Live edge mirror with a lamp in only 5 years

In this article we will build a live edge mirror.  We bought our house 8 years ago  and after only 3 years with an ugly IKEA mirror I decided that it would be  time to get a really nice DIY life edge mirror. It then took another 5 years to complete the live edge mirror with a lamp…

Preparing the material

Here you see me cross-cutting an  oak board to more manageable size. After crosscutting I used the track saw to  get all the pieces close to final width.

With a draw knife I removed all the bark.  After running them over the jointer I have put them to the side to decide how  to create a joint in the corners.


At the time I did not had a reliable CNC machine  so I invented a nice way to connect the corners with a router using guide bushings.

For the next 5 years the boards were sitting  in my workshop accumulating dust.

CNC work

The good thing about this procrastination is that in  the meantime I bought a much more reliable CNC and can create the joinery on the CNC  based on a really simple FreeCAD model. Having a parametric CAD model makes  it really easy to adjust the CNC job for a different width and height of the life edge.

On the CNC I have to clamp the boards down really tight so that the router is not  starting to push the board around.

I am running two different jobs for  the two parts of the joint. One job runs on the front side of the board  and removes half of the thickness.

The other job runs on the backside of the board  and removes half of the stock thickness in the area where the two boards are glued together and  then cuts the curvy line to match the front part.


Hand tools to the rescue to fix mistakes

Unfortunately I did not factored the life edge  into my cuts in the corner – which left me with an ugly gap. So I traced this gap on painters tape  and the cut a plug that I could glue in place.


The joints should look very natural and are  a design element. I therefore sand them round and make them a little more pronounced rather  than just gluing the two pieces tight together.

After a lot more sanding it was finally  time to glue all the joints together.

Thanks to the large bed size  of the CNC machine cutting a recess for the mirror itself was quick and easy.

The same mistake that lead to the gaps  in the corners also caused some issues at the outside of the mirror. There  are again some quite nasty gaps. To fix these I first use a router  to get the gap nice and square.


After some cleanup work with the chisel I can  glue in a piece of wood that will hide this gap.


A shelf on the bottom

With the frame done the next thing  to tackle is a shelf that should sit at the bottom of the mirror. With  a PVC pipe I draw a gentle curve.

The rough shape of the  curve is cut on the bandsaw.

With a plane the curve is smoothed  out and brought to its final shape.


The shelf and the lower part of the frame get a  few biscuits and the shelf is glued to the frame.

The lamp

Next comes the lamp. For the lamp I glue  two oak pieces together at an angle.

In the same step I also glue some softwood blocks to the lamp so that I can  hold it on the CNC table.

The CNC is then aligned with the middle of the  lamp and creates a recess for the LED lamp.


After the CNC did its job I remove the softwood pieces from the future top of the lamp  and glue other pieces to the two sides.


This allows me to hold the lamp with it  upside facing up on the CNC and create a curved top. Using the CNC for this task  makes sure that I don’t go too deep with the shaping. However you could achieve the very  same task with only a plane and some sanding.

The lamp body is cut to length and the  sides are trimmed on the table saw. With the help of the CNC it only takes a few  strokes with the plane to get a smooth surface.


The switch of the lamp needs a small cutout.

The power plug also requires  some work with a chisel.


I trace the ends on an offcut and  cut them as end caps on the bandsaw.

Using dowels for gluing the end  pieces to the lamp is the easiest way as there are no straight edges that  could be used for biscuits or dominos.

After a quick roundover of  the edges and some sanding the lamp gets a threaded insert in  each end to mount it to the frame.


For mounting the lamp to the frame I heat up  some pieces of flat steel and bend them in shape.


A bit of metal work

After grinding these into shape  the get a linseed oil finish.

While having the linseed oil out the  frame is also gets a coat of oil.

For the frame to be flush with the wall I route  a groove into the backside to accept the metal.


With the router I add two keyhole slots  for mounting the frame to the wall.

The led lamp is glued into the wooden enclosure.

Last but not least the mirror is glued into the  frame and the mirror is mounted to the wall.

After only 5 years we now have a  really nice mirror in this bath room.

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