Beds for the young'uns

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Project by MilFlyer posted 09-14-2016 05:31 PM 1675 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi folks!

So I recently retired from the Military and of course we jumped on a job offer that was too good to pass up….in Las Vegas. Moving from Korea to Las Vegas was a heck of an experience and in the process two of the children’s beds didn’t survive. So the wife gave me a tasking: Make a couple of beds for our children and justify all my toy…I mean tool purchases. :)
The beds themselves were fun to build and the children helped in between bouts of running around the neighborhood with their friends. The two interesting things about this build were 1) humidity and allowing box store lumber to acclimate and 2) redwood and tearout.
I have never lived in an arid climate. Everywhere I’ve been stationed has always been averaged 90% humidity for the most part. I knew the desert climate would affect the wood but I had no idea how much so I researched. I read and watched videos about acclimating. Then the wife and I bought lumber and let it set in the garage for a week figuring that would be enough time. Nope. For most of the project pieces it was. I did a rough cut and let them sit for another 24 hours, But after final cutting the rails for the bed they developed pretty ugly twist along their length over the course of the next two weeks. I’ve also never worked with redwood (that’s what this stuff was called at Home Depot). And even with some sharp router bits I got some pretty ugly tearout.

So I guess I have 2 questions for the community: 1) Those of you who live in arid/desert climates what are your practices for allowing wood to acclimate? and 2) With woods prone to tearout do you guys have any tips, tricks, or techniques to mitigate that?

As always, thanks to those of you out there that help out us less experienced woodworkers by making plans, cut lists, videos etc… available. It really helps walking into projects with confidence. These beds were fashioned directly after the one’s found on Matthias Wandel’s website: Just want to make sure proper credit and thanks go where they are deserved.

Thanks for stopping by,

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

8 comments so far

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 3169 days

#1 posted 09-14-2016 06:37 PM

Oh, forgot to post…..the wife did the stain and finish on both beds so that I could go back to cleaning my shop. :)


-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 4030 days

#2 posted 09-14-2016 07:03 PM

I can picture some happy youngsters ! Good looking beds ! Goodon’ya !

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View KelleyCrafts's profile


5361 posts in 2236 days

#3 posted 09-14-2016 09:02 PM

Richard, I’m in AZ so I have essentially the same climate as you. A couple of things:

1. Kiln dried only if you go to the HD or Lowe’s. Even then I swear it’s not fully dried.
2. Sticker and stack, sticker and stack. ANYTHING I buy I sticker and stack for minimum two weeks but usually strive for three to four. By “sticker and stack” it means you stack the lumber with little strips of lumber in between layers to allow air on both sides of the boards. I do this so often the wife plans all my projects that she has an interest in four weeks ahead of time. We just got a bunch of lumber one and a half weeks ago for a dining room table, it’s stickered and stacked. I’m supposed to start building in November and have it ready for Thanksgiving.
3. Speaking of stickering and stacking….that dining room table lumber I mentioned…it’s sitting in the dining room! Yeah, that’s right. I store specific project wood like that where it will live to acclimate. I buy nearly 100% rough lumber. I run it through a planer and sticker and stack it. Sure, I have lots in the garage but specific projects usually get stored where they will live. Moisture content will even out based on where it lives and will make movement less in the long run. Sure, I’ll move the pieces to the garage when it’s time but I’ll just take what I need and put it back at the end of the day. It’s not convenient but the wife wants a nice table, she understands it will be much nicer if it’s a flat table. Smaller stuff isn’t as bad though.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View gsimon's profile


1338 posts in 3610 days

#4 posted 09-15-2016 01:03 AM

good looking beds!
Re: Tear out – You’ll get different results with different species of wood running through the same blade and set up
Sharp blades, process with the grain and a little at a time usually does the trick

-- Greg Simon

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 4293 days

#5 posted 09-15-2016 09:05 PM

Looking good. I’m in agreement with Greg’s comments, particularly “a little at a time”. Several shallow cuts (with sharp blades) will normally let you creep up on a nicely finished surface.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Richard's profile


1959 posts in 4188 days

#6 posted 09-16-2016 07:35 PM

My only question is are you sure those are Strong enough for kids that age ? I know for my Grandkids they need to be built out of 4×4’s or larger , they have totally destroyed two bunk bed sets in only 2 years.

View MilFlyer's profile


948 posts in 3169 days

#7 posted 09-16-2016 08:10 PM

KI7HY, GSimon, and Druid, thanks for the input and suggestions. I will definitely put them to use and give my lumber longer to acclimate and go a little less aggressively when routing. Just the price of impatience I guess. :)

Richard, I’ll be honest with you, I’ve had the same thought. If my children were just to sit on them and laydown I wouldn’t have a worry in the world. But that’s not what 12 and 13 year old children do is it? I’m hoping they last, but in the back of my head I’ve already started thinking their may be an eventuality where a bedframe will be needed quickly. I did ask them to try and take it easy since they are wood and not metal. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Thanks for the tips guys,

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View Wood Studios's profile

Wood Studios

129 posts in 3829 days

#8 posted 09-22-2016 04:23 AM

Very nice looking beds and I think they will withstand some teenager abuse or use. As far as tear out, I spray a very small amount of water on the wood before I plane it or run it through my jointer. And if I am going to put a profile on the edge using a router, I wipe on, not spray, some water. It always stops the tear outs.

-- I read it but I wasn't listening!!

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