Making A Round Oak Mirror With A Leather Hanger

round oak mirror

Last year, I decorated my living room. I installed a floating mantel, but the wall above it has been looking a little bare. I thought what the space needed was a mirror. At my local DIY store, I picked up a circular piece of mirror glass and my plan was to challenge myself to make a round frame for it. I decided to make the frame from strips of oak glued together – this method is called bent lamination. To hang the mirror from the wall, I am going to use a leather strap.

marking centre
making the mark
cutting a circle on the bandsaw
sanding a round

I started by cutting a backer board to mount the mirror glass onto. For this, I used some 18mm plywood. I marked out the centre of the board, then used my circle-cutting jig on the bandsaw to cut a piece the same size as the mirror glass. If you don’t have a bandsaw you could just draw round the mirror glass and use a jigsaw to cut it out.

After I cut out, I did some sanding to clean up the edge, then measured the circumference of the circle with a tape. I then marked this measurement out on some oak (adding a few centimetres, just to be safe).

measuring round
measure oak
dewalt mitre saw

I cut the oak down to length on the mitre saw. As this was rough sawn oak, I cleaned up one face and edge using the planer, then ran it through the machine to clean up the parallel face. (These stages could be skipped if I’d bought some planed-all-round timber to start with, but rough sawn is much cheaper and I am very mean.)

metabo planer
metabo thicknesser
measuring mirror

I determined how high I wanted the frame to be and decided to go for 50mm – I marked this out onto the oak board and ripped a strip down on the tablesaw. With the cut made, I turned the piece of wood on its side and set the fence to cut off the thinnest strip of wood I could. I then proceeded to rip down a pile of thin strips of oak.

ripping wood
making thin rips
sanding thin strips

I wanted all the strips to be of equal thickness, so I set up a fence on my spindle sander and ran the strips through it. This resulted in some nice evenly-sanded bits of wood and you can see how flexible they came out.

thin wood strips
bending wood
pencil mark
hand saw

I took one of the sanded strips and bent it round the plywood backing piece, letting the ends overlap. I marked where the pieced overlapped (with a pencil) then used a hand saw to trim the pieces down to that length. I needed to repeat this process for each strip of oak I installed as each piece needed to be slightly longer than the last.

applying glue
spring clamps

It was then time to get the oak attached the plywood, so I started by applying some glue around the outside of the plywood backing board. The first strip could then be bent round and held in place. Now, if you watch the video at the bottom of this article you’ll see all the methods I tried to attach the strips, but in the end I found a ratchet strap was by far the best method. When the first strip was in place and the glue had dried, I could then repeat the process, cutting strips length and glueing them in position.

ratchet strap
brushing glue
clamping rounds

When I had built up four layers of oak, I was happy with how the thickness of the frame was looking. I tried to pull everything as tight together with the clamps as I could, but there were still some small gaps between the layers – I filled these with some oak-coloured wood filler. When the filler had dried, I gave the frame a sand down.

oak wood filler
sanding oak
leather strap
setting copper rivet

I got a leather strap from Ebay (these are readily available, for making belts). The length I ordered seemed perfect, so I just had to join the two ends together. I punched a hole in either end of the strap and joined them together using a copper rivet.

oak dowel
marking oak

I needed something to hang this leather strap off, and thought a bit of oak dowel would look nice. I cut down a piece to the length I needed and marked out the centre point of it on one end. I drilled a pilot hole in the centre, then installed a dowel screw. A dowel screw has a point on each end and threads going from each end to the centre in different directions, which would allow me to screw it into the wall later on.

drilling oak
bosch drill

I applied some Danish oil finish to both bits of oak (but NOT the plywood). The finish really brings out the lovely warm colour in the oak.

danish oil oak
oil on oak

To install the mirror into the frame, I purchased some specialist mirror-fixing adhesive that won’t damage the mirror’s backing. I applied the adhesive to the back of the mirror then I placed it in the frame, gently pushing it into place.

installing mirror grass
fitting mirror grass
installing leather strap
brass screw in leather

To secure the leather strap to the frame, I screwed in a brass screw on either side and on the bottom.

Then the mirror could be put into place in its new home! I drilled a hole in the wall, installed a plastic fixing, and screwed in the dowel. The mirror could then be hung up.

hanging mirror

That’s it all done. I feel it makes the room look finished. For more information, please watch the video below and subscribe to my Youtube channel for a new project each week.

Pour Over Coffee Maker

pour over coffee maker

I will start with the caveat that I’m not a big coffee drinker – I like to start my day with a nice mug of strong tea.  But occasionally I have guests over, and it would be nice to be able to offer them something better than instant coffee. The trend seems to be to get one of those pod-based machines, but I don’t need more plastic in my life, and I always prefer a low tech option. After a bit of research, the pour-over coffee seemed to be the way to go.


I started by making a couple of purchases: a ceramic cone to hold the filter papers; and a glass jug to catch the coffee.   I got both of these from Amazon and here is an affiliate link if you wish to look at them:

Once I received the two items, I was able to sketch out a plan for the build. My idea was to make a brass stand to hold the two parts, with bits of walnut for them to sit on.

coffee jug sketching out a design

bevel gauge With the plan drawn out, you can see how the jug will fit into the frame and the filter on top. The angles are arbitrary and I just went with what looked good while still fitting around the jug.

I set my bevel gauge to the drawing and used it to set the angle on my metal bender. 

metal bender bending metal

Bent brass

Using my plan as reference, I marked on some brass bar where the bends for the top needed to go. I used 3mm by 19mm brass bar, which was readily available on Ebay. I could then line my marks up on the bender and make the bends to the desired angle.  (NOTE: Brass is pretty soft and it would be possible to make the bend just using a vice but as I had the machine I used it.)

If you fancy a metal bender for yourself ( and who would not? ) here is a link to the tools I use:

With both bends done on two pieces of brass, I checked them against my plans – they were close enough. 

bending brass bent brass bar

Each piece of brass then needed two more bends to make the base. The base was not quite flat, but I knew this would get pulled into shape when the wood is added.

glueing walnut walnut pannel

I did not have any walnut wide enough for this project to I glued up some off-cuts to make a couple of panels.

making the centre drilling with a hole saw adding a chamfer adding a chamfer walnut

When they dried, I cut them to size on the mitre saw, and marked out the centre on the one that was going to be the top.  I then found a hole saw big enough to accommodate the ceramic cone and drill through the wood on the centre mark.

To soften the edges a little, I used a chamfer bit in my router table, but the edges could easily be rounded over with some sanding.

setting blade hight cutting a groove fitting the brass oil on walnut

The wood needed a groove cut in to accommodate the brass, so I set the height of the table saw blade to the thickness of the brass, and made several cuts to remove the waste material.  This allowed the brass to sit nicely in the recess.

As kitchen items get a bit of abuse, I finished the wood with a hard wax oil, as these are very hard-wearing.

While I was waiting for the finish to dry, I used the time to drill and countersink some holes into the brass for screws, so I could attach it to the wood.  When it had finally dried ( hard wax oil takes a while ) I was able to finally get all the bits screwed together.

Drilling brass brass and walnut

brass on walnut

Then it was all finished! A filter goes in the top, and gets a couple of scoops of ground coffee, then almost-boiling* water gets poured over.  All I need now are some visitors so I can try this out…

*water should be just off the boil, to avoid burning the coffee, which can make it taste bitter.

making pour over coffee coffee red mug

brass and walnut coffee maker pour over coffee brass and walnut

If you enjoyed this build and would like some more information, please watch this video and consider subscribing to me on YouTube.  I post a new project each week.