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How to Make a Cheval Mirror
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This elegant and classic free standing cheval mirror is perfect for adding that special touch in your bedroom or dressing area. It has adjustable knobs that enable full length or tilting views. It is made of solid Koa lumber and will provide many years of use and enjoyment. Also, this mirror would be a great project to make for that special person as a surprise gift for Christmas or Valentines Day.

Wooden Cheval Mirror
Click On Image to See Larger Scalable Drawing

Technical Information for Making a Cheval Mirror

A. Materials List:

QUANTITY
LETTER
NAME
SIZE
MATERIAL
WOOD SPECIES
1
A
Left Mirror Frame
3/4" x 1 3/4" x 50"
Koa

Koa
1
B
Right Mirror Frame
3/4" x 1 3/4" x 50"
Koa
1
C
Oval Mirror
1/4" x 18 3/8" x 47 1/2"
Glass
1
D
Back
1/8" x 19 5/8" x 49"
Hardboard
1
E
Left Frame Support
3/4" x 13 11/16" x 35 516"
Koa
1
F
Right Frame Support
3/4" x 13 11/16" x 35 516"
Koa
1
G
Left Frame Support Connector
3/4" x 6 3/4" x 7 1/2"
Koa
1
H
Right Frame Support Connector
3/4" x 6 3/4" x 7 1/2"
Koa
2
I
Base Units
2" x 10" x 21 3/16"
Koa
2
J
Dowels
3/4" Diameter x 24 5/16"
Koa
14
K
Dowel Pins
3/*4" x Diameter x 2"
Birch
2
L
Threaded Inserts
3/8" Diameter x 7/8"
Brass
2
M
Threaded Decorative Rods
1/4" Diameter x 3 1/8"
Brass
2
N
Flat Washers
1"
Brass

B. Patterns:

  1. Scale Mirror Frame A to the drawing dimension size.  This can be accomplished by measuring the print out of the project and dividing that size into the dimension size shown on the drawing, or listed in the Bill of Materials.  This will give a “Multi-Factor” that can be used to figure the enlargement size for the pattern. 
  2. Take the drawing printout and the multi-factor to a printing company.  Most printing companies that do duplicating can make the enlargement required for the pattern.
  3. The same multi-factor can be used to determine the enlargements for the other shapes E & I.
  4. Trace the pattern enlargements onto poster board or Mylar and cut out the patterns with a pair of scissors.
  5. Use these patterns to trace the shapes onto the wood stock.

C. Cutting Procedures:

  1. Plane lumber to 3/4" thickness.
  2. Trace the patterns of left mirror frame (A) and the left frame support connector (G) onto a 3/4" x 10 1/2" x 52" board. Repeat the processes for the right mirror frame (B) and the right frame support connector (H). Trace the patterns of the left & right frame supports (E) & (F) onto a 3/4" x 14" x 40" board. Trace the patterns of the two base units (I) onto a 2" x 10 1/2" x 44" board.
  3. Cut out the shapes mentioned in step #2 with a band saw and finish the edges to the desired smoothness with a spindle sander.
  4. Position the mirror frames (A) & (B), frame supports (E) & (F), and the frame support connectors (G) & (H) in their proper positions as shown on the drawing. With a pencil and a straight edge, draw center lines for the placements of the dowel pins (K). The dowel pins should be 3/4" apart on center. Note: The Centers for the dowel holes in the mirror frames should be drilled 1/2" and 1 1/4" in from the bottom and top of each mirror frame.
  5. Use a dowel jig, hand drill, and a 3/8" drill bit to drill 1 1/8" deep holes into the edges of the shapes at the places marked. Note: Holes should be drilled in both ends of each frame support connector (G) & (H).
  6. Find the center of face for each base unit (I) and draw a vertical line on each unit. Measure down 2 1/8" & 2 7/8" from the top of each base unit, and draw horizontal intersecting lines to determine the centers of the dowel pin holes. Use a drill press and a 3/8" drill bit to drill 1 1/8" deep holes at each intersection.
  7. On the inside face of each base unit (I) measure over 1 15/16" from the outside edges. Also measure up 1 7/8" from the bottom of each base unit. At the four intersections, drill 3/4" diameter holes 1/2" deep for the dowels (J).
  8. On the back side of each window frame (A) & (B), use a router and a rabbeting bit to route a 1/2" deep x 1/4" wide rabbet joint on the inside edge of each window frame. This will provide the inset for the oval mirror (C).
  9. Measure 25" down from the top of each window frame (A) & (B) to locate the centers for the threaded inserts (L), the threaded decorative rods (M), and the flat washers (N). Use a dowel jig and a hand drill with a 3/8" bit to drill a horizontal hole through the left and right frame supports (E) & (F). Also drill a 3/8" x 7/8" hole into the outside of each window frame (A) & (B).

D. Cheval Mirror Sanding Procedures:

  1. Rough sand all parts with an orbital sander and 80 grit sandpaper.
  2. Intermediate sand all parts with an orbital sander and 120 grit sandpaper.
  3. Rough and intermediate, sanding should be completed before assembly procedure.
  4. Finish sand all parts with an orbital sander and 220 grit sandpaper after the assembly procedure.
  5. Hand sand all edges, and details, with 220 grit sandpaper just prior to the finish procedures.

E. Assembly Procedures:

  1. Place wood glue on 1/2 of each dowel pin and use a wooden mallet to pound them into the holes of the left mirror frame (A), left frame support (E), and the left & right frame support connectors (G) and (H). Note: Only place dowel pins in the top portions of the left & right frame support connectors at this time.
  2. Place glue on the exposed dowel pins and the connecting edges of the left and right window frames (A) & (B), and the left & right frame supports (E) & (H). Use band clamps to secure the parts together. Allow the glue to dry over night.
  3. Place glue on the exposed dowel pins and the top edge of the left frame support connector (G). Tap dowel pins into the left frame support (E). Repeat the process for the right frame support connector (H) and the right frame support (F). Use band clamps to insure a tight fit.
  4. Glue dowel pins in the bottom portions of the left and right frame support connectors (G & (H). Glue the 3/4" diameter rods (J) into the base units (I) Place glue on the exposed dowel pins and the outer surfaces of the frame support connectors and clamp the base units (I) onto them. Use band clamps to secure the base units onto the frame support connectors and bar clamps to secure the base units onto the dowel rods. Note: The finish procedures should be completed before steps 5 & 6.
  5. Insert the oval mirror {C) into the rabbet joint of the window frame assembly.
  6. Use a nail gun and 3/8" brads to attach the back (D) to the rear of the window frame assembly.

F. Finish Procedures:

  1. Use plastic wood dough to fill all holes, cracks and imperfections.
  2. Hand sand all edges with 220 grit sandpaper.
  3. If stain is desired, apply with a brush and allow to penetrate the wood for 5-10 minutes, then remove with a clean rag.
  4. Allow stain to dry 6 hours and then repeat with a second coat.
  5. Apply a clear finish coat such as Varathane, Polyurethane, lacquer, etc. using a bristle brush. Allow 12 hours for the finish coat to dry.
  6. Lightly had sand finish with 220 grit sandpaper.
  7. Apply second coat of clear finish.
  8. If additional finish coats are desired, be sure to allow each finish coat to dry completely. Lightly hand sand with 220 grit sandpaper between coats.
  9. Allow final coat to dry 24 hours before using the cheval mirror.

*Congratulations, your full length cheval mirror is finished and ready to use!

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