Craftsman Style Bed

So I wanted to try and build some furniture. Chairs seemed scary. I had never built a drawer, which limited my choices. Eventually I settled on making a bed. The bed in the pictures above was my first try at anything I would consider to be furniture. I love the style, and based it all on a picture I came across in a Fine Woodworking magazine. No plans or dimensions, just a picture. The original was all oak, but I made this one of maple and cherry, simply because I liked the combination.

I purchased the wood as rough sawn lumber from Hearne Hardwoods in PA. It’s a couple of hours drive away, but this was before you could purchase specific boards on the internet, and they had plenty of what I wanted, for me to look through. My first time in a proper lumberyard for woodworkers, not one filled with plywood and drywall. I like those too, but it’s not the same. I had to read up on how to calculate board feet before I drove out there, as I had never done that before either.

This bed was built in my free time, using my Father’s shop. I started to add some tools to his collection. He had recently purchased a DeWalt 12 inch planer (he has since upgraded, and I have it now as a hand me down) and if I recall correctly, I added a 6 inch Delta jointer to the shop. A bit bigger than a benchtop as it had a stand, but it was a stand and not a cabinet. Barely had room for it. The shop at the time was so small, that after jointing a board, if you wanted to turn it on end, you had to carry it out of the shop area, through another small basement room, in to another room, where you could rotate it over a pool table, and then carry it back through the little room to the shop again. The shop was mostly a home made workbench with a radial arm saw (Craftsman) at one end, and a sump pump at the other. There was a freezer, a water heater, the furnace – now a jointer, all in about 80 square feet. When it came time to assemble the footboard and headboard, we covered the pool table and used it as our assembly table, since there was simply no room to even work on something that large in the actual shop.

In the end, after a harrowing assembly (with help from both my parents) it all came together just as planned. Then came the question of what to do with it. I didn’t actually need a bed at the time, it was just something I wanted to build. Nearly sold it a couple of times, figuring I could make another, but hung on to it anyway. A few years later I moved into the first place of my own and set up the bed for real (and not just for these pictures). Now 20 years later, the cherry is all nice and dark, and the wood is as smooth as ever, save for a scratch or two thanks to the cats). All that extra sanding was worth it.

The bed was finished with several coats of tung oil, and paste wax. The rails are connected to the headboard and footboard with mortised “hangers” from Rockler. The crosspieces on the top and bottom of the headboard and footboard, are mortised in to the posts. The contrasting color dowels are simply for show. There are no nails in the bed, and the only screws are for the rail “hangers”. I do not have plans, never had more than some sketches I made, but for scale, it is a queen size mattress.

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