Last Public Project of 2022 . . .

. . . ready for the next series on bed making 2023!

I’ve been enjoying this project so very much. It was a project I could really sink myself into and for a larger project, it still didn’t take that long. Larger sections of oak were reduced to thin strips and smaller sections. That’s generally the case for any project and many got laminated to thicker ones and then bent to shape for the comfort of sitting up in bed to read, have breakfast in bed or even tune in to your laptop; changed cultures and changed uses have reshaped our lives. Remember how beds and headboards used to sit bolt-upright, were unpadded and shapeless, kind of like vintage bikes, car seats, chair backs and many other things? I am anticipating that this bed will need no stacked-up pillows to pad out for lumber support. These are the things design and planning take more and more care of.

The struggles in hand work mostly come in planing heavier sections of wood, in this case, oak to remove twist, cup and bow. The hardest is of course the bow on six- and seven-foot lengths. The cup and camber to opposite faces are easy enough but still require some slog work — good for upper-body exercise and pulmonary workout though, don’t forget that. My wood is mostly 8″ wide. To minimise wood loss I mostly ripped the badly cupped pieces into to two along the length. By doing that I lost a bare sixteenth of an inch instead of six times that amount. Well worth considering, this practice was once commonplace if hand work was the work in hand. Doing this allowed me another element to save time and energy. I could take a straightedge along the edge to give me a cut line to plane to. I did this to both pieces and after truing up and squaring the lengths they came together perfectly. It still took me an hour to do one side rail but I got my workout and my wood without going to the gym (which I personally would never do). I have to say too that I felt the deeper satisfaction only productive work can give a maker. You look back on your efforts when everything is planed out and you have that inner smile knowing that whoever looks on this bed will never know the half of what it took to get there. The joint lines disappeared with the hidden mortise and tenons but a sudden solidity created the steady strength a good bed needs to take on trampolining kids and two adults weighed down by the drains of life to recover for another day.

A single qick-release vise holds my bed side rail with a seven-foot overhang with hardly any effort. I read where on guru said that a QR vise “wouldn’t hold much of anything.” Silly really when you think there were hundreds of thousands made and used by craftsmen for a century and more and any other kind of vise was ultimately abandoned.

Oak is not a hard wood to work with until you come to having to remove a lot of wood or heavy knotty areas by hand. The bandsaw is really a winner for those of who are cash strapped, time strapped, space strapped and whatever. This is the board that was a nice enough piece mentioned above. I think most often the rewards unseen make the whole worth the effort. Ten planks of oak stacked and stood on end slowly get transformed from rough-sawn to finely finished, sized and shaped with components interconnected by whatever method you choose. Sometimes someone asks why I don’t use tusk tenons and wedges rather than fastenings. My reply is this. Most tenoned work held with wedges somehow looks overly big, bordering on ugly to look at. Fastenings of all types are some of the greatest inventions I know of. That said, I will never use dominoes, biscuits, dowels, pocket hole screws, or power routers for dovetails and nor will I use jigs to guide them. For me, this would destroy what I have gained as my lifestyle through six decades of working wood.

Next, I just have to cut and fit the side rails to length and finish off a couple more coats to my headboard. Then I am ready for an hour or two to develop the undergirding to carry the mattress. A nice c;losing piece too my 2022 and a good piece to start the series for 2023.

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