Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I made my bed

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. I think the same is true when making your bed. Still, I did a lot more than some would say is strictly necessary.

The finished product
I'd been designing a bed in my head for awhile. I intend to make one for my guest bedroom. We found out when moving this mattress to the new house that my parents didn't have an extra frame for a queen sized bed. The mattress had been inside a drained waterbed for a few years, but the waterbed wasn't coming along to the new house. We're trying to find it a home with a needy family.

Mom said that we'd have to go out and buy a new frame. "No, no, no." I replied. This whole farm is filled with scrap wood and scrap metal that people have been shoving aside for a century. Each time with the phrase "This is perfectly good. We can use it someday." And much of it does get reused. Holes are patched in grain bins with sheets of metal housed in dusty corners. Part of a huge machine that used to lift hay ended up protecting an extension cord running to my Christmas lights. But much gets left and forgotten for decades.

Back in 1951-52 there was an oil well in the middle of the section. Grandpa told them there's no way he was letting them drive out through his wheat field. But, they could drive up the cattle path. To do so, they had to clear some trees out of the way. Back then you could take your felled trees to a lumber mill and have it cut into boards. The trees came back in pieces and were shoved in the corner of a truck garage until about a month ago.

I cut them to the length that I wanted, split some in half, sanded them until they looked ... well, I was going for clean, beautiful wood like you might get from the store, but I got a lot of encouragement to leave some of the marks from the rip saw to give the bed character. So I did. Still, you can see below that by being choosy about what parts of what board that I used and generous use of a sander I was able to get some good looking, if not totally straight, boards.

I was expecting to be called home at any time, so rather than buying some bed hangers online (couldn't find them in stores) I just got some mending plates and some T brackets to hold everything together. I couldn't find nails the right size for the holes in the bracket and short enough that they wouldn't go through the board. So I got nails the right width and took a grinder to them to make them the right length.

I used a different board for the head and foot boards. I don't know it's origin, but it has been in the rafters of the shop for all of my life. The first thing I had to do was get most of the dust off. Even after a bunch of sanding there was still a lot of grey to the wood. I figured that I'd just stain it and forget it. I haven't done that yet. Maybe before I leave. The piece that ended up as the head board had a crack in it. It seemed fine until I attached the legs. Then they were wobbling. A couple of applications of wood glue in the crack seems to have fixed that issue. There was never any question whether the side boards would be solid. They're really thick.

The whole thing wobbled and tried to tear itself apart as I assembled it in my bedroom. But the moment it was set upright it firmed up. Once the box spring was on the bed suddenly became an unmovable object, fixed in place in the universe.

It was designed so that I can put holes in the tops of the bed posts and attach decorative posts later. But the lathe is giving me trouble, so that'll happen later.

I learned a lot for me to use next time I try this. Bed hangers for sure. And pegs and notches, too. Plus some decorative flourishes for the head and foot.