Standing Mirror with StorageComments (0)
This article is from Issue 81 of Woodcraft Magazine.
This stylish project reflects beauty inside and out.
At first glance, a full-length standing mirror with a built-in storage compartment might seem as simple as hinging together two frames and bolting them between a pair of legs, but as they say, “the devil’s in the details.” The project’s size and storage requirements posed a few challenges that are sometimes overlooked by store-bought competition. Successfully solving these devilish details turned a story assignment into a lovely gift for my wife.
Finding a mirror was easy. After scouting several home centers and department stores, I picked the largest wall-hung mirror and sized the frames to suit. I soon discovered that the mirror was prone to toppling when the door was opened. To prevent this, I designed a frame retainer that could either lock the frame in place when choosing jewelry, or be pivoted out of the way to adjust the mirror’s tilt. To fine-tune storage issues, I met with my in-house jewelry consultant. This assortment of shelves and hooks holds a large collection of jewelry, but I suggest checking with your own in-house expert to ensure that the storage scheme suits the fairest one of all.
Order of Work
- Assemble the frames.
- Make the stand to fit the frames.
- Make the storage box.
- Finish the frames, stand, and storage box.
- Bolt the stand to the frame and attach the storage box.
- Attach the jewelry-hanging hardware and install the mirror.
Buy the mirror, then build from the inside out
This project can be made from any hardwood, but I used cherry because it’s easy to work, finishes well, and is reasonably priced. You’ll need about 20 BF of 6/4 lumber.
To reduce the chance of breakage and bad luck, I suggest attaching the plywood backer to your mirror at the start of the project and then setting it safely aside. Be sure to select a mirror-safe adhesive; some will corrode the mirror silvering.
Make two frames—one for the mirror, one for storage
Building the project from the inside out ensures that the mirror fits within the front frame, and that the frames fit the stand. Since they’re identical except for the rabbets and chamfers, you can make both frames at the same time. Mill the rails and stiles to size, and then lay out and cut the bridle joints as shown.
A slotting cutter makes quick work of the 1/2"-wide rabbets, but you’ll need to identify the bit’s reach on your router table’s fence to make the stopped cuts in the stiles (see photo below). (Note that rabbets in the front and back frame are different depths.)
After assembly, finish off the rabbeted and chamfered corners as shown on the facing page. Then, install the hinges, the threaded inserts for the pivot rod and retainer, and the hinge spacers.
Stopped rabbets in the stiles. Mark the bit’s reach on the fence and the rabbet’s extents on the stiles. Pivot the stock into the bit to start the cut. Turn the router off when the lines touch at the trailing end.
Assembling the frames. Check for square as you pull the joints together, persuading them with a soft-faced mallet if necessary. Then face-clamp the corners as shown.
Make the stretcher, uprights, and feet
To allow room for the mirror to pivot, adjust the stretcher’s length so that its shoulder to shoulder distance is 2-1/2"-wider than your frames. After cutting tenon shoulders, taper its top edge as shown. Cut the cheeks to match the spacers.
After milling and mortising the uprights, I made four identical feet by tracing a stiff paper pattern, and then using a straightedge to darken the traced lines. When sawing, follow the lines around the tenon as closely you can for a seamless fit.
After sawing out the feet, I used a sliding crosscut sled to cut the tenon shoulders, and then routed the cheeks to fit the uprights.
Assemble the uprights and finish the stand
Drill the pivot holes in the center spacers, and then glue all the spacers between the untapered uprights, as shown below. Once the glue has dried, clean up the glue joints, cut the tapers on the bandsaw, and then remove the saw marks.
Next, cut the tenon cheeks on the stretcher to fit and do a dry assembly, as shown at right. In order for the frames to fit within the stand, it’s important that the stretcher is square to both uprights. Adjust the stretcher’s shoulders as needed, and double-check the assembly during glue-up.
Keep it tight and square. The uprights must be parallel in order for the frames to fit. Dry-assemble the stand, check for square, and adjust the fit before applying glue.
Make matching hardware
Lay out the pivot points and knobs on a single piece of stock, drill the through and blind holes, and then install threaded inserts in the knobs. Next, cut out the parts, and use a belt sander to finish the shaping process. To permanently affix the threaded pivot rods, apply a few drops of CA glue or epoxy before installing into the knobs.
Finish and final assembly
After building the storage box to fit the frame, I finished the cherry parts with Arm-R-Seal and painted the plywood parts black. Follow this final assembly sequence to avoid seven years of bad luck. First, attach the stand to the empty frames. Don’t over-tighten the knobs; the frames will need to move when installing the storage box and mirror.
Next, set the storage box into the back frame, join the two with retaining tabs and then tack in the plywood back. Now, install the shelves and hanging hardware. (I used construction adhesive to attach the shelves behind the mirror.)
Before installing the mirror, flip the frame retainer down to keep the frame from tilting. Starting at the bottom, gently press the mirror into the rabbet, and insert framing push points to ensure that it stays put.
Go easy with the glass. The mirror and mirror backer unit go in last. Set it in at the bottom and then gently press it in place.
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