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Shaker Moon Bed

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Project by CharlesA posted 12-23-2019 03:55 AM 1045 views 6 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A few years ago, I spotted this Shaker Moon Bed made by Vermont Wood studios. I knew I wanted to make one some day.

When we moved to Georgia 20 months ago, I had my chance. I started by making a Sketchup model. I used this to my dimensions. I was very concerned about how to build a platform bed that had this simple Shaker look, so I oversized all the parts. The headboard and footboard are 1” thick, the side rails are 1 1/4” thick, and the legs are 2 1/2 square.

I really liked the look in Cherry, but the rest of our bedroom is Mahogany, so I had to go that way. Genuine Mahogany is really expense, and I don’t like to work with the so-called African Magogany. I learned that Sweetwater lumber in Austell carries a boatload of of Sapele. While most of their Sapele is quartersawn (ribbon), they carry a fair amount that is flat sawn. Flat sawn Sapele looks pretty dang close to mahogany. I wanted 8/4 for my oversized parts, and all they had in stock of 8/4 flat sawn was in 16’ lengths. I took my new cordless circular saw with me and ended up transportable boards. It was expensive, but about 50% of the cost of real mahogany.

In fairly short order I had the head and foot boards planed and glued up. I made the legs out of two pieces, picking out rigt sawn sections of boards. I laid out and then cut several mortises in the legs using a router and a 3/4” bit.

I usually taper legs with the jointer method, but these legs were so heavy and the taper so short that I knew that would not work well at all, so I tapered the legs with my hand plane.

I laid out the curve naturally with a center pivot stop and anchored at both ends. I made a template and cleaned up the jig saw cut wit the rother.

For the tenons on the head and foot boards, I established the shoulders with the router, cut our the sides of the tenons with a hand saw, and then sized the tenons with a shoulder plane, cleaning up with chisels.

When cleaning up the curve on the footboard, something went wrong with the template leading to a 1/8” gouge. A sharp spokeshave to the rescue.

I had chosed to use bed bolts to hold the bed together. I was pretty nervous about drilling these out, but it torned out that my best jig was the leg itself. I drilled the access holes on the side rails oversized, because I knew I would be precise enough for a close fitting hole. I was quite surprised to see how well they turned out:

The biggest engineering question was how to make a platform bed where the slats didn’t have center support but wouldn’t bend unnecessarily. I bought SYP floor joists, planed them down to 1 1/4”, and then glued/screwed a 1 1/4” square strip in the bottom, forming a T. I dovetailed the ends with corresponding mortises (?) attached to the rails. I cannot believe how strong these are. They’re mounted 2” apart to allow the mattress to breath at least a little.

I assembled it in our den and fitted the supports to the slats. I simply could not believe it all worked!

Sapele is an open pore wood, and I didn’t want to mess with something like Timbermate all over this thing. I decided to use the finishing method of using Danish Oil where you wet sand it to fill the pores. This is a great finishing method for an ultra smooth finish without a lot of fuss. I didn’t want it too red, so I used one coat of red magoany, a 2nd coat of original, and a then a third coat of red again to get it to my ideal color. I have no idea if I could have changed this order up a bit, but when I it worked, I stayed with it.

Here’s the assembled bed in the bedroom.

I did not want to use brass bed bolt coves on a Shaker bed. In surfing the web, I read somewhere about someone suggesting using wood covers with rare earth magnets. This is a great solution.

It took about a week short of a year, with other commitments and projects in the midst, but we’re pretty happy.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson





15 comments so far

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

1966 posts in 2727 days


#1 posted 12-23-2019 11:17 AM

That is beautiful!

-- Petey

View swirt's profile

swirt

5249 posts in 3749 days


#2 posted 12-23-2019 12:58 PM

Wow. Great looking bed. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View John Smith's profile (online now)

John Smith

2445 posts in 940 days


#3 posted 12-23-2019 01:19 PM

incredible craftsmanship !!
thanks for sharing

.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3431 posts in 2575 days


#4 posted 12-23-2019 01:20 PM

I’m going to need to make a mod in the next couple of weeks. I had the mattress dropping into the bed frame because that was the height my beloved wanted it. However, she has decided she would like the platform higher. Fortunately, it won’t be that hard.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

2005 posts in 3790 days


#5 posted 12-23-2019 01:39 PM

Nice piece of furniture. Great writeup and photos.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

703 posts in 557 days


#6 posted 12-23-2019 01:43 PM

Excellent work. Is there an allowance for expansion of the headboard/footboard as it relates to the posts/legs?

I have a Sapele project going on and the danish oil finish looks fantastic…I may give it a try.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3431 posts in 2575 days


#7 posted 12-23-2019 01:48 PM



Excellent work. Is there an allowance for expansion of the headboard/footboard as it relates to the posts/legs?

- BlueRidgeDog

Not sure I’m totally following. I made multiple tenons they are not too large for that reason.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View pottz's profile

pottz

9910 posts in 1762 days


#8 posted 12-23-2019 02:57 PM

thats a real nice looking design charles and the plugs with the magnets are a great idea.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

703 posts in 557 days


#9 posted 12-23-2019 03:16 PM


Not sure I’m totally following. I made multiple tenons they are not too large for that reason.

- CharlesA

I have always shied way from large glue up panels attached to legs as I could never reliably think of a way to manage the expansion/contraction of the large panel and at the same time make it a structural element. To solve this I have had to make headboards with a frame and the frame being the structure and the panel floating in the frame or a hidden stretcher that gives the structure, then the large panel only has one glued tenon at the top, allowing it to grow and shrink towards the bottom. I have thought of using a breadboard type of attachment. I have also thought that perhaps I am overly concerned with the movement of a large panel, especially in an air conditioned modern home. So I was curious if you came up with a way to do it or if you felt it was moot.

I think I spend more time thinking about wood movement than the wood actually moves!

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

1685 posts in 325 days


#10 posted 12-23-2019 04:13 PM

Beautiful work. I really like working with sapele, certainly one of my top 5 favorite woods.

Your solution to make the slats sturdy is brilliant, somethin I wont easily forget. thanks.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: Because cheese isnt a healthy source of cheese, I will use grated cucumber to top off this raw food vegan pizza.

View edapp's profile

edapp

340 posts in 2207 days


#11 posted 12-23-2019 04:14 PM

Love the design of this bed, and you did a great job constructing it!

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

414 posts in 1457 days


#12 posted 12-23-2019 06:08 PM

Really nice! I will need a bed in the near future, I’m going add this one to my favorites. The magnetic plug is smart!

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

414 posts in 1457 days


#13 posted 12-23-2019 06:12 PM


Not sure I’m totally following. I made multiple tenons they are not too large for that reason.

- CharlesA

I have always shied way from large glue up panels attached to legs as I could never reliably think of a way to manage the expansion/contraction of the large panel and at the same time make it a structural element. To solve this I have had to make headboards with a frame and the frame being the structure and the panel floating in the frame or a hidden stretcher that gives the structure, then the large panel only has one glued tenon at the top, allowing it to grow and shrink towards the bottom. I have thought of using a breadboard type of attachment. I have also thought that perhaps I am overly concerned with the movement of a large panel, especially in an air conditioned modern home. So I was curious if you came up with a way to do it or if you felt it was moot.

I think I spend more time thinking about wood movement than the wood actually moves!

- BlueRidgeDog

I think that traditionally either it was done just like it was here, and sometimes they survived and sometimes not, or it was done like a breadboard end, where one of the tenons is glued and pegged tight, and the rest are in oversized mortises with pegs in slotted holes to allow a bit of movement. I think mahogany is a pretty stable wood to begin with, so it’ll probably be a fine.

View PaulHWood's profile

PaulHWood

463 posts in 3030 days


#14 posted 12-24-2019 03:03 AM

most excellent

-- -Paul, South Carolina Structural Engineer by trade, Crappy Woodworker by choice

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

118066 posts in 4354 days


#15 posted 12-24-2019 03:08 AM

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