Tattoo Mirror

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Project by Blake posted 12-13-2007 10:57 PM 5914 views 6 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have to admit, this project was inspired by Roger’s beautiful Hand Mirrors. But I had always wanted to make one and I thought it would be the perfect gift for my Tattoo Artist. Next week he will be expanding on a tattoo he gave me earlier this year. My tattoo will be a complete half-back (right side) when he is done. What you see in that third picture represents about ten hours of work. I am probably about about half way done.

He is an amazing artist, as you can see, specializing in traditional Japanese tattoo art. He doesn’t advertise, has a tiny sign which barely catches your eye from the street, and yet he is in so much demand that I was on a waiting list for more than a year before I could get an appointment. His shop is not like most tattoo parlors, it looks and feels more like an art gallery. Framed artwork by the artists lines the walls.

When he last worked on my tattoo I noticed that he had a very small, cheap, plastic hand mirror (along with a full floor to ceiling wall mirror). Not only was it difficult to see my back in the small hand mirror, but I thought he needed something with a little more character for his shop.

It is made from bird’s eye maple and purple heart laminated together. The maple has a subtle difference between the sapwood and heartwood. It was cut to shape on a band saw and scroll saw, as well as a lot of “whittling” with a knife and sanding on the edges. It is fairly large, about 16 1/2” long with an 8” round mirror. I spent a lot of time on the 6” belt sander shaping the profile. If you look at if from the side you would notice a gentle slope down to about 1/4” thick near the top and sides behind the mirror. This cut down considerably on weight and gave it a much better balance.

The edges/sides are airbrushed with red transparent paint. Finished with boiled linseed oil and three coats of General Finish oil & Polyurethane.

By the way, yes, it hurt.

-- Happy woodworking!

30 comments so far

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5281 days

#1 posted 12-13-2007 11:09 PM

Nice work and thoughtful, he will be impressed and appreciative I’m sure.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5068 days

#2 posted 12-13-2007 11:26 PM

A piece like this ought to cut down on your waiting time for the next appointment. Great stuff as always Blake

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Muzhik's profile


173 posts in 5113 days

#3 posted 12-14-2007 12:27 AM

That’s a pretty cool-looking mirror, Blake. Nice ink, too. I can see why this guy has a year-long waiting list.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5193 days

#4 posted 12-14-2007 02:50 AM

A gift befitting such a talented artist! Nice work, Blake.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4881 days

#5 posted 12-14-2007 02:54 AM

Nice work (by you and your tattoo guy). That is a very thoughtful gift. I am sure he will use it/display it with pride.

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4855 days

#6 posted 12-14-2007 02:58 AM

wow ! very sweet. you definately go to the front of the line with this . great work blake

View RobG's profile


71 posts in 4797 days

#7 posted 12-14-2007 03:21 AM

Very nice!! Great job on the finish I would have never thought of mixing a little paint in like that.

-- Woodworking is Life. Anything before or after is just waiting.--S. McQueen sort of

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4073 posts in 5039 days

#8 posted 12-14-2007 04:07 AM

Quote: He is an amazing artist, as you can see
Guess what, Blake. You are too.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14188 posts in 4958 days

#9 posted 12-14-2007 04:13 AM

nice work Blake. Exotic mirror, both design and material,

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5289 days

#10 posted 12-14-2007 05:21 AM

Looks Good! I’ve always liked Rogers designs.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4937 days

#11 posted 12-14-2007 05:36 AM

A great piece of work, Blake. I really like it. I hope your wife likes the tattoo since she can see it and you can’t. LOL It’s very artistic as well.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4981 days

#12 posted 12-14-2007 05:48 AM

The mirror was a wonderful idea Blake…Great job!

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4849 days

#13 posted 12-14-2007 05:50 AM

Wow, thank you all for the nice comments. This was a fun one to make. Different than anything I had ever done before.

Thos.: my wife got one from the same artist at the same time I got mine (floral, color, on her foot/ankle/lower leg). She says she likes mine better but hers is just as well done.

I will post a picture of the finished product when he finishes it.

-- Happy woodworking!

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5041 days

#14 posted 12-14-2007 11:10 AM

Beautiful mirror Blake – I think it is very artistic and great finish. As for the tattoo I got one in 1964, not nearly that big, and realized that it hurt. Have not had a desire to do that again :-)).

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5136 days

#15 posted 12-14-2007 12:00 PM

yah, “ouch”.
the mirror is very beautiful .. and I can imagine a few tears of joy being choked back over receiving this!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

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