Arts & Crafts Bed

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Project by JerryinCreek posted 06-05-2017 04:05 PM 1946 views 8 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As soon as I saw this Stickley style bed designed by Kevin Rodel (April 2017, Fine Wood Working Magazine) I knew I had to make it. I also knew this build would be full of challenges. In fact, my first challenge was that this design is for a queen sized bed and the bed I was replacing was a “full.” So, the slats and spaces on the head/footboards were narrowed (all by a guy who didn’t pay attention to math in school!). Think I measured and re-measured a hundred times as I imagined what it would feel like if the mattress didn’t fit when all the work was done!

After getting the parts for the head board completed it was time to carve the decoration into the top. Never carved before, so I did a lot of practice before tackling that.

I had never done any stringing or inlay work before and knew that if I messed up it would be tragic. And, the deeper i got into the project before messing up, the more tragic it would be! I found that making templates for the inlays (called hearts and spades) to be one of the biggest challenges requiring the most patience. I spent numerous hours filing out the fine details of a template only to end up tossing it out. I made dozens of templates before coming up with some winners. I also did a lot of practice using the router and templates before attempting the real thing!

After completing the stringing and inlay, I had to cut into the inlays to add the aluminum discs. My concern here was tear-out. So I sharpened my 5/8” Forstner bit with a diamond file and then had no problem just drilling a bit under 3/32”. The discs are held in place with epoxy.

After glue-up was completed it was time to colorize the wood. Early in the construction it dawned on me, “I can’t stain this piece or the maple will be the same color as the white oak!” (duh!) So, I watched a lot of You Tube’s to learn about fuming wood. I found a gallon of 28% Ammonium Hydroxide on line for a reasonable price and shipping was only $8. I decided to screw 2×8 scraps to the bottom of the head/foot boards and then hold the two pieces together with pine scraps screwed into the slots meant for the bed rails. I laid the bed rails across those pine strips. This allowed me to get all the pieces into a plastic tent of manageable size. I built a frame for the tent out of 2×2’s and furring strips. I used about a quart of ammonia divided into three glass pie plates spaced evenly in the bottom of the tent. I had scraps of white oak in the bottom of the tent and every hour I would retrieve a piece to check the color. After eight hours I was satisfied with the color.

I finished the bed with Dura-Var water borne polyurethane by General Finishes. I used and Earlex HVLP and sprayed two coats of gloss followed by one coat of satin.

Now I suppose a new dresser to match?

Thanks for looking!

-- Jerry, Johnson Creek, WI "If it was meant to be different it would be."

17 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3409 days

#1 posted 06-05-2017 04:10 PM

Really cool. Lots to like about this one.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1458 days

#2 posted 06-05-2017 04:18 PM

Good job, Jerry. I really like the inlay! Looks great.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6181 posts in 3624 days

#3 posted 06-05-2017 04:37 PM

A masterpiece in every sense. I read that article, and even took Kevin’s Craftsy class on how to do that type of inlay. After hours of instruction, I felt no more prepared to do the work than when I started. That takes nothing away from the Rodel class, I actually rather enjoyed it. I just thought there would be some trick that would make it all easy. Let me tell you, this inlay is not easy, and you did a very fine job sir.

I never did attempt the multi-material inlays, and stuck to simpler shapes for my inlays.
Cheers and kudos to you for tackling this large and daunting project.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View JerryinCreek's profile


216 posts in 2652 days

#4 posted 06-05-2017 04:51 PM

Thank you for the kind words. I didn’t know Kevin had a Craftsy class on this or I would have watched! Might have saved me some “hand wringing!” Maybe my ignorance was bliss! LOL!

-- Jerry, Johnson Creek, WI "If it was meant to be different it would be."

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3678 days

#5 posted 06-05-2017 06:01 PM

Jerry, this is a beautiful bed and it’s so nicely done. You have done a fine job on it and it shows a lot of care and craftsmanship.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View splintergroup's profile


3873 posts in 2033 days

#6 posted 06-05-2017 07:31 PM

A lot of work for a full-size cat bed 8^)

I just recently re-read that article, your inlay work fits beautifully.

View EarlS's profile


3786 posts in 3159 days

#7 posted 06-05-2017 08:29 PM

Oh you had to go and show the rest of us up?? Wow you set the bar high on this one. I really want to make this piece since I’m a huge Kevin Rodel fan but I can’t talk anyone in the house into a new bed frame. At least when I finally find an excuse to make it I will know where to go for helpful advice. Well done!!!!

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View AandCstyle's profile


3283 posts in 3068 days

#8 posted 06-05-2017 09:02 PM

Jerry, you are a better man than I am. I read, I saw, I turned tail and ran. Your work is masterful! Congratulations on a beautiful piece well done.

-- Art

View bubbaw's profile


84 posts in 2457 days

#9 posted 06-05-2017 09:48 PM

You did and excellent job on the bed, the fuming made it a knockout.

-- Isaiah 40:31

View Laughran's profile


85 posts in 2740 days

#10 posted 06-06-2017 10:23 AM

nicely done, I know that I too would have worried about the mattress fitting

-- David

View CampD's profile


1818 posts in 4297 days

#11 posted 06-06-2017 12:43 PM

Excellent piece!
and for for first time with inlays, wow, nicely done!

-- Doug...

View Don10's profile


40 posts in 2215 days

#12 posted 06-06-2017 12:53 PM

Hey Jer, you are getting far far away from boxes. The bed is beautiful. Gustave would be proud. Also adding stringing and inlays to your project demonstrates a lot of courage. You are certainly an old dog that likes new tricks. Can’t wait to see the dresser!

-- Don, Silver City, If you always do what what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

View PPK's profile


1770 posts in 1620 days

#13 posted 06-06-2017 02:20 PM

Fantastic job!

-- Pete

View Delete's profile


439 posts in 1183 days

#14 posted 06-06-2017 02:39 PM

Love that Arts and Crafts style and your well done inlay really completes the piece. Beautiful.

View FLBert's profile


73 posts in 1548 days

#15 posted 06-06-2017 03:07 PM

Nice bed. You did a great job on the inlay and string work…its always good to stretch yourself like that.

-- Bert, Lake City, FL

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