Life as an Amateur Woodworker #58: My second major project of the year!

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Blog entry by PhilBello posted 11-01-2015 12:49 PM 1343 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 57: Back in the Workshop! Part 58 of Life as an Amateur Woodworker series Part 59: Now for a Good Night's Sleep...I hope! »

I am sure this will ring bells with many married members, I have got to the stage where it would be nice to go to bed at night, without having to cling onto the edge, to stop myself falling out, because my significant other has hogged near enough the whole bed.

We would have liked a 2m x 2m bed, but it just was not feasible in our small bedroom, so we decided on a 1.8m x 1.9m mattress, at least I should be able to lie on my back. The first job was buying the mattress, so I had the correct dimensions to work to.

My next problem was that buying dry timber here in Colombia is both difficult to source, and when you do find it, it is very expensive.

We went to a Hardwood Timber Merchant, and even there most of their timber was laminated into 3m x 1.2m sheets, I was told that I could buy Oak or Teak in entire pieces, but it is prohibitively expensive, unless you are on the super rich list, which I am not, and although I am sure the laminated boards are strong, I have never worked with them on a big project, and did not like the idea of spending a lot of money on something that might fall apart in the future, so we have opted for pine.

The decision to go for pine was not that easy either, I ended up having to go to three different suppliers to get the timber I needed.

Now I had the timber, I needed to get on with the build, before it started twisting and bending, I had been assured it wouldn’t, but to be honest, anything I am told here, I take with a pinch of salt.

The first part to be built was the headboard, the plans I had found, used mainly 2”x 4” including for the legs, because I couldn’t find any 4×4 or even 3×3 in pine.

The main panel is made up of 1×8 boards (OK we all know they are 3/4×7 1/2!!) The plan called for them to be glued, and then the 3 1/2” trim brad nailed and glued on all four sides, and on both sides of the panel, but I wasn’t happy with that, I could have taken the time to tongue and groove them, but instead, I pocket nailed and glued all the planks together, then added the trim.

The panel complete, it was then time to add the top part of the inner leg, as the legs are made up of two 2×4s these were attached with glue and 3 1/2” wood screws, the plan called for 3”, but believe it or not, except for drywall screws, you can’t get 3” screws in this part of Colombia, I spent a whole day out trying to find them and failed.

Then came the outer leg, which in our case is 56”, 2” longer than the plan called for, because we wanted the bed higher, as dog number two, sleeps under the existing bed, and SWMBO insisted this continue!

This is all topped with a 2×4 from one outer leg to the other, using glue and 2 1/2” screws, then comes the lower part of the inner leg, careful measurement is needed here, because you leave a gap wide enough to take the bed’s side board, and the lower leg acts as the support.

So this is the headboard completed, with the exception of more sanding, and filling of screw holes, at that stage I will fit the top rail, which will be cut from a 2×6 with routed detail.

Then came the footboard, which is a smaller version of the headboard, however there was an error in the plan, as a result, I had to make some design changes to the inner leg, which by this time was already attached.

If I hadn’t, we would have ended up sliding down and out of the bed ha! ha! I didn’t want to remove the inner leg, because with the screw holes, it would have weakened the joint.

Yesterday it was the turn of the base, this is made up entirely of 2×4, I will make a central leg to support the extra width, although the plan does not call for that, neither one of us are featherweights so it is a sensible precaution. This will then be topped with 1/2” plywood.

The base, being out of sight will not be treated in any way, and therefore to seal the end grain on all the pieces to reduce warping, I glue-sized them using PVA glue and water 10/90%

whilst these were drying I decided it was time to cut the weeds, well they are green, and it looks like a lawn!

Finally, using the Gazebo as my workplace, I assembled the base, using glue and two 3 1/2” screws, drilled and countersunk on each joint.

The workshop is now looking a bit clearer once again

The four 8×2 planks remaining, two will be used as the side boards, just cut to length, and the other two will be cut down to make the top rails for the head and foot board.

The pile of left overs, will be used in the construction of the bedside tables…I think!

Now for a lot of sanding, and then varnishing, always having had dark wood furniture, we have gone for a change, and will be using pine varnish, which will darken this some, but hopefully look OK, I’ll do a test piece, before applying it to the finished bed.

That’s it until completion!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

5 comments so far

View Tim Perdue's profile

Tim Perdue

2 posts in 1818 days

#1 posted 11-01-2015 01:06 PM

Love the headboard! Awesome….

View DocSavage45's profile


9008 posts in 3652 days

#2 posted 11-01-2015 04:40 PM

Yippee Skipeee!

Phil posted a project!

A FUNctional project. My wife wants one too! LOL! It’s on my to do list. You’re much more patient than I am. LOL! Good to see you posting something! Maybe you can make some similar style night stands?

I’ve been busy screwing up chainsaws, and I am attempting to use my “I’ll use that someday,” construction materials to build another shed for a recently purchased lawn tractor that my wife had been asking me to buy for many years. I’m planning for the future when I cannot get around as well. It rained on my bags of concrete (twice!) ( we were in a drought, not laughing) Bought new concrete yesterday.

Thanks for posting!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2776 days

#3 posted 11-01-2015 07:12 PM

Hi Tim, thanks for the positive comment, I did wonder if the headboard would look too plain, but now it is built, I am happy with it.

Ha! Ha! Tom, yes I know I have been absent for a while, I have been busy, but nothing worth posting. I haven’t yet decided on the night stands, but the ideas is for them to match the bed.

I went about advancing age differently from you, I downsized my garden when we moved here, far easier to manage, I don’t even have a mower, the brush cutter takes about 15 minutes to cut the patch we have, allowing me to spend more time in the workshop! Sorry to hear about the concrete, I hope the new batch is well covered, then again…if it stops the drought! ;)

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4143 days

#4 posted 11-02-2015 03:07 PM

Nice work Phil. The pine will serve you well and if you don’t like the all the knots you can always paint it. Your bed came out super nice. I can see that it is as difficult to find hardwood there as it is here in Norway. I don’t think that Americans or Canadians can quite appreciate how easy it is to buy just about anything in their countries (and at competitive prices) compared to what is available in smaller nations. I have been lucky though to have recently found a hardwood supplier with a reasonably good selection after 20 years. I just hope he stays in business! It does help a lot if you have the equipment to mill rough planks as they are usually easier to find than ready planed boards

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 11-02-2015 03:30 PM

Thanks stefang, the problem isn’t getting hardwood, it is getting dry hardwood. I can get mahogany in abundance, dirt cheap, but it is construction lumber, and wet!

If I had space for storage to dry it out, I would be quids in, but I don’t, not in any quantity. So for the time being pine will do. Likewise the rough sawn pine is wet, otherwise I would buy that and plane it.

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

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