Monday, January 5, 2009

Pencil Post Bed - Cherry - Part 2

Ok, so in Part 1 I went through the process of prepping all the stock for the posts and rails; this was by far the longest part of the whole build process. After that was done, it was time to shape the posts. This part was BY FAR the most nerve wracking part of the process. After having gone through all of the trouble to make the boards nice and flat, and square, one misstep would have ruined the whole post. So, the first thing I needed to do was a build a jig, a long jig. I went to the local "big box" store and found the straightes 2x6 board I could find; I was fortunate to get a good one. Next I had to build a sort of indexing system (this came from the plans I went by to build the bed). Basically, it's two sqare disks with holes drilled at vaious points; these points give you the tapers that you need. In the case of this bed, 4 sides were tapered all the way through; the other four side had stopped tapers, more on that later. Basically, how the indexing jig works is, you drill a hole in the center of the bottom of the post; this is how the post will rotate/spin. Next you screw the reference disk to the bottom of the post, aligning the rotation hole. This inner disk has the 8 holes drilled into it for the tapers, each one is numbered so you know what order to make your cuts. The outer disk only had two holes, one for the pivot point in the center, and another indexing pin that matches the 8 other holes that were drilled through the inner disk. Below is a picture of the whole setup.
From PencilPostBed

Once I had the whole thing built, it still took me over an hour to get up the nerve to make the cuts! Once I got started though, it was a piece of cake. Here is a shot, not a great one, looking back down the jig.
From PencilPostBed

And here are all four posts done with the tapers.
From PencilPostBed

Now, remember that 4 sides on each post recieve a stopped taper. This is becuase I chose to include the lambs tounge detail. Using a pattern, I outlined the curve on each side of the posts and used a carving knife, file and sandpaper to do the details; 16 in all (4 each post). This was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I have a picture of the finished product below.

Basically, that was all of the hardest parts. The only other challange was drilling long, straight, holes for the bed bolts for the rails. I simply used a dowel jig to get the hole started and then finished it up. Below are some pictures of the final project.
Lambs Toung detail:
From PencilPostBed

From PencilPostBed

Whole bed:
From PencilPostBed

The finish is sort of my own making I suppose. The bed is cherry, so I really just wanted to put some boiled lindseed oil (BLO) on it and some wipe on polyurethane, but my wife wanted a darker, aged look. So, what I typically do now is, I will put a heavy coat of BLO onto the piece and let it soak in good. Then, I use at least 3 coats of Watco, walnut colored, Danish oil. Simply wipe it on with a rag, let it set for a minute, and wipe off any that remains. The key to this is to have the surface as smooth as possible. Then, I simply put on 5 coats of a satin wipe on poly.

Overall, this was one of my most challenging projects, again due to the size, but it was pretty fun looking back on it. Let me know your thoughts...

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