Chippendale Mirrors

  • Advertise with us
Project by mauibob posted 10-02-2012 08:03 PM 3715 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are two Chippendale-style mirrors that I constructed from a circa 1775 design that I happened to really like.

The first is constructed of figured tiger and Western big leaf maple; the second uses figured African mahogany. The maple mirror uses a more traditional 18th century design with a half-lap subframe, and thick veneer moldings which were shaped on my router table. The mahogany mirror uses thicker, mitered moldings reinforced with miter splines (something not done in 18th century designs to my knowledge).

The “rabbet” for the mirror in the maple design is actually created by the overhang of the shaped molding and the poplar subframe, whereas in the mahogany design the rabbet is actually shaped in the molding material itself.

The “fins” are all cut using 1/4” solid material on the scroll saw, and then further refined and shaped on the oscillating spindle sander. As they are attached long-grain to long-grain to the moldings, and further reinforced with glue blocks from behind, warping is not a problem.

Both mirrors were stained and then finished with about 6 layers of tung oil, finished with hand rubbed paste wax.

—I added a “square” image of the maple mirror since LJ’s web interface displayed only the sides of the mirror in the preview.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

16 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8781 posts in 4138 days

#1 posted 10-02-2012 08:46 PM

Very nice mirrors Bob.

The grain on the Maple is just gorgeous.

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

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1110 posts in 5147 days

#2 posted 10-02-2012 08:53 PM

wow…flaming beauties!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4524 days

#3 posted 10-02-2012 09:22 PM

Both mirrors look really nice. The color contrast as a set would be great in a room. The tiger maple especially stands out.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 3722 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 02:42 AM

Really nice pieces. Love to see great looking work on great looking wood.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View Woodenwizard's profile


1369 posts in 4383 days

#5 posted 10-03-2012 03:19 AM

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest lumberjock of all.

Nice job!

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3938 days

#6 posted 10-03-2012 03:21 AM

Wow, amazing wood on this one. Where do people get this amazing wood? Really nice stuff.

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 3541 days

#7 posted 10-03-2012 04:04 PM

Wow, now that is the 3rd WOW Bob….. Beautiful Work. Since I am a sucker for the Mahoganys you know which one I like… What plans did you use?

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View mauibob's profile


257 posts in 4407 days

#8 posted 10-03-2012 04:21 PM

Thanks for the nice comments everyone!

Gshepherd, I literally searched the web for period 18th century Chippendale mirrors for sale at various auction houses and galleries and picked the scrollwork design that I liked the best. I copied the photo into Photoshop and did some simple mods to generate a suitable outline for scrolling. The rest was easy—just a question of making the frames (like I indicated, there were 2 different approaches used for the two), and then attaching the scrollwork.

ShaneA, the big leaf and curly maple for the first mirror project actually came from two eBay suppliers (lewoh in Ohio, and woodbay in Washington state). I also have a stock of big leaf that I shipped from Tacoma, WA when I visited my brother in law out there—wish I had shipped a ton more! The figured African mahogany came from Exotic Lumber (, a local supplier here in Maryland (he also ships anywhere).

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4917 days

#9 posted 10-03-2012 04:36 PM

Fantastic job Bob they both look fantastic.


View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 3528 days

#10 posted 10-03-2012 06:30 PM

Beautiful ! I think the lighter colored woods are actually better (than the versions of this type of mirror using woods like Walnut or mahogany).

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View BenR's profile


341 posts in 3968 days

#11 posted 10-03-2012 10:06 PM

Spectacular wood choices, both are beautiful. Those scroll work details look crisp from here. Just really nice work. Thanks for sharing with us.

-- Ben in Va

View tinnman65's profile


1426 posts in 4754 days

#12 posted 10-06-2012 02:16 PM

Beautiful piece, the grain on both mirrors is striking.

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4418 days

#13 posted 11-03-2012 04:52 AM

They are true beauties. The first one looks more like quilted rather than tiger maple which I like almost above all other wood. I sure would hang either on my wall!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 5264 days

#14 posted 02-23-2013 03:07 PM

Hi Bob, Where did you get the design? Did you draw them yourself?

View mauibob's profile


257 posts in 4407 days

#15 posted 02-23-2013 03:53 PM

Hi Bob! I actually got the design idea from an 18th century mirror that I found on the Internet. I’ve added 3 more pictures—#4 is of the original 18th century mirror (note the string inlay which I decided not to incorporate in my versions), and #5 and #6 are of the templates that I used for the top and bottom crests.

I popped the original image of the mirror into Photoshop, contrast stretched and converted to B&W. I then used Microsoft Powerpoint to take the resulting bit maps, scale them to the dimensions that I wanted, and flipped and connected the mirror images to use as paper templates for my scroll saw. (Could have also done that in Photoshop, but Powerpoint is actually a bit simpler to use for such simple operations.) Lumberjocks only lets you post 6 images, so I have not shown the side pieces, but they were done in the same manner.

My frame is slightly wider than on the original, but I chose the width based upon measurements that I took on two other Chippendale mirrors whose proportions I liked better.

-- Bob, Potomac, MD

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics