Well hello week 5 of the One Room Challenge! Just like week 4, you snuck up on me! But this week, I decided to take on a smaller project that wouldn’t cause me to pull my hair out!
I’ve had a piece of live edge wood in my shop for over 3 years that’s just been itching to get used in a project. Occasionally, I would walk by it, sigh wistfully, and whisper “Don’t worry gorgeous! I promise I’ll use you soon.” I lied to that piece of wood…it wasn’t soon…it was a very long time. LOL Fast forward to this my planning of our bathroom and it hit me – Amanda you can use that live edge wood to make a mirror!!! <light bulb>
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Oh yeah…I should preface…I got this piece from a local farm that was clearing land. It wasn’t initially smooth – I had to do a lot of work to it. I made a jig using my router to even out the wood and and take away the chainsaw marks, then I put it through my planer until it was perfectly smooth. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. I got a piece of spalted applewood – I’ve never seen that at a lumber yard or at a store – so it was worth it to me.
So here we go! Live edge mirror time.
If you’re interested in making your own, here’s what I used:
- 5′ piece of live edge wood (1″ thick)
- table saw
- scrap piece of plywood (as your straight edge for the table saw)
- brad nailer
- Kreg jig
- 1 1/2″ Kreg screws
- wood glue
- epoxy – I use Total Boat
- color pigments for epoxy – I use Artisan Pigments
- mirror (I got a custom size at my local glass place)
First, I drew a line on my piece of wood where I wanted to cut it. I went as close to the grain direction I could, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. For me it was more about how much of the live edge I wanted on each end. Once I had my line figured out, I cut my scrap piece of plywood down to the size of my live edge wood (5′) and placed it underneath the wood. From there, I measured off of the line on the live edge wood – so I measured 6″ from the line on the wood to the side of the plywood. Measure the entire length of the piece of wood, 6″ down the entire thing – this is how you get your straight edge. Once I had my 6″ figured out, I brad nailed both ends of the live edge wood to the plywood (I nailed from the bottom of the plywood up into the live edge wood – that way the holes from the nails wouldn’t be seen in the future). I nailed it to keep them together and in place. With that done, I went to the table saw and set my fence to 6″ and cut it down. It worked like a charm.
With one live edge side cut off, I no longer needed the plywood. I ripped the wood 2 times into 1 3/4″ pieces and the remainder of the wood was my other live edge side. Does that make sense? Once I finished cutting everything down on the table saw, I ended up with 2 live edge pieces and 2 1 3/4″ pieces. The live edge pieces served as the top and bottom of the frame and the 1 3/4″ pieces served as the sides that I attached the live edge pieces to.
With everything cut down, I figured out how big I wanted my mirror to be and cut my wood down accordingly. Now that the live edge pieces have a straight, square side, you can use the miter saw. I made my mirror 31×47 so my live edge pieces were 43.5″ (47-1.75-1.75) and my sides were 31″. Once I cut my wood down to size, I took the live edge pieces and Kreg jigged pocket holes on the back of them. Then I put wood glue on the ends and screwed them into my side pieces. Now I have a frame!! <happy dance>
Before I screwed everything into place, I had weak places in my wood (worm holes, big cracks) that I wanted to fill with epoxy. I brought the wood inside into my office – its more temperature controlled than my shop and nowhere near as dusty (2 key things to epoxying). I have copper pigment that I used to fill the holes and cracks. Originally I was going to use black, but thought that would be too much and decided on copper. I mixed up my epoxy – I use Total Boat and absolutely love it (I don’t get paid to say that, I swear). I learned a trick a year ago – use digital scales to get equal parts of A and B. This guarantees that you’re getting equal parts of each and you don’t have to worry about your epoxy setting up weird.
I filled the holes in 2 stages – filling everything up about halfway, letting it cure, and then filling them the rest of the way. I had to wait 4-8 hours between each filling so it took an entire day to do. Once you have all of your epoxy poured, I used a heat gun to get rid of all of the air bubbles that were in the epoxy. I let the last filling sit overnight to make sure it had fully cured and then I took the wood back out to my shop and planed the epoxy down until it was flush with the wood. Once everything was planed, I sanded to smooth out the epoxy and get the residual epoxy out of the places on the wood where I didn’t want it.
With everything assembled and my weak spots filled with epoxy, I was ready to put my first coat of clear epoxy on the entire piece. I did do a little sanding just to clean up the edges and smooth out where the pieces of wood met. The first coat of epoxy was so exciting to do! Its the first time I’ve ever used epoxy as a flood coat and it really brought out the grain in the wood and made the wood POP! I’ll definitely be using it this way again.
What do y’all think? Do you like the look of epoxy or is it too shiny for you?
Also, we’re nearing the end of the One Room Challenge and everybody is coming right along with their projects. Don’t forget to go check out what everybody else is doing! There’s so many amazing projects.
If you wanna see this project in action, make sure to check it out on Instagram in my highlights – “Live Edge Mirror”. Don’t forget to follow along on my journey on the social medias.
Take it easy guys! Until next time.