Skip to main content

Falling into a pattern

Ever have a one-off project unexpectedly become a series? It’s usually a surprise and, for me, a pleasant one.

Woodworkers get a lot of requests from family this time of year, and one of the more interesting requests I got was to make a hand mirror. Because I’d never made one before, I warmed to the idea immediately. I came up with a design, ordered some mirror glass rounds, and rummaged through my lumber rack and came up with a really nice piece of figured maple.

To create the inset for the glass I made a routing template sized to the mirror and attached it to my maple, and quickly routed out the inset. But then I realized there was enough wood left on my workpiece to fit another pair of mirrors and since there were six mirrors in the pack I ordered, I figured, why not? Template routing is as repeatable as a task gets, and in a matter of minutes I’d routed out two more. After that, it was a simple matter of transferring my design to the inset areas and cutting out the mirrors on the band saw.

It was so fast and easy, though, that I grabbed another piece of figured stock (that zebrawood I mentioned a couple weeks ago) and did three more. Sure, I had only one request, but the finished mirrors were so attractive and easy to do that I couldn’t resist making more. Don’t know just now what I’ll do with them, but thanks to the advantages of pattern routing I have several nice gifts I can squirrel away for the right occasion.

Related Articles

AJBLOG-1041 image

Developing a pattern

When making a reproduction, sometimes you make a lot of guesses. But other times, you can just let a pattern be your guide.

Hidden treasures

At some point in every project I make, I include something personal that, most likely, no one will ever see.

AJBLOG-1014 image

A surprise sale

Unexpected commissions are the best kind, especially when they come out of nowhere when you have extra time on your hands.

Little project, big reward

I love big, involved projects, but the smaller ones around this time of year are often the most rewarding.

Lazy, or just too busy

Is there ever an excuse for taking the easy – read: lazy – way out on a project?

AJBLOG-1001 image

Of time and tint

One of the things I like about cherry is how its color changes over the years. That’s also one of the things that bugs me about it.

AJBLOG-1009 image

Thirty-three varieties

I had quite a surprise when I started putting together a “sample set” of wood species.

AJBLOG-1013 image

One-armed, once again

What’s the opposite of ambidextrous? Spoiler alert: It’s me.