Reflections of the USS Enterprise

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Project by NoLongerHere posted 11-24-2012 03:50 AM 4643 views 4 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Oak framed Mirror with glass display shelf

I made this simple mirror frame out of scrap 2 1/4” oak colonial casing and a used mirror from a bathroom remodel we did for a client a few years ago.

There is a 1 1/2” x 1/2” oak pc. installed on the back sides and rabbited for the 1/4” maple plywood which is attached with small brass screws. That way you could remove and replace the mirror if needed.

The shelf brackets are made out of 1” x 3/16” aluminum bent in to shape and secured from the back.

The tempered glass shelf is 8” x 36”, 3/8” thick and it’s mounted above my drawing board in my home office.

I have to admit, the shelf was added later and was the perfect solution to a ten year destiny in the making.

Let me explain.

As a remodeler, I’ve become a regular patron at our local Ace Hardware store. The “helpful hardware guys” always recognize me and the manager is quick to offer a 10% discount on tools and Carhart work clothes.

If I have time, I’ll browse the tool aisles and occasionally, the hobby aisle to check out the car model kits.

I don’t buy them anymore but they remind me of my teenage years when I use to build models of hot rods mostly but I also built airplanes, motorcycles, working engines and war ships.

Silly I know…. but they’re still cool to me.

I remember when I helped my 12 year old son build his first model of a 1989 Z28 black Camaro. We painted the motor chevy orange and the exhaust system and sway bars silver. He really enjoyed model building after that.

Now, here’s the thing – For the last ten years, there has been this HUGE box on the top shelf. It was a large scale model of the aircraft carrier, the Enterprise – marked For sale = 89.95

I noticed the large ship model the first time I came in to the brand new Ace hardware because that happened to be the ship I was on when I was just a kid in the Navy, way back in 1977 – 79.

Even so, I thought 89 bucks was a bit steep for a model that I really didn’t need or have room for, so I passed.

So, it sat there for 10 years, way up on the shelf. The picture on the box slowly faded to a light blue from the flourescent lights and every once in a while, I noticed they would dust it and change the angle.

Then one day, I came in to get some nuts and bolts. I was in a hurry so I didn’t have time to browse but, as I walked passed, I couldn’t help glancing down the car model asile.

And There, sticking out from the top shelf, was the large faded box of the USS Enterprise with a bright orange clearance sticker on it – 80% off.

..... as if my ship was calling me back for duty.

Seriously, who else is going to buy this model of American military history?

Who else but a veteran from the ship would give it a home and appreciate it? What are the chances of another veteran from the USS Enterprise, who still likes building models, walking in the door – except me?

So, I brought it home and spent the next several evenings spreading hundreds of familiar ship parts all over the dining room table. It really wasn’t that hard to build but it sure brought back memories of my ship mates and duties while on board.

As a Machinest Mate, during peace time, I helped run and maintain the aircraft elevators and the auxillary steering pumps….. painted gray machinery and read gages is more like it.

That’s me on the right. Look! I had hair once! ha!

We sailed from Alameda to Canada to San Deigo several times but I got out early after finding out I was going to be a dad, a higher calling with no regrets. yet, I missed the trip of a lifetime, the westpak cruise to Australia.

It was a cool experience although, I didn’t fully appreciate it until many years later.

The mirror seemed like a good way to display the model from both sides.
It’s really not in the way mounted above my drawing board and looks pretty cool, I think.

The Enterprise just retired on december 1st. 2012 and I would like to say,

Thank you for all of the training, the memorable experiences and letting me be a part of your history.

I am a better man and I will remember you, CVN-65 USS Enterprise.

29 comments so far

View AlBCuttnWud's profile


743 posts in 3972 days

#1 posted 11-24-2012 03:56 AM

Great story. I’ve sailed on her for two deployments. Funny how these hunks of steel can become a part of our hearts for those who have served on them.

-- -Al, Jacksonville, FL

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30651 posts in 3620 days

#2 posted 11-24-2012 04:36 AM

Great story, great project.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View USAFPOL's profile


125 posts in 3333 days

#3 posted 11-24-2012 05:03 AM

great project, always love a story behind a project.

View shipwright's profile


8760 posts in 4080 days

#4 posted 11-24-2012 05:06 AM

I love the story.
Sometimes you just get a sign.

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

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4139 days

#5 posted 11-24-2012 08:16 AM

Great story, the model was meant for you


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Dale 's profile


415 posts in 4463 days

#6 posted 11-24-2012 01:28 PM

Fantastic story and a great build. My son was on the Saratoga and I got to do 2 tiger cruises with him.

-- Dale West Central Pa. Do it all, before last call.

View DBoltz's profile


122 posts in 3661 days

#7 posted 11-24-2012 02:18 PM

Cool project and story. My LPO from my last ship did the final voyage with her as well as a guy that was stationed with me at my last command. On my last ship we did many a nights of plane guard for her.

-- Dan, Virginia Beach

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4955 days

#8 posted 11-24-2012 03:09 PM

Great story, nice project.

View sras's profile


6426 posts in 4411 days

#9 posted 11-24-2012 04:30 PM

I agree – the mirror is a great way to show off both sides of the model! Thanks for the story and pictures.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View ldl's profile


1135 posts in 3647 days

#10 posted 11-24-2012 05:42 PM

Thanks for your service.

I used to build sailing ships in my teenage years but got out of it when I graduated. When I first looked at the pic I though you had a couple of ships till I saw the mirror.

-- Dewayne in Bainbridge, Ga. - - No one can make you mad. Only you decide when you get mad - -

View lew's profile


13442 posts in 5037 days

#11 posted 11-24-2012 06:03 PM

Glad you included the Intruder (A-6) picture!!

Mirror and model are great!!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View degoose's profile


7285 posts in 4637 days

#12 posted 11-24-2012 06:36 PM

I saw her in Subic in the late 70’s…. huge ship…. dwarfed the Destroyer Escort I was serving on….
Great job…

-- Be safe.

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4359 days

#13 posted 11-25-2012 12:10 AM

Very… VERY Cool!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4397 days

#14 posted 11-25-2012 12:24 AM

thanks for the story :-)
nice modell of enterprice
I used to build all kinds of plasticmodells as teenager
and later for dioramas to our militair
I like the picture of the F-14 Tomcat … have made a R/c model of that with the swingwing working


View Dark_Lightning's profile


4932 posts in 4391 days

#15 posted 11-25-2012 01:34 AM

Nice mirror and model. I served last on the Oriskany, from 1975-1976. Don’t see models of her, but there are still photos and a movie of here being scuttled off the coast of Florida to make a reef. Kind of creepy watching her sink. I was an MM3 at the time, in Main Control, Lower level.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

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