Bed Project Phase 2

I started my storage bed project a short while ago.  Ok, it was nearly 2 years ago.  Still, I got another bit done.  The mattress sits on a plywood platform.  Wood strips form a lip around the edges and keep the box springs in place.  Those had been a set of short pine parts, but would now be full maple pieces.  The bottom face of the bed frame was plywood and an open hole.  That got covered with an easily removable maple cover.

I started this phase right after I finished the frame, but got side tracked.  I lost a lot of the photos.  The earliest thing I have is of the bottom cover getting ripped down to rough width.  I did that by hand.  No small amount of work!  Table saws are real time savers these days.

After that I went about flattening the massive board with a scrub plane which, according to my heart rate monitor, easily qualifies as cardio.  Scrubbed on the left half, untouched on the right in the picture below.


After a bit of time with my jack plane it was becoming flatter.  The maple always gives me tear out grain issues though.  A smoothing plane and card scraper fix most of up.

The bottom cover was the largest board I had ever worked by hand.  It was daunting, but starting to look good.


With the dimensions and finish all about right I could move on to adding a hand cutout feature.  I roughed with my chisel, then used a rasp and spoke shave to smooth it all out.



Glued washers to the back of the board held it firmly against magnets in the bed frame.  The issue is that this kind of board doesn’t like to be flat.  That gap is a little unsightly.


No need to panic, I can fix this and make it even better.  A piece of molding attached with pocket holes will stabilize the board a bit, cover up that gap, add a feature to keep the covered centered on the frame, and add some nice flair.  Below is that molding cut to size and fit checked on the bottom cover.  It would ultimately get some rounding on the router, but I forgot to capture that process.


Similarly, I didn’t get anything of my work on the side rails.  They got a groove to help alignment with the bed platform and some rounding on the router to ease contact with shins and knees.  I used the same waterlox varnish finish technique as on the rest of the bed.  I am really liking how that finish works!


I assembled the bottom cover once all the finish work was done.  It takes and ugly hole and makes it look like a great maple masterpiece.



The old pine temporary rails were removed and new maple ones installed.  I clipped the bottom two corners of the bed platform before installing the rails.  No real load is held there at the very edge, and my shins catch that.  Now the railing and platform are all more leg friendly.


Phase 3 is going to be making all the drawers that go underneath the bed.  I want them to be largely hand worked as well.  For this project I used a miter saw to cut things to length and a router to perform round overs.  Otherwise everything was done with hand tools.  Not necessary, but something I want to spend more time on.

Maple Trim and Half Wall

There is a half wall in the foyer that was topped with a dark stained bit of pine.  I sanded it and panted it white to match the rest of the trim when I renovated that part of the house.  It sees enough use that interior house paint didn’t last long before scratches and stains got to it.  I wanted to install counter top material when the kitchen got re-done, but there was not enough quartz left over.

After nearly a year of the kitchen being finished I decided to tackle this project.  Instead of quartz countertop I went with maple.  I started by removing the old top and trim and cleaning up any issues around with the wall paint.

This job called for a 7.5 inch wide board that was 6 feet long.  The length wasn’t an issue but that width left me with few options at the yard.  This one is gorgeous with a lot of cathedral, some tiger striping and other character.  That makes planing it really tough.  After getting a lot of tear out in places I fell back to sanding.  It took forever, but I got the top very smooth.


I needed trim for under this part and under a window between the dining room and kitchen.  I got a nice beading bit and went to town.  Thankfully before doing everything I experimented.  Having the bit start with just a little nick, then going for full depth on a second pass produced a lot less tear outs at the sharp corner.  Notice how crisp the line is in the top example, while the bottom one is jagged.


With all the stock prepared I moved on to finishing.  I wanted to use a water based urethane from General Finishes.  It has sprayed well in the past and doesn’t yellow the maple, so it should match the kitchen cabinets.  The trick is we were due for days of cold, wind, and rain.  I moved everything inside and tried to pad the finish on.


Having finished many pieces with oil based wipe on polyurethane, I can say that this stuff is no substitute.  It isn’t thin enough, but then dries too quickly and leave streaks.  I eventually switched to applying it with a foam brush.  That worked out the best overall, but still left a lot to be desired.

The two trim parts that go under the kitchen window had interference issues.  They used a lot of calking to hold down the quartz, and left a fillet underneath.  Instead of trying to cut it all out, I rather relived the back hidden edge with a chamfer bit.  The finish was indeed a good match with the cabinets.



After that success I installed the half wall and its trim.  Once again drywall’s tendency to be out of square made the miter joints a little off.  I fall for that every time.  They still look really good unless you get up close.  I used a combination of loctite power grab (fantastic stuff for installing molding), and my pin nailer to fix everything.  Pin nailers are perfect for these kinds of installations.

Wooden Gift Tags

I was getting ready for a birthday party for this 1 year old I know.  Our conversations are one sided, he is a little short, and fails to reciprocate on high fives.  Still, he has more hair than I do, and a pretty cool set of parents.  So we got him a gift.  I was bagging up said gift when I thought of a cool way to add a little personal touch to the tag.

I dug around my scrap bin and came up with some thin maple I had from a resaw project.  Some quick hand hand planing and I had a really thin sheet of wood to make a tag out of.  I think it was about 1/16″ to start with and was a pretty consistent 1/32″ when I was done.  Still heavier than card stock, but a pretty impressive thickness


I cut it out and gave it those beveled tag edges along with a whole in the center.  I wrote out the message in sharpie and gave it a quick spray lacquer coat.  That was an error in order of operations.  The solvent in the spray lacquer lifted the sharpie and let it bleed out.  It isn’t horrible, but is noticeable.  Next time, spray first, let dry, then write the message.

My miserable handwriting is probably the worst offense.  Do they teach handwriting classes for adults?  I might have to plan out some resawing and make a stack of these tags.  Buying a small section of veneer would yield a lot of cards for a little cost, but I would rather start with some 3/4″ stock and do the milling myself.  Yet another project for the woodworking pile.  I need to craft more time so I can get out in the shop regularly.  I have been terrible this year.

iPad Stand

I recently bought an iPad for use during travel and for things around the house.  One such thing is for use as a recipe holder while I cook.  I have slowly been collecting my various scraps of paper and bookmarks into an organized google drive collection.  Most fit nicely on a single page in portrait mode.  I needed a way to prop it upright and started with a nice swoopy 3D printed part.  I liked the shape, but it was a little too light and the color clashed with my kitchen.


Unusual for me, I built a test piece first.  Typically I just launch into this sort of thing head first and start making mistakes.  The pine shape was made using the green 3D print as a tracing template.  I liked how it came out and proceeded with maple.

As I was cutting the groove on my router I made a huge mistake.  I wanted to rout the groove a little wider, and moved the fence closer to the bit to make a second pass.  CHOMP!


I forgot, when I moved the fence closer I used the wrong side of the bit.  When pinched between the fence and bit, the bit bites in and drags everything forward.  I made a little graphic below to show the issue.  The bit rotates counter-clockwise.  Keep out of the red zone and use the green side.

I recovered by starting over and moving on to a new piece of wood.  This time without any issues.  20171013_121914

Once I got the groove completed I tapered the back a little.  It doesn’t need to be 3/4″ thick all the way across, so I thinned the back end down.  I like the effect a lot, but in retrospect I could have gotten a lot more aggressive.


With the tapering done I used the green printed part as a template to lay out the two curved cutouts of this part.  I made the center cut wide enough to help lighten the look, and provide a cutout around the speaker ports at the bottom edge of the iPad.  I was able to orient the front to show off some lovely rays (little speckles in right hand picture) in the maple.

I am really happy with this, a past version of me would have cut the groove and called it good.  The block would have been functional, but chunky and brutal.  This is lighter and more elegant.  Truth be told I could have done more lightening and still had a functional part, but as always it is a learning-by-doing experience.  A spray coat of lacquer sealed the deal.

Drawer Dividers

While the cabinets were being installed I was hard at work making accessories for the drawers.  Most commercially available drawer dividers had a few strikes against them.  They were either plastic or bamboo (doesn’t match my maple cabinets), they weren’t very adjustable, and most don’t fit the narrow drawers next to my stove.  So I made my own.  The first trick is to take two thick boards and make four thin boards.

I resawed (cut standing on edge in the bandsaw) these two 3/4″ maple boards to make four slightly undersized 3/8″ boards.  After a few trips through the planer to clean up all the heavy bandsaw marks they were all about 1/4″.

I could have tried to glue various thin pieces together to make dividers, but wanted to include 1/4″ plywood as a bottom.  It would make the thin dividers a lot stronger to glue along those long edges.  I pulled out some silverware and got to settings sizes.


Every edge got a few swipes from my lovely little lee neilson tiny block plane.  That thing is perfect for knocking down sharp corners.  Once I had all the dividers in place for a particular drawer I applied expert and professional clamps until the glue dried.


Drawers full of spatulas and cooking spoons needed backup in the rear to keep them from leaning, so I used a short segment to shore them up.


I had planned to divide out our junk drawer and a drawer full of odds and ends, but that doesn’t appear to be feasible.  Entropy will reign supreme in those drawers for the time being.  I did however get all the heavy use drawers near the stove well organized.

dsc_0683As a bonus I had extra thin cut maple left over.  I want to use this stuff up quickly.  At these sizes and with it being flat sawn, it will cup and bow quickly.  At work we stretch regularly using a deck of cards with different stretch moves.  The box the cards came in was complete junk.  I thought having a two sided card caddy would make transport and use easier.

The cards are in a tray at an angle to keep them from falling out when carried.  As you do a stretch the card moves from the face down side to the face up side.  Eventually you get through all the stretches, shuffle everything and start over.


I took this as an opportunity to try two new things.  The first was liquid hide glue.  I have been hearing a lot about this (very old) product recently.  Long working time, reversible and low visibility under finishes made me very interested.  It was a fine glue, I will be using it more.  The next was my  new pin nailer.  It worked miracles on my quarter round baseboard molding and did a great job sneaking pins into this thin stock.  The pin heads are only somewhat visible on the flat sides.  It wasn’t the best usage case, but I like them a lot.  They kept it clamped and are much lower profile than brad nails.

Storage Bed Frame Phase 1

Storage is a premium in our house and rarely used bedroom items like blankets and extra pillows take up a lot of space.  I looked around for ideas and instead of trying to build a better chest of drawers than we currently have, I went for a new bed frame with storage.  I couldn’t find many good examples of bed frames that keep the boxsprings and provide a decent storage solution.  So I designed my own.

The frame is going to be in two halves that are joined by a narrow bit of plywood to tie the two together.  This makes each half narrower and lighter, and get it the right size for drawers.

Most of the body parts are made of plywood that will get covered in maple face framing.  I used pocket holes to aid in assembly and came back afterwards with screws from the other side to help with strength.  Each base has 3 cavities of the same size.  The ones closest to your head will have a false drawer front because our night stands sit too close for them to be useful.

The drawers are going to be big and heavy, so instead of messing with metal drawer slides I am just going to have them slide on the floor.  Each drawer cavity got some clean pine along the edges to help horizontally guide the eventual drawers.  Everything is recessed 6″ to prevent me from banging my foot on the corners like I always do with our metal bed frame.


The left and right half with drawers all needed face framing.  I hand planed all the surfaces, and went with waterlox varnish (a thinned tung oil) for the finish based on my lessons at the tampa woodworking show.  I am pretty sure I applied it too heavy, but I really like the results.

I did the same for two long sets of rail to go across the upper portion of the drawer area.  It isn’t a traditional way to do face framing, but it was much easier to do and will still look good.  Everything got strapped down with pocket hole screws.


With all the face work done I could finally assemble the whole lot.  Pocket holes around the edges will hold on the lip that keeps the box springs from falling off.  I screwed up a cut and had to do the center spanner in two pieces instead of one.  A few alignment instructions later and it was ready to install in the bedroom.


The installation went pretty well and after a few weeks of sleeping on the frame we are really happy.  The height is good, the frame is sturdy and no banged toes!


Currently I am using a few pieces of pine as the boarder to keep the box springs in place.  I need one across the head, because the boxsprings have slid up since we installed them.  The bedskirt ended up covering most everything.  I was going to be more decorative with the box spring trim, but now will probably keep it simple.  Phase 1 complete, phase 2 will be the trim and a piece to cover up the bottom face, and phase 3 will be the drawers.


Cheese Boards (Part 1)

In the beginning of December I took a look at my wood pile and decided to kill two birds with one stone.  First, get rid of a lot of one off boards I have lying around, and two, make a ton of gifts.  I made a big pile of handles for pizza cutters, ice cream scoops and the like on my lathe.  Every once and a while I want a quick gift, and bam, there it is.  Lets start with my smattering of wood.



I later added my roasted hardwood to the pile.  Everything got planed down to an even thickness.  I started to take a picture of each board glueup, but I started going through them so quickly I forgot the pictures.  The plan was to run them through the thickness planer, so I didn’t need the top or bottom to be perfectly aligned.  This let me just use side clamps and ignore cawls.  It was quick and easy, and I had enough clamps to do 4 or 5 sets at a time.

I glued together everything I was going to make in three big waves.  Many of them I made long enough to cut into 2 or 3 cutting boards.  Much more efficient than doing each one individually.

After glue-up

After glue-up

Cleaned up from the power planer

Cleaned up from the power planer

I took about half the pile and moved forward.  I was running out of time before a big house renovation and wanted some to get finished before Christmas.  Everything got squared up on the table saw, and a nice round-over on the router table.

After a minimal sanding on the faces and round overs, they were ready to get oiled.  I like to use howard’s butcher block conditioner on these long grain cutting boards.  It has a little wax in it which works better for long grain in my opinion.  I love how the colors come out when you just start to hit them with oil.  Below is a shot of each one half oiled so you can see the before and after color.



I have already given most of these away, and will have to get started on the next batch soon.  I also plan on making a nice video to discuss the care and feeding of these cutting boards for anyone that has one.