Wedding Mirror Frame

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Blog entry by justoneofme posted 03-05-2012 07:45 AM 11146 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi There Lumberjock Friends!

At long last, I’m posting from the very start what I hope will be of interest to you all … a very special Intarsia project that has to be completed in time for our daughter’s wedding in August.

The design for this mirror frame was completed before the Xmas rush of having our grandkids come into my workshop to work upon their annual Xmas gift making. Then right into the new year, Bill and I were off on a 7 week road trip down south.

Now it’s good to be back into the workshop creating dust while cutting out the design. These cedar boards are at least 50 years old!!, having been removed while renovating the exterior of our home. Freed from layers of paint, they were ready to clamp together in preparation to transfer the design.

The Wedding Mirror design itself is approximately 4’ wide x 2’ high and will then be encased in framework. Working with 4 foot + boards, the length of cutting portion had to be determined … taking into consideration the ease of cut within my Excalibur scroll saw’s 24” throat.

Look what happens when I’m not paying attention! With each end section now glue together and ready to cut, have you noticed the hole on the far left side of the design (second photo below)? I obviously wasn’t paying attention when shifting the boards around before clamping and design transferring! I could have slapped myself silly for such a blunder, and there was no way I was going to start from scratch with another board. I also had no desire to stick a substitute piece of cedar beneath that area while cutting. What a pain! We all know these sorts of problems do arise … but you’ll find out, as this art piece develops, how I didn’t allow myself to be intimidated by a little hole!!

When cutting intricate designs … especially where sharp points and corners have to be executed … and I’m faced with having to use a brand new blade … I prefer to dull my blade a bit before starting. I know … that sounds insane!!, because everyone wants a nice keen edge to work with. But … I’ve learned control the hard way! Sharp blades tend to travel, making a tight point into a rounded corner!! Also remember, I’m having to stand farther away from my blade at various times (due to the board length) when a quick pivot is required. So … this is my method of slightly dulling a new blade in prep for the lengthy cutting stage ahead.

A before and after of the cutting. Notice I don’t follow the transferred lines exactly. The only exact lines in this design are for the bird house … the rest are free form. By the time I am ready for this stage, I have a better feel for the flow of leaves, petals and branches.

Sorry this entry has been so long winded! That cutting stage took a total of 13 hours. It doesn’t sound like much, but interspersed with everyday life … it’s enough! And now the fun really begins as each individual piece of this design starts to take shape. The next Wedding Mirror blog will be a while in coming, but it may be worth the wait! Until then, happy woodworking to all. Elaine from Duncan.

-- Elaine in Duncan

4 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8621 posts in 3718 days

#1 posted 03-05-2012 03:13 PM

This is going to be an amazing process to follow Elaine and I’ll be here following it here until I leave Az in April. Then I’ll be over at your shop every week or so to see it first hand.
Great start. Your artwork is just perfect and your instinct for alteration on the fly is right on too.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3590 posts in 4632 days

#2 posted 03-06-2012 06:07 AM


This is one incredibly complicated undertaking. We’re looking forward to following your progress.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4254 days

#3 posted 04-01-2012 07:46 PM

I’m glad to see the first installment of your blog Elaine. I didn’t notice the other one was #2 until now. Fun to watch your work process. I’m a little worried about the sanding part. There must be a lot judgement involved to determine what is suitable for any particular part. I hope you will tell us something about you decide to sand the various parts. Maybe it’s a no brainer, but a few tips would be appreciated even though you are finished with that work already.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View justoneofme's profile


841 posts in 3400 days

#4 posted 04-03-2012 01:16 AM

Hi Mike: Glad you got to see the before section … before worrying yourself about the actual sanding part! Actually, for the most part, I go ‘by guess and by golly’. That part of it is difficult to explain, because I just sand each part the way I think it should look, taking into consideration the elevation part at the same time. In most cases that seems to work! If I have a photo that I’m following, it’s definitely much easier to shape the parts accordingly. But in this particular case there was no photo to help me. Sorry … I can’t explain it any better than that!

-- Elaine in Duncan

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