Hepplewhite Mirror

A simplified gilding process is just one of the highlights of this reproduction.

SHOP OWNER: Greg Brunk
LOCATION: Cuyahoga Falls, OH

    My latest completed project is a reproduction circa 1780-1800 New York Hepplewhite mirror. I started the mirror last December after completing a chest on frame, stopping in the spring, and re-starting on it this fall. I really donít know the total hours but it seemed like I tinkered with it as much as I had with larger furniture projects. The mirror is not an exact duplicate of any one mirror in particular, but rather borrowed elements from a couple different examples I found along with my own scroll design.
Hepplewhite Mirror Hepplewhite Mirror

    I made the top and bottom panels by laminating 1/8Ē thick re-sawn figured cherry to plain cherry boards. The shell inlay is figured cherry set in a wenge oval background. The banding consists of hard maple laminated on each side of a strip of walnut. I inset this banding into the cherry frame.
Hepplewhite Mirror

    The inside and outside edges of the frame are moldings made using scratch stocks, and then attached to the main frame. I assembled all four corners of the frame using splines and dowels. To address the cross grain situation, I attached the top and bottom panels to the frame using stub tenons doweled in place.

  Hepplewhite Mirror

    The gooseneck moldings, urn, decorative flowers, and leaves were all hand carved from basswood. Glue and dowels attach the goosenecks and urn to the top panel. I assembled and attached the flowers and leaves to the mirror frame using brass rod.

  Hepplewhite Mirror

    I sealed all carved pieces with shellac, which provided a good base before applying a brass and copper composition leaf foil that simulates gold leaf (but a lot less expensive when learning), then sealed with lacquer.
Hepplewhite Mirror

    To impart a brownish tone on the frame, I applied two coats of garnet shellac, followed with approximately twenty-five coats of padded clear shellac. After allowing the finish dry and harden for a few days, I then rubbed it down with 4/0 steel wool and a final rubout with rottenstone.
    This was my first attempt at doing a somewhat simplified gilding process as well as hand carving the goosenecks and other ornaments. After I got started, it wasnít that difficult, however Iím sure that after a few more under my belt they will look better. Overall it was a good project, a bit long, however the techniques I learned Iím sure will come in handy on future projects.

. . . Greg Brunk



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