Making a Bed Part 2

Well it’s been a few weeks since I blogged about making a bed for my wife but the month of October had some really nice weather. So nice that my wife and I decided to use the days to redo our screened in porch. Once that project was done, I moved back to the bed.

After the feet were turned and the top legs were made, I cut a couple of mortises in them to accept tenons for front panel. The tenons were cut using a router and hand saws and are about 3″ wide.

Next I needed to make the beaded details for the front panel and sides. I used my sticking board and a No 6 hollow molding plane to shape a round over on one side of a piece of wood that was 1/2″ thick x 1 1/8″ wide.


Glueing the beaded detail onto the boards was a synch with my Bow Clamps. The front panel only needed one bead on the bottom while the sides needed two. One on top and one on the bottom.

The top of the front panel is glued down in place with biscuits so that no visible fasteners will be seen. Once everything is glued together, the front panel is complete. The next part is focusing on the headboard.


The headboard started with a design on a 1/4″ piece of melamine hard board . I traced the pattern onto a piece of 1 3/4″ soft maple stock and cut it out on the bandsaw. Then I took another piece of 1 3/4″ and laminated a piece of 1/2″ on top of it to make the thickness I needed for the top rail of the headboard.


I shaped the bed rail into form by using my hollow molding planes. Using the right sweep of plane makes the job simple and quick to do. After cutting the tenons on the bed rail, I cut a sample tenon to use as a gauge to figure out where I needed to bore the mortise on the headboard sides.



Once I determined the location of the mortise, I simply bored it out with an auger bit and cleaned up the sides with a chisel. I then worked on the headboard rail bottom and the bottom rail for the slats. To make sure everything fitted fine, I tested fitted all the parts together.


Next I wanted to focus on the coopered panel front. The bed at Pottery Barn had coopered panels that were flush with its sides. My wife wanted the same look so cutting a groove in the sides and in setting the panel pieces into the groove wasn’t going to work. After studying the Pottery Barn bed, I decided to build it in much the same way they did. I shaped two pieces in an S curve and glued it to the sides. I use this curved part as the way to connect the slats onto the headboard by screwing them through the back.


Making the slats was fun. I took 1/2″ thick by 3″ wide boards and cut tongue and grooves in them with my Stanley #49 plane. I opened up the joint a little bit so the boards would fit sloppy in the groove and bend around the S curve.


Once all the slats were cut, I dry fitted them to the headboard and attached them with screws.


Once all the slats were in place, I glued the feet to the bottom. My headboard was assembled.

Now I needed to assemble all the parts. I test fitted the bed hardware and how the rails would attach to the front panel and headboard with a scrap of plywood.

Once I figured out where each piece of hardware went, I screwed it on and test fitted the bed. Cutting out some bed support slats out of poplar and glueing a support bar on to the sides, the bed was ready for final assembly.

Now I need to sand the entire bed and stain it a dark mahogany stain my wife wants.

Making a Bed

So my wife wants to buy this bed she found in a Pottery Barn catalog. They want $1500 for it but I told her I could make it for $400 and be done in a month. Neither promise I’m sure I can keep but she gave me the okay to give it a shot.

After looking at the picture I calculated how much would I would need. I bought enough to get me started. I glued up 3/4″ material for the sides and the front frame and bought some 1 3/4″ stock for the sides of the headboard and feet.

I wanted to start on the front legs and feet. Both are 4″ thick but I didn’t want to use that much material for the legs so I glued up four pieces of 4″ material and cut them at 45 degree angles.

I then filled the middle of legs with a laminated piece of 2×4 material about 4″ long. This is so that I can drill a hole in the middle and glue the feet upon them.

Next were to work on the feet. I glued up two pieces of 1 3/4″ and one piece of 3/4″ maple 10″ long to become the feet. I then squared it up on the bandsaw and marked out the center.


I didn’t want to take a full square stock over to the lathe so I marked out an octagon on the ends to cut off at the bandsaw. The easiest way to mark out an octagon is to take you compass and place one end on the center and the other end at one of the corners. Now take that layout and move it to each corner and swing a mark on both sides. When you mark around all four corners you’ll have eight marks. Connecting the two marks at each corner creates your octagon.

Now take the wood over to the bandsaw with the table set at 45 degrees and cut off the corners. Now you’ll have a block of wood that is a lot easier and probably safer to turn.

I studied the picture as best as I could but had to rely on guess-work as to where the curves started and stopped on the foot. I drew out a drawing of what I thought it looked like but only used the drawing as a guide. In the end I just used my own guess-work to determine the overall design of the foot.

Next was the hard part. I had to duplicate the next three feet to look like my first one. I used the original foot as a template and measured the diameters of all the curves and valleys with calipers so I could duplicate them. In the end I was happy with the way they came out even if they aren’t exact duplicates. Being that they will eventually be five to six feet away from one another, I don’t think anyone will tell.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and let you know when my wife gets impatient.

My $15.00 shaving horse

I always liked the idea of having a shaving horse. A few years back I built a set of windsor dining chairs and shaved the spindles with my draw knife and spokeshaves. Back then I didn’t have a shaving horse so I ended up using my woodworking vise to get the job done. While the vise worked, I knew that using a shaving horse would be a lot more comfortable and a lot more fun. I’ve seen shaving horses for sale on different websites but the problem was that they were over $500 a piece. I knew that wasn’t going to fly so I had to make my own.

Then one day I ran across an article Brian Boggs did for Fine Woodworking. The shaving horse he made was simple and straight forward to make. Right then I knew I had my plans. The one problem that I saw was that he used 2″ thick material to make his. I wasn’t about to splurge big money on 2″ thick ash or maple so I decided to make mine out of good ole southern yellow pine.

I went to Lowes and picked out two pieces of 2x10x8’s that were as clean as possible without any knots. Total cost was $14.73. While Fine Woodworking showed “plans” for the horse, they weren’t exactly what one would call plans. They didn’t go into great detail about how to actually build the horse and a lot of detailed measurements weren’t even given. So I just eyeballed where I thought edges should be and built the horse as close as possible to Brian’s.

Building the horse wasn’t complicated at all and it only took me a weekend to make. I milled the body out, shaped the back legs and made an extra long front leg. The nice thing about using a 2×10 is that you can cut both back legs out of one piece that’s 21″long. Once the back legs were installed, I leveled them with a compass and shaped the feet so they would sit flat on the floor. Then I took the front leg and leveled the horse, marked where the top of the leg ends and trimmed it flushed.

The only caveat of using 1 1/2″ stock as opposed to full 2″ stock is that the head becomes narrower. Brian’s bench head is 5 1/2″ wide due to the fact that he had three 2″ wide boards glued together. My bench head could only be 4 1/4″ wide due to three 1 1/2″ pieces glued together. Fortunately I don’t think that’s a big concern due to the fact that mostly what I’ll be shaving are spindles.

The one thing I did differently from the plan was that Brian used a bicycle tire tube to act as a spring for the key. I didn’t have an old tube lying around and didn’t feel like buying a new one so I ended up using a big fat rubber band instead. While it works, I’m sure the tire tube would work much better since it would have more spring to it.

I also just shaped the seat using a chair shave and spoke shave then sanded it smooth with a random orbital sander. Brian wrapped his with leather which gives his horse a real nice look. I did however glue a piece of leather onto one side of the hold down bar so that the horse would grip the stock better.

All in all I”m very happy the way the horse turned out and I can even take it apart for storage or to travel with. Now I just need to find me some fresh cut logs to make a chair.