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.

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