Built-In Bed #11: A Return to the Shop

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 01-06-2011 05:22 AM 5505 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Two Down and ... None to Go Part 11 of Built-In Bed series Part 12: Woodworkus Interruptus »

(The Story So Far: Our Hero is constructing a built-in bed for his daughter, with inadequate tools and woodworking experience. Work has resumed after a holiday break.)

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks building the bed frame and the shelves for the bookcase units. That work is mostly done, and parts are being test-fitted and painted on the “play room” side of our basement.

I have some concerns about the sturdiness of the bed frame, so I’ve been amending the design to include some more bracing and a plywood back to help keep it stiff and square. On the two rails on the left side of the above picture, you can see the dowels which will be used to keep the bed slats in place. I recently realized that this bed doesn’t break down, so there’s really no need to make the bed slats easily removable. I could have just as well screwed them down to the rails. I may still do that for some of them for the aforementioned sturdiness reasons.

In the meantime, I decided to make the decorative cut out for the top of the bookcase units. I actually decided to do this some time ago, but I was relying on Madame President to draw the design, and she procrastinated. (Also, I gave her the wrong dimensions the first time around.) Tonight I gave her a stern talking-to and she finally produced the design.

I’ve been interested in this part of the project because I planned to make these pieces by template routing, a skill I’ve never exercised before. So when Madame President had finished the design, I headed down to the workshop to make a hardboard template

Once the template was completed, I traced it onto one of the blanks and rough cut it with a jigsaw. I find my jigsaw very frustrating to use, because there’s a lot of blade deflection regardless of what I’m cutting, how thick a blade I use, or how slowly I cut. I wonder if I just need a better jigsaw. I have a small Skil model that seems sturdy enough. Would a better jigsaw help, do you think? Or do have recommendations for better blades?

The rough cutting done, I headed over to the router table. The only top bearing trim bits I had were 1/2” (too small) and 2 1/2” (huge!). I bought the big bit when I was planning to template rout the knee curve in the big side walls of the bookcase units, which were 1 1/2” thick. I ended up doing that job with a scraper.
The big bit was almost too big for my router table. Even on the lowest setting I had to re-seat the bit once to get it low enough for the bearing to bear on the template. Once I got that issue settled I taped on the template with double-side carpet tape and had at it.

The actual routing was somewhat anticlimactic. A few little challenges, but nothing too major. The first piece was intended just as a test / practice for the real pieces, but it turned out just fine. The 1/2” radius of the trim bit didn’t get too far into the sharp corners, so I used the jigsaw again to clean those up. Next time I may just pull out a handsaw. Here it is after a little bit of clean up with the files and sandpaper.

(A nice thing about painted projects is that you can make notes right on the pieces!) I’m happy this went well; I’m planning on something similar to make the decorative drawer fronts and I’m a little more worried about that. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll knock off the other decorative top and can move on to installing the shelves and the bed frame.

(My browser crashed three times while I was writing this… grrr!)

2 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4253 days

#1 posted 01-06-2011 06:53 AM

Looking good! I’m sure the bed will look great when the hero is done with it. BTW, is there a villain?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

276 posts in 4431 days

#2 posted 01-06-2011 04:51 PM

@live4ever—Not so far. The villain may turn up in the third and final act :-)

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