Monday, September 30, 2013

Re-Purposed Reflection

Ever so slowly, Megs has been turning me on to using found items around the farm. I have always been, and will be in my heart, a lover of a fresh sheet of plywood. There is something so optimistic about a 4 x 8 foot sheet of opportunity. It softly whispers to me… I can be anything you dream of with just a few cuts of your saw. If Yankee Candle sold a fresh cut lumber candle, I would be first in line to buy, along with damp campfire, and vaporized cutting oil, but I digress. However, most of the projects we do on this old farm make my joyous, dimensionally stable wood look out of place. And when I do complete a nice modern looking piece of furniture, Megan enters and faux paints it to make it look old… thanks for teaching her that one Adourn! (We love your store though)

Despite all my complaints, Megs called it right when she asked if I could make a frame for the current vanity mirror in our bathroom out of some old wood.
Master bathroom when we moved in.  Since then, we installed a new vanity sink

When I was tearing out the bunker walls in the grainery, my new shop, I saved as much of the good looking 8” shiplap boards I could. You might remember those boards from such projects as the compost bins and soon to be exterior porch table. (Best Troy McClure voice)

I asked Megs how wide she would like the frame border and in typical fashion she walked me into the bathroom, cocked her head slightly, squinted one eye, held up her finger and thumb by the mirror and proclaimed… mmmmm, like that. Once I had converted that into useful human information, 2 ½” to be precise, I headed to the shop to rip some lumber. I found 2 “good” looking boards that still had character, nail holes, divots, etc, I got to making dust. A quick sand with some 120 grit paper cleaned up the face of the boards while creating more depths with the untouched inclusions.

What Megs usually looks for in these types of projects is 20 minutes worth of work, 4 butted joints, and for me to glue the boards in some fashion to the mirror… bam, done! I on the other hand am not capable of completing jobs in that fashion. I have tried, but I just can’t do it, it hurts my soul and I feel my talent lies in being anal with my work. I started by measuring the distance between the wall and the face of the mirror (5/16”) and cutting a 1” wide rabbit around the inner perimeter of the frame. This would allow the frame to sit tight on the wall as well as the mirror, creating an encased frame appearance.

Original mounting hardware

Mounting hardware hidden in the framework
I also cut a relief groove in the top frame side to accommodate the current mounting hardware that holds the mirror to the wall; we can’t have that showing! Then I re-sawed the bottom side of the frame to the remove 5/16” worth of stock. I had to do this because unlike the other 3 sides, the bottom sits right on the vanity sink backsplash and face mounting my new frame is the only option.

Once all the individual sides were milled I took them all inside to measure dry fit, and mark them for length. The famous Norm Abraham once said, only measure when you have to, which I try to follow whenever I can. As an engineer I would love to talk about why this principal is so important but the short of it is, if the parts follow the edict of Form, Fit, and Function who cares what the measurement is! Errors are made in measurement so skip it when you can. I lined everything up, scribed my lines and headed back out to cut the 45 degree bevels at the corners. Some fine tuning, glue, and a couple of brad and pin nails to hold it all together and the job is done.

The warm look of the natural wood completely transforms the feel of the bathroom and maintains some of the heritage of the old farm. Repurposing old lumber from the grainery into the bathroom… she’s a smart chick my wife. 
We agree next thing to go in the bathroom is that light!  We are thinking this.

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