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Making the side rails and mattress supports Making the side rails

Making the side rails and mattress supports

Making the side rails

The side rails are idential to those on the First Bed, except for their size.

1.mill up the side rails if you haven’t already done so.

2.Cut them to length. Because of the thickness of the legs, these rails should be 1/2 in. Shorter than the mattress length.

3.Drill the bolt and guide holes and rout the nut recess exactly as described in the First Bed. Use 5/16-in. By 6-in. Hex-head bolts with washer and nuts.

 

Making the cleats and slats

The cleats and slats are also the same as on the First Bed, though you do have other choices.

1.mill 1-in.by 1-1/4-in. Strips of whatever wood you have handy.

2.Drill for 5/16-in. Dowel pins that stick up to register the slats.

3.Screw them to the insides of the side rails.

4.Mill the slats out of maple to 3/4 in. By 4 in., sized to fit between the rails and notched so they can slip over the pins in the cleats.

 

Finishing up

There’ s only one unusual aspect to finishing this bed: the inside columns on the headboard capital are hard to reach. I squirt oil in between the columns, then spary it around with some compressed air. You could also blow forcefully into a soda straw derected in the same way. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about sanding in there. Otherwise, choose your finish and have at it.

 

CRAFTSMAN-STYLE BED

The design of the Craftsman Style Bed should be pretty familiar.there are currently many Craftsman-inspired designs similar to this in furniture stores and catalogs, a reflection of a popularity of the style.

My design does not come from a specific bed of the Craftsman period. In fact, I took most of the details from a Stickley design for a settee. I liked the settee and thought it would work well as a bed. Most of the original Stickley beds had fewer, wider slats and tall legs that extended up past the upper rails of the bed. Interestingly, these beds also had iron side rails that were not meant to be seen-they were normally concealed by the bedspread or covers.

Most Craftsman-style furniture was made of white oak with a rich brown finish created by fuming with ammonia. But this bed looks good in other woods as well. I chose to make the bed in oak, but i stained the wood with a medium-walnut-colored penetrating oil and varnish finish. The dark stain makes the grain patterns prominent.

I like a gentle curve on the bottom edge of the footboard rail. It lightens up the piece a little and , with the curve of the “wings” on the legs, relieves the otherwise overwhelming dominance of straight lines. If there is any chance that the bed will wind up with the headboard end showing, you should curve the bottom edge of the headboard rail as well.

 

Building the Bed Step-by-step

The CRAFTSMAN-STYLE BED takes us into some new but not unfamiliar territory. The most different aspect is the slatted headboard and footboard. This queen-size bed has 66 slats, 33in both the headboard and the footboard. A less obvious difference is the bed-rail joinery system. The bed is bolted together, even though there are no visible bolt holes on the outside. The bolts go on the inside, with nuts embedded in the outsides of the legs, covered by the wings. The dimensions given are for a queen-size bed.

 

Milling parts for the headboard and footboard

Making the legs

1.Choose wood for the four legs that’straight grained on all four sides. This isn’t critical, but it looks nice.

2.Mill the four 1 7/8-in.-square legs, and cut them to length. Make sure that the legs are square. If they aren’t, you’ll have problems with the joinery later.

3.Lay out the locations for the mortises. Use the bottom of the legs as a reference polint when cutting the lower rail mortises, and use the tops pf the legs when cutting mortises for the upper rails.

4.Cut the mortises however you prefer. I use the jig described in “ Mortising Jig for Routing Thin Workpieces” on p.23.

 

Making the rails

1.Mill the wood for all of the rails at one time, including the lower and upper headboard and footboard rails and the side rails. Choose the best grain for the footboard rail because its the one you’ll see most.

2.Rip the lower headboard and footboard rails and the side rails to 6 in. Wide, and rip the upper headboard and footboard rails to 2 in. Wide.

 

Tenoning the rails

1.Cut the tenons with the tenoning jig described in the First Bed, or however else you prefer. For tenon layout, see “ Headboard anf Footboard Joinery Details”.

2.Cut all of the lower rail tenons before moving on to the uppers.

3.Cut the tenon on one side of the upper rail and mark the second shoulder location on the upper rail directly from the lower rail( see “ Matching Upper Rail and Lower Rail Length” on p.96). This technique ensures that the distance between shoulders is the same on both headboard and footboard rails and especially between the upper and lower rails.

4.Round over the ends of the tenons, and fit them into their mortises. Don’t bother to round the lower sides of the upper rail tenons you’ll cut a dado through them in a later step.

 

Making mortises for the slats in the rails

Contemplating the 66 slats for the queen-size bed may be a little overwhelming, but they’re really not tht difficult or time-consuming to make because you don’t have to cut mortises for all of them. The trick is to build what I call “ constructed mortises” these mortises aren’t cut out of solid stock but are assembled by inserting a dentil strip into a dado.

1.Cut a 1/2-in.-deep by 1/2-in.-wide dado centered on the top edge of the lower rails and the bottom edge of the top rails. Use a dado blade on the table saw to do this.

2.Its best to cut the notches for all four dentil strips in one board, then rip the individual strips out of this board. If you can’t do this, you’ll have to cut more notches. Start with a piece of wood 9/16 in. By 2 1/2.by 59 3/8 in. Long that is a reasonable color match for the rails.

3.Lay out the notch location on one edge of this board.

4.Cut the 1/2-in.wide by 7/16-in.-deep notches on the table saw with a 1/2-in.-wide dado cutter. I cut the notches using a shop-built crosscut sled. It supports the strip well on both sides of the blade.(P.98)

 

 

 

1.Make a reference mark across one end of the notched board. This will help you keep track of which way they go- and eliminate any problems if the notches are nor perfectly symertrical. Then rip each strip just slightly wider than the grooves. Try to plan your rips so you get rid of any tearout from cutting the notches.

2.Carefully plane or sand the strips to fit the grooves in the rails. You’ll have to support the fragile strips on both sides and take very light cuts to keep them from breaking as you plane. You want the strip tight, but you should still be able to insert it into the groove with hand pressure.

 

Gluing the dentil strips in the rail grooves

1.Make some 3/4-in.by 3-in. By 60-in.cauls to press the strips evenly and firmly into the grooves.

2.Plane a slight bow into the edge of the caul so that the ends are slightly narrower than the center. This helps apply pressure evenly without using every clamp in the shop.

3.Apply the glue sparingly and only to the bottom of the groove.

4.Line up the ends of strio so that they are flush with the tenon shoulders on both ends of the rail, and press the strip down into th groove.

5.Place the caul curved-side down on top of the strip, and clamp into place using as many clamps as needed to seat the strip.

6.Once the glue has dried, plane or sand off any protruding dentils flush with the rest of the rail. Be careful to keep the top pf the rail flat, so the slat tenon shoulders will fit tightly.

 

Cutting the curve on the bottom of the headboard and footboard rails

1.spring a 3/8-in.-or 1/2-in.-thick by 1-in. Scrap strip between the tenon shoulders to lay out the curve. Adjust the strip so that it just touches the bottom edge of the rail at both ends and is 1 in. Up from the bottom edge at the center of the rail.

2.Cut the curve on a bandsaw or with a saber saw. In either case, stay to the outside of the line, and be careful cutting near the ends.

3.Smooth the curve with a flat-soled hand plane skewed 45 degrees in the cut. This is fas and works well on gentle inside curves such as these. A belt sander and hand sanding using a curved block also do a good job.

 

Making the slats

1.Calculate how many of each slat length you’ll need based on the size of the bed. You’ll get a slat for each 1 in. Of width of board. Its important to include enough wood for five or six extra slats; you’ll want them to replace ones that warp or have loose tenons.

2.Rip the slats from 7/8-in.-thick flatsawn boards that have been handplaned and scraped or sanded on both faces first. This saves smoothing these two faces on the individual slats, which would be much more time-consuming. Rejoint the edge whenever you find that the wood is no longer straight enough.

3.To figure the exact lengths for the slats, dry-assemble the headboard and footboard frames. Measure the distance between the upper and lower rails, then add the tenon lengths. This should be 11/16 in.( 11/32 in. For each of the two tenons).

4.Cut all of the slats for the headboard or footboard to exactly the same length on the table saw. Square up one end on each slat, then cut to length with the squared-up end against a stop.

 

Tenoning the slats

The slat tenons are easy to cut on the table saw, especially with a 5/16-in.-wide dado cutter.

1.Make a wooden auxiliary fence for your table-saw miter guide or crosscut sled that extends 4 in. To 5 in. Across the blade, an screw it into place.

2.Make a stop block for controlling the length of the tenon on the auxiliary fence. Its important that the face of the block be absolutely square, so check this carefully.

3.Clamp the stop block to the auxiliary fence on the far side of the blade, exactly the length of the tenon away from that side of the blade.

4.Cut a slightly oversize test tenon on a cut off piece of slat stock.

5.Check the fit of the test tenon in one of the mortises. Adjust the blade height if necessary so that you’ll wind up with a snug-fitting tenon. Take your time to get it right. You don’ want to have to trim too many of these tenons individually.

6.Cut shoulders on all four sides of each slat end.

Making the caps and drilling for attachment

These boards will be glued and screwed to the upper rails from underneath after the glue-up.

1.Mill the cap boards to size.

2.Lay out and drill six countersunk pilot holes in the upper rails centered between slats location. Drill from the underside and angle the holes about 5 or 6 degrees toward the outside of the bed. This will leave room for you to drive the screws without too much interference from the slats.

3.To drill the angled holes, use a strip of wood rabbeted on an angle to hold the upper rails in position on the drill press.

 

Making the wings

The wings are both a decorative and structural feature. They add another set of curved lines to the bed and give depth to the headboard and footboard. They also support the cap, making it sturdier.

1.Make patterns fro the headboard and footboard wings on 1/4-in. Plywood or any comparable thin material. Just enlarge the drawings of the wings.

2.Trace the pattern onto a piece of stock with some consideration to the grain. It should match the grain on the legs as well as possible so that the wing looks like an intergral part of the leg and not an aftertought.

Smooth out the curves with planes, spokeshaves, scrapers, and/or sandpaper. The four wings don’t have to match precisely because they’ll never be seen right next to one another.

 

 

1.Make a reference mark across one end of the notched board. This will help you keep track of which way they go- and eliminate any problems if the notches are nor perfectly symertrical. Then rip each strip just slightly wider than the grooves. Try to plan your rips so you get rid of any tearout from cutting the notches.

2.Carefully plane or sand the strips to fit the grooves in the rails. You’ll have to support the fragile strips on both sides and take very light cuts to keep them from breaking as you plane. You want the strip tight, but you should still be able to insert it into the groove with hand pressure.

 

Gluing the dentil strips in the rail grooves

1.Make some 3/4-in.by 3-in. By 60-in.cauls to press the strips evenly and firmly into the grooves.

2.Plane a slight bow into the edge of the caul so that the ends are slightly narrower than the center. This helps apply pressure evenly without using every clamp in the shop.

3.Apply the glue sparingly and only to the bottom of the groove.

4.Line up the ends of strio so that they are flush with the tenon shoulders on both ends of the rail, and press the strip down into th groove.

5.Place the caul curved-side down on top of the strip, and clamp into place using as many clamps as needed to seat the strip.

6.Once the glue has dried, plane or sand off any protruding dentils flush with the rest of the rail. Be careful to keep the top pf the rail flat, so the slat tenon shoulders will fit tightly.

 

Cutting the curve on the bottom of the headboard and footboard rails

1.spring a 3/8-in.-or 1/2-in.-thick by 1-in. Scrap strip between the tenon shoulders to lay out the curve. Adjust the strip so that it just touches the bottom edge of the rail at both ends and is 1 in. Up from the bottom edge at the center of the rail.

2.Cut the curve on a bandsaw or with a saber saw. In either case, stay to the outside of the line, and be careful cutting near the ends.

3.Smooth the curve with a flat-soled hand plane skewed 45 degrees in the cut. This is fas and works well on gentle inside curves such as these. A belt sander and hand sanding using a curved block also do a good job.

 

Making the slats

1.Calculate how many of each slat length you’ll need based on the size of the bed. You’ll get a slat for each 1 in. Of width of board. Its important to include enough wood for five or six extra slats; you’ll want them to replace ones that warp or have loose tenons.

2.Rip the slats from 7/8-in.-thick flatsawn boards that have been handplaned and scraped or sanded on both faces first. This saves smoothing these two faces on the individual slats, which would be much more time-consuming. Rejoint the edge whenever you find that the wood is no longer straight enough.

3.To figure the exact lengths for the slats, dry-assemble the headboard and footboard frames. Measure the distance between the upper and lower rails, then add the tenon lengths. This should be 11/16 in.( 11/32 in. For each of the two tenons).

4.Cut all of the slats for the headboard or footboard to exactly the same length on the table saw. Square up one end on each slat, then cut to length with the squared-up end against a stop.

 

Tenoning the slats

The slat tenons are easy to cut on the table saw, especially with a 5/16-in.-wide dado cutter.

1.Make a wooden auxiliary fence for your table-saw miter guide or crosscut sled that extends 4 in. To 5 in. Across the blade, an screw it into place.

2.Make a stop block for controlling the length of the tenon on the auxiliary fence. Its important that the face of the block be absolutely square, so check this carefully.

3.Clamp the stop block to the auxiliary fence on the far side of the blade, exactly the length of the tenon away from that side of the blade.

4.Cut a slightly oversize test tenon on a cut off piece of slat stock.

5.Check the fit of the test tenon in one of the mortises. Adjust the blade height if necessary so that you’ll wind up with a snug-fitting tenon. Take your time to get it right. You don’ want to have to trim too many of these tenons individually.

6.Cut shoulders on all four sides of each slat end.

Making the caps and drilling for attachment

These boards will be glued and screwed to the upper rails from underneath after the glue-up.

1.Mill the cap boards to size.

2.Lay out and drill six countersunk pilot holes in the upper rails centered between slats location. Drill from the underside and angle the holes about 5 or 6 degrees toward the outside of the bed. This will leave room for you to drive the screws without too much interference from the slats.

3.To drill the angled holes, use a strip of wood rabbeted on an angle to hold the upper rails in position on the drill press.

 

Making the wings

The wings are both a decorative and structural feature. They add another set of curved lines to the bed and give depth to the headboard and footboard. They also support the cap, making it sturdier.

1.Make patterns fro the headboard and footboard wings on 1/4-in. Plywood or any comparable thin material. Just enlarge the drawings of the wings.

2.Trace the pattern onto a piece of stock with some consideration to the grain. It should match the grain on the legs as well as possible so that the wing looks like an intergral part of the leg and not an aftertought.

3.Smooth out the curves with planes, spokeshaves, scrapers, and/or sandpaper. The four wings don’t have to match precisely because they’ll never be seen right next to one another.