Built-In Bed #9: Site Work Begins

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 12-15-2010 04:45 AM 1557 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Unexpected Visitors Part 9 of Built-In Bed series Part 10: Two Down and ... None to Go »

(The Story So Far: Our Hero is constructing a built-in bed for his daughter, with inadequate tools and woodworking experience. Work has slowed to a crawl thanks to the holidays and countless other demands on his time…)

My neighbor returned from his vacation and was immediately drafted into helping move the panels for the built-in bed upstairs to the customer’s bedroom. Well, not immediately. First I went over to his house to help him re-assemble and move a dining room table. Cleverly, this placed him in my debt, for a return favor.

The panels got upstairs and then all work ground to a halt as various other more important activities interrupted. And by “more important” I mean more important to Madame President, who (since her win in the mid-term elections) sets the agenda. Currently that involves a lot of Christmas activities, and other such folderol.

Eventually I carved out an hour block of time to work on assembling one of the side units. I can’t say this went entirely well. The plan was to pocket hole the top and bottom of the side unit into the panels. This plan almost immediately went awry when I inadvertently used screws for 3/4” thick material on the 1/2” thick bottom; the screw went through the side panel and into the hardwood flooring.

On the positive side, this made for a very sturdy joint. On the negative side, my blood pressure went up several points and my children’s vocabulary was expanded by several words.

I backed out those screws and tried the correct length, but of course they didn’t hold in the plywood side panels. So I had to drill a new set of pocket holes. I whipped those off and tried again with the proper length of screws. These still didn’t hold very well. There just wasn’t enough sturdy material in the plywood side panel with only about a 1/4” of penetration.

It’s this sort of thing that makes projects take twice as long as planned :-).

I put everything aside for an afternoon of superfluous holiday activities, and somewhere along the line my subconscious informed my conscious brain that what I really needed was thicker bottoms and tops to the side units, and that there was no real reason they had to be 1/2” thick, since they’re both hidden. With this revelation in hand the solution seemed obvious. I sandwiched another ply of 1/2” thick plywood onto the top and the bottom to make a 1” thick piece that I could pocket hole in more securely with much longer screws.

And indeed, that worked just fine. With the addition of one fixed shelf and a back to hold everything square, the side unit was very sturdy and looks good so far. Here’s the customer providing scale:

I have yet to assemble the second side unit, and I need to put the kick plate and top piece on this one. After that the plan is to build the bed platform and put everything into place. Shelves and drawers can then be completed at a leisurely pace.

1 comment so far

View sras's profile


6345 posts in 4370 days

#1 posted 12-15-2010 05:27 AM

Looks like everything is moving along nicely – especially with everything else going on. Looking good!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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