong way. I finally figured it out, but was too tired at that point to continue (we had just gotten home from a long drive). I started on it this afternoon and cut the two end pieces, but when I went to start on the returns I realized that I only had enough molding left over to make one cut for each side and NOT MESS UP. Well, I stinking messed up. For some other weird reason, I couldn’t figure out which way I needed to lay these pieces to make them match up. I think it’s something to do with the shape of the molding. I cut the wrong angle, then I was left with these pieces.

Now, all I had was this:

Which leaves a big huge gap behind the molding on the sides:

I had no idea what to do. I was so mad I wanted to quit. I had to figure something out.

I noticed a small cut off piece that looked like it would fit behind the gap. I decided to try to cut an angle on one end and see what it looked like.

It was a little to big and made the molding sit off of the frame a little.

So I filed the back of the molding until it fit correctly.

It took about 15 minutes a piece to get them fitting right, then I sanded the pieces again and glued them down and ended up with this:

Not exactly awesome looking, but I guess most people will be looking in the mirror instead of under the shelf. It’s better than a big gap. I considered redoing the molding, but then again I didn’t have enough wood and also the two middle pieces had already been glued. I would’ve had to pry them off and probably would have damaged other pieces.

All I have left now as far as cutting and gluing wood are the decorative muntins (or, sash bars) that go on the inside of the frame and hold the mirror in.

Side note:

In the first post of this series I mentioned how the bottom rail just didn’t fit perfectly into the stiles and I couldn’t figure out why. Well, I figured it out the other day:

The fence is not square with the base anymore! Ugh. I guess since I usually pick up and hold the sled from the fence, and also since the sled is made out of particle board covered in melamine, it has worked it’s way out of square. So, when I was holding the rail vertically against the fence to cut the double tenons I was actually cutting the cheeks of the tenons at a slight angle which made them sit off a little against the stile.

Well, that just means I’ll have to make another one. Next time, I’m gonna do it with proper materials. It may be a while, though, since I have to buy more wood. I’ll just have to be careful with certain cuts.

- Thanks for reading.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

3 comments so far

View Buckethead's profile


3195 posts in 2254 days

#1 posted 07-08-2013 12:44 AM

It’s a really pretty piece. It’s easy to get turned around in you mind when doing miter cuts on crown and cove.

I find that when I’m confused, orienting the board against the fence of the CMS the same way it gets installed helps me to see what I need to do.

I’m glad you powered through. Giving up isn’t an option.

I can tell you this: some mistakes on different jobs will haunt you forever.

I built an annex building for an historical attraction in my area some years ago. We hung the fly rafters to get a roof nail off inspection and the outriggers were not yet fabricated, so we retrofitted them. There was a seat cut needed at the peak, and at the lower eave. the guy who cut this one botched the cut. Rather than making him replace the fascia/fly rafters (gable roof) I allowed him to fill the gap… Even that was done poorly. When I visit, my eye can’t see the beautiful structure I built… Just the bad cut and bad fill. Yup… It’s still there.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

644 posts in 2538 days

#2 posted 07-08-2013 01:06 AM

Thanks for your comment. I can understand about knowing about the mistakes forever. Even though I know no one will probably notice the mistake—in fact, in may not even look like a mistake to the average person, but like part of the design—I, however, will know it’s there. I’m just going to consider this one a prototype and will do another later on with nicer wood than pine!

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View pintodeluxe's profile


5933 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 07-08-2013 03:54 AM

If you use a miter saw you can orient the cove so the top is against the bed, and the bottom is against the fence. Maintain that spring angle as you cut the cove. Instead of tilting the saw, just angle it to 45 degrees. Then cut a small return with the opposite angle.
It does take practice. The three hardest carpentry jobs I have encountered are building chairs, installing stair railings on a staircase with multiple 45 degree bends (compound angles), and crown moulding.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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