Accent Mirror

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Set the stage to show off your carving

By Ken Burton

I’ve been making mirrors with attached shelves for years. Recently, I started adding small objects to those shelves, including stone cairns, turned vases, and carved birds such as the one you see here. Adding these little “extras” has made the mirrors sell better, and they’re more fun to build. 

The frame and shelf are quite simple to construct. A couple of dado cuts, a few dowels, and some screws hold things in place. The real effort comes in carving/whittling the bird. The bird isn’t meant to be a specific species, but more of an archetype. I drew my inspiration from the work of Emil Milan, whose stylized bird carvings I greatly admire. If you haven’t tried carving before, this project is a great way to get started. It doesn’t require many tools—a knife or two and a couple of chisels—and the overall design is fairly simple and forgiving. If you’re a more experienced carver, you might want to modify the basic design to suit your own aesthetic. 

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