Chippendale Wall Mirror

chippendale wall mirror

Simple Joinery Yet High Style Challenge and Appearance

This mirror is based on the Colonial Neat & Plain style and could be called Queen Anne Style but with the more ornately veneered fretwork and complex moulding it skews a bit towards the Chippendale style.  Regardless it is an elegant piece yet not so imposing (10x16" mirror) as to dominate a more contemporary room.  The construction is half laps and miters, but with hand stuck complex profile moulding and hammer veneered Walnut burl fretwork there are many challenges in store for the execution.

Full Video Instructions plus so much more...

  • Sketch Up Model
  • PDF Templates for the fretwork
  • Magazine Style Process Document detailing each step
  • Parts List
  • Hand Tool School Community Access
  • The Hand Tool School Tool Library & Sharpening Content

Part 1: The Design

I discuss the elements of this mirror and how historically they were used and built.  We look at several period examples then examine the challenges for this project along with the lumber required and the tools needed to build it.

snipes bill plane

Part 3: The Moulding

I walk through the complex profile step by step from layout to sticking each cove, bead and quirk using hollow and round planes and a Snipes Bill for fun.  Scratch stock can be used if no Snipes Bill is available.

chippendale mirror

Part 5: The Finish

We mix up a 1.5 lb cut of amber shellac and apply it with an HVLP gun.  Instructions for brushing or padding are also covered.  The back is added along with tack strips and keyhole hardware to hang the mirror.

half lapped mirror frame

Part 2: The Frame

We dimension the stock in a unique way that maximizes yields and nets really stable quarter sawn material that is half lapped together.


Part 4: Hammer Veneer & Fretwork

We mix a hammer veneer specific consistency of hide glue and layup Walnut burl panels then saw out the decorative shapes.

As usual, we do it all by hand

No electrons were harmed during the building of this table.  The half laps and miters are hand sawn and the moulding profile stuck with hollows and rounds (#6 and #8).  We use a veneer hammer for the veneer (no vacuum bag or press needed). A fretsaw is used for the fretwork and a simple to build birds mouth bench appliance.  Finally I do use an HVLP sprayed shellac finish but it could easily be brushed or padded on.  Shellac mixing is included in the instructions.

Everything You Need to Build this Little Mirror that Makes a Strong Statement in Any Room