Built-In Bed #8: Unexpected Visitors

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 12-05-2010 04:29 AM 1490 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Paint and Pumpkin Pie Part 8 of Built-In Bed series Part 9: Site Work Begins »

(The Story So Far: Our Hero is constructing a built-in bed for his daughter, with inadequate tools and woodworking experience, and so far has made only a small number of terrible errors, which fortunately he can blame on others.)

Thanksgiving break saw the family traveling out to Arizona for a family gathering. Much fun and merriment was had by all, and we took advantage of the break to crack the windows in the garage and let the paint dry thoroughly and finish outgassing. When we returned, we discovered that some unexpected visitors had come to inspect the work and take up residence in the invitingly warm piles of wood shavings: a pair of Carolina Wrens.

Of course it proved impossible to gently direct them back out the open window, so I had to move all the panels and rearrange everything in order to open the garage door for the ten seconds it took them to escape. I’m always surprised by how many encounters with wildlife seem to come up on LJs.

The panels are more-or-less completed, awaiting transportation up to the customer’s bedroom for assembly into the basic carcase. However, the larger panels will require two men to move, so we’re waiting on the return of our neighbor from his Thanksgiving vacation. He’s not aware that he’s coming back to a moving job … :-)

In the meantime, I decided to get to work building out the bed platform. It’s a basic frame of 1×3s, with slats to support the mattress and some dividers for support and to hold the runners for the drawers that will go underneath the bed.

I decided to construct the frame with dowels, and I was reminded the doweling is a wonderful woodworking technique. With a doweling jig and pre-made dowels, it’s a foolproof, fast and easy way to make strong and accurate joints. I generally only use it on “rough” construction like the bed frame, but I probably should expand my use of it to more situations. I forgot a cross-piece on one of the frame ends and had to fit it in afterward with pocket screws, and it was so annoying after an evening of doweling. Maybe it’s just me, but pocket screwed joints seem to always pull out of alignment at the last moment, even when I have them clamped down with a face frame clamp. That’s not a problem I ever have with dowels.

Here are the two ends to the bed frame assembled. (The poor insulation panel has seen better days at this point!) Making the rest of the frame should be straightforward but time-consuming. I make my bed slats with a “V” cut in each end to register on pins in the bed frame. That keeps the slats from sliding around while still leaving them easy to remove, but it does take a while to cut all the slats and sink the pins.

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