Nakashima-Widdicomb Restoration: Part Deux


Hello and welcome to my blog!  This post completes a two part series in which I’m restoring and reinforcing a Nakashima-Widdicomb mirror.  In part one of the series I repaired and restored the mirror frame and replaced the mirror glass.  This post details the process of building a frame to reinforce the original and to utilize a cleat type wall attachment, replacing the original hooks.

The frame I have designed will fit into the original frame utilizing about 1″ of free space behind the mirror glass.  I chose to build this frame of western red cedar, a lightweight and dark colored material, which will hide behind this frame nicely (a dark wood does not risk revealing itself) and the quality available locally is very high.

I start by cutting the approximate lengths needed, then ripping those lengths to width along the grain.  These angled cuts roughly follow the grain line.  The purpose for doing this is to reduce grain runout at the end of the board, where the mortise and tenon joinery will be cut.


Next I joint the material, then plane to thickness with a jack plane.  This is followed by truing the boards with a try plane.


The pieces are then carefully cut to length, fitting each inside the frame to ensure the length is correct.  The joints are marked at their respective shoulders with a marking knife.


After which the tenons and haunches are laid out.


Then cut with a ryoba nokogiri.



After the rip cuts are made, the shoulders and haunches are sawn.


Moving on to the mortises which I’ve marked out using a kebiki gauge.


Rather than chop the haunch I find it easiest to cut the sides with an azebiki nokogiri, then split the waste out.


Vertical grain material works to my advantage when splitting, I can reliably bump the chisel into the end grain and accurately split out the waste.


The inner frame, now assembled, is trial fitted into the mirror frame.


Next I layout the horizontal support for bridle joints, first positioning the crossmember, then marking its location with a knife.


Next I crosscut those marks with a dozuki nokogiri.


After crosscutting the joint can be easily worked down to the depth mark.


I remove the entirety of the waste fairly quickly, with a wood such as Western Red Cedar, in perfect vertical grain orientation, I can take a large bite with confidence that it will split well.


Finally a few paring cuts are made to bring it down to the line.


The horizontal crossmember, sawn much like a tenon but with waste removed from the center, is fitted up to the joint.  My knife lines and crosscuts were accurate in this case and the resulting joint is a tight fit.  On bridle joints such as this I like to make the joint so that the mortised crossmember stands proud of the tenoned framing member.  That allows a chamfer to be cut on the crossmember.


The vertical supports are cut in a similar fashion, and half lap joints are cut at the intersections.


Now that the frame joinery is completed, I can take apart the frame, finish plane all of the parts, then reassemble.  During reassembly, I glue up the frame, then pin each joint.

I can now reassemble the supporting frame inside of the mirror.   I’ve sourced an aluminum cleat for attachment to the wall, the cleat is easy enough to attach to the back of the frame, making certain to put screws at the ends and a few along the length of the cleat.

The cleat stands proud of the frame about 5/16″, which, if hung as is will make for a tapered reveal along the drywall.


To counteract this and straighten the reveal I applied spacers at the bottom of the frame.  These will hide behind the frame, but allow for a nice even gap.


Apparently mirrors have a born on date;


The completed assembly;




The reveal, in this context, is the gap between the wall and the frame.  Typically, when a frame is hung with a wire the reveal has a taper to it:


A wall cleat and spacer allows for an even reveal.  When the wall is not perfectly flat, such as a plastered wall, or really any wall for that matter, using an even reveal helps to disguise inconsistencies.


This is the last post of 2016 and your participation has really made writing this blog enjoyable.  I started this blog at the start of February 2016, not knowing if this would gain much of a footing, but it certainly has.

I hope that you have enjoyed following along with this restoration and with the blog on the whole and look forward to your comments!  Happy holidays!


  1. Excellent work Brian…a very tasteful way to reinforce the structure. As for the blog, though I may not always comment I’ve read every post and have thoroughly enjoyed them, along with your videos. Looking forward to more of this in the new year. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Robert Hazelwood
  2. Pingback: Nakashima-Widdicomb Restoration | Brian Holcombe Woodworker

  3. Pingback: Nakashima-Widdicomb Restoration - Brian Holcombe Woodworker

Leave a Reply