As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.  

Shaker Style Bed


As seen in the January 2012 Lee Valley Tools Newsletter Volume 6 Issue #3.

Please see the linked newsletter for a detailed article.

What I present here is a photo gallery, consisting mostly of photos that were not used in the newsletter, along with just a few notes and comments. As usual, click any picture for a larger image.

Once upon a time, I built my kids a backyard rink. And it was a lot of fun.

But the kids kept growing, and the backyard didn't. And so the rink was retired and the boards piled in the garage.

When I decided to build a bed for my daughter, I realized that I could make use of these well-seasoned boards to build her a nice bed out of reclaimed pine. Well, actually reclaimed Spruce (SPF), let's not quibble.

I came up with a shaker sort of design, that looks like this...

...and set to work.

Let me reassure you that planing down a bunch of 2x8 boards is going to result in a lot of ... mulch.

(aside: if YOU decide to build with 2x8 or similar boards from your local building supply store, make sure they are kiln dried and well acclimatized to your shop before using them! These boards were several years old and totally stable, but I still verified things with a moisture meter.)

I selected the clearest boards for the head + footboard, as they were the most visible, and glued up the boards.
I used my dowelmax jig, for joining the legs to the head and footboards.
Tapered the legs after dowelling, and also rounded over all corners with a roundover bit in the router table.
Glue-up of the head board.

Dowels were confined to roughly the middle third of the board, to allow for any potential movement in the wide panel of the headboard. (Over 12 months later and the joint is solid and stable.)

Another shot of the glue-up.

as an aside, the grey streak appears to be some sort of mineral streak in the board -- is is not a stain or mark on the surface, but something that the tree sucked up and spread throughout the wood while it was growing. Unfortunately I did not have enough boards to discard these, but we find that they add an interesting touch of character to the finished piece.

Big clamps sit around most of the time, but when you need'em they're a lifesaver!!
One of the early dry fits.
Close-up showing the bed bolt.

I've lived with a squeaky bed frame before, and tried many things to try and quiet the beast, with not much success. The noise was a result of the hardware that joined the legs to the rails. I therefore did a lot of research online before settling on Bed Bolts as my preferred fastener for this project. The reviews and opinions on Bed Bolts were almost universally positive. They are a bit more finicky to install, and they do leave holes in the ends of the legs that need covering. But I was very happy to live with that, as the result was a very rigid connection that did not move or squeak.

By hanging the piece from the hole for the bed bolts, I was able to finish both sides at once, including the bottom of the feet.
Installed and all the slats in place. Ready for use!
The bed is softwood, but the slats to support the mattress were all hardwood. I tried making one or two out of spruce, but the results were just too brittle. Could have been the stock I had, I dunno. I ended up using some old warped junky cherry and some wormy soft maple that I had laying around. A lot of the board were rather warped, which was no big deal, since the weight of the mattress fixed that pretty quickly.
Done. Good Night!


Thanks for reading!