Makin’ Bacon

Background

We had been searching for a lower nitrate bacon alternative. This is due to the nitrates combining with the meat and forming nitrosamines when cooked at high temperatures (e.g when you cook the bacon until crispy). The so called “uncured” bacons that we had found uses celery juice or extract rather than Sodium Nitrite.  However celery is very rich in naturally occurring nitrates. The uncured bacons with the celery  in many cases have MORE nitrates in them than  than those made with sodium nitrite! See this article where it was quantified. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/ho…/5734-nitrate-free-bacon.

We also prefer a less salty bacon and with a mild smoke flavor such as from apple or cherry.  We have an abundance of cherry wood for smoking.

So I did some research, on the web, bought the book Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman, and talked to co-workers. Finally, I was confident I could do this and set out to buy some pork belly (where did I see it in a store last?).   After a few false leads I ended up at a small local grocery with its own butcher shop – Panos in Waukesha.  There I procured an 11 lb slab of meaty pork belly – skin on.   I took it home and the skin came off without too much trouble.  I tried making chicharrones but that was a disaster.   However the bacon turned out great!

One of the important things when curing meats is to do everything by weight, not volume. The density of salt can vary by two to one (e.g table or canning salt vs a coarse kosher salt.  I dry cured the bacon for a week before smoking.  The cure recipe below has far lower levels of nitrite than any of the recipes I found on the web. The justification for the lower level still being safe is the bacon will be cured in a refrigerator, hot smoked and then eaten quickly or frozen. This minimizes the chances of botulism growth.  I would not try this low a level for a dried salami or other products cured at room temperature (but those are not generally cooked crispy either).

Basic Dry Cure (adapted from Charcuterie)

450 grams kosher or canning salt

225 grams white sugar

28 grams pink salt (cure #1)   – note this is HALF of the amount recommended in the book

This was mixed up and then applied to the meat. I had 2 pieces 1.9KG and 2.2 KG which used 70g and 85g respectively (approximately 1/4 cup) .   The cure was rubbed in well. The balance is in a jar waiting for the next project.

The smaller piece was to be spicier.  TO this I added the following:

3 bay leaves crushed

4 large cloves garlic finely chopped

1.5 tablespoons black pepper coarsely cracked (next time I will double this)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

The spices were mixed and then rubbed all over the piece.

The bacon to be slabs were placed in glass baking dishes and covered with plastic wrap and then put in the fridge in the garage. They were turned once a day. The weather was unseasonably cold so the fridge temps were probably lower than planned (26 degrees when I inserted the probes for smoking).  There was not much liquid given off.

Smoking prep

The night before smoking, the bacon was rinsed well and then placed on skewers over the baking dishes and returned to the fridge uncovered. This allowed the outer layer to dry and from a pellicle which helps the smoke penetration.

Smoking

The Big Green Egg was fired up and set for indirect heat. 2″ thick chunks of cherry branches were placed on the charcoal. The Heatermeter was set for 205 degrees. Temperature probes were placed in the thickest part of each slab.  It was a very windy cold drizzly and snowy day  (good thing the Heatermeter case is waterproof).  When the meat hit 130 degrees I rotated each by 180 degrees so the outer edges would not get too done  as the slabs filled the grill and were not entirely shielded from direct heat.  At 3 hours the meat was 150 to 175 degrees and the smoker temp was rising due to the high winds (I don’t have a damper on the fan yet) . So I pulled the bacon off the smoker and put it back in the fridge.

Taste

This bacon is great. The right level of salt and spices and very meaty. Nice pink color even with the low nitrite level. I had taken a few strips the night before smoking to taste and make sure it was not too salty . However it did not fry up near as well as the smoked bacon.

Teal and I like both flavors and the savory one will be great for salads, BLTs, etc. The bacon cooks up very crisply.

At the moment the house smells like a good old fashioned butcher shop and smoke house – yum.

Slicing

We got a new meat slicer for this and other cooking projects. It worked like a charm. So easy and consistently thin slices (the way Teal likes them).   Of course you could slice by hand especially if you like thick cut bacon. It will just take longer and you would probably want to slightly freeze the meat before slicing to firm it up even more. The bacon was then divided up and vacuum packed for freezing.  We ended up with almost 8 lbs of finished bacon.

Conclusion

This is definitely something we will do again. There is not a huge amount of applied time involved, but you do have to wait for the meat to cure.  Not hard and a great payoff. While the bacon was smoking, David and I also brewed up 2 batches of beer .  Teal was very patient with us and helped out as well.

We have bacon that tastes great and we know exactly what has gone into it.

Next I wonder about doing some pork loins for canadian bacon. They were on sale last I looked.

 

Crib – Mattress frame

The mattress needs to be height adjustable. With this design there are 3 heights available. High, low and floor.

The frame is made of 3/4×3/4 ” 14 gauge steel tubing. It is sized to fit about 3/4″ inside of the wood frame.

The frame is supported at the corners, however the screw and nut locations would collide with the sides. So I used buried nuts welded into the end rail pieces prior to assembly. To do  this the holes are drilled (#7) and tapped (1/4-20 ) 3/4″ from each end. A sacrificial bolt is inserted and a nut is placed on it finger tight. The nuts are then welded in place. I used a MIG welder.  However the day was windy and my skills rusty after the long winter so they are not the prettiest of welds.  (so feel free to pick on my weld quality)

I have often used this technique for buried fasteners when bolting through relatively thin stock like this or for beds where the nut plates are buried in the wood legs.

The holes for the webbing were then drilled in the  sides. It is much easier to do this while the frame is still in pieces. I always make a list of the hole distances prior to marking and drilling. This is easy in a spreadsheet and minimizes the chances for an error half way through and the piece ending up looking like swiss cheese.  I will use #8 x1/2″ hex head self tapping sheet metal screws. The holes are 9/64″ or #28 drill.

The frame was then welded up, welds ground flush, flap disk sanded (120 grit) primed and painted.

The webbing is 2″ light polypropylene webbing. I ordered a 150 foot roll and used most of it.

The webbing ends are folded over and secured with the screw and washer. If you have restrung an old aluminum lawn chair, you know the drill.

When securing the second end the triangle tip should hang over the side by about 1/2″.  Now you start the screw through the webbing. Next you use a nut driver or impact driver and hex bit to lever the screw over after catching the tip in the hole. This adds just the right tension. Use hex head screws, I can’t imagine how frustrating this would be with just a straight screwdriver.  The long straps are tighter than the sides and installed first as I did not want to bow in the sides

The frame is hung from these small pieces. They make the hole spacing forgiving and provide access to the screws that are otherwise hidden mostly by the frame. 1/4″ long spacers are placed between the straps and frame. These were made on the 3D printer, although you could also pay the price at the hardware store.

Now ready for delivery. Gap around the mattress is one finger thickness – just about perfect.

Crib – Finishing and Assembly

Finish, then Assemble design

This design is based on the technique of: finish, then assemble. This will sound backwards to most people, but is a very logical and efficient way to do certain kinds of projects – especially those with lots of small parts.  It works well with many Craftsman designs or adaptations of them.

The primary key to making this succeed is to have joints where every surface has a reveal or offset.  This begs for mortise and tenon joinery as well as flat recessed or raised panels. This project was designed for reveals and recessed flat panels.

When designing a piece for this technique it is easy to go overboard with large reveals. This has 1/16″ to 1/8″ reveals. The key point is to not have any adjacent surfaces that when assembled must be flush (and then require sanding, planing or scraping).

The beauty of this technique is that the surface preparation is easy.  I really hate sanding and scraping into corners and to do this between spindles is a special kind of hell. It is so easy to create a divot while attempting to clean up that last little bit of “something”.  With the  all flat surfaces and you can spray the finish on all horizontal pieces ( no runs).  This works well if you don’t spray finish on a daily weekly or even monthly basis.

Sanding and scraping

I sand all of the pieces to 120 grit and definitely hand sand or scrape again after the drum sander to avoid nasty longitudinal scratches.   With well figured wood I will then hand scrape as well to better “pop” the figure once finish is employed.    Note that scraping after sanding requires more sharpening but this is a small price to pay.  For any large flat surface, scraping really is a must. It is not only faster than a good sanding job but also gives a better more transparent finish in the end (more chatoyance).  The random orbit sander no longer has a place here, as I am tired of cleaning up swirliques that show up once the stain is applied.

Spraying

Once the parts are sanded I lay them out on left over strips of wood for efficient spraying. The goal is to have them close enough to minimize wasted finish but far enough apart to get good edge coverage.  When gang spraying pieces like this  I spray at approximately a 30 degree angle so that the edges get good coverage. The rack of pieces gets 2 passes so that I can hit both sides. This means that as you walk down the row the first pass will not have full coverage on the face, but as you reverse direction for the second pass it will.  The edges achieve full coverage as the get hit when each face is sprayed.

When I first started doing spindles like this, I placed them close together and sprayed per normal directions and still had uneven sides. Using the current technique the sides turn out great and it only takes half the time as I only flip once per coat instead of four times .

Mortises and dadoes when finishing

For proper glue adhesion, you really do not want to have the finish layers inside of the joints.  Having finish inside of the joints is a recipe for glue bond failure.  The tenons are easy – tape them.

However the mortises and dadoes are more difficult. There are two major types: those that meet with a shoulder and those that do not. The top and bottom rails are good examples of those that meet with a shoulder. The mortise is hidden well within the end of the stock with the tenon that fits into it. These well hidden mortises can be covered with masking tape. The mortises and dadoes that will not have broad shoulders covering their edges are more difficult as masking tape will easily protrude on to what will be exposed areas.  Rolled up paper towels , newspaper and even wooden scraps can work, but the easiest by far is using foam “backer rod” that is used for weatherstripping and to fill the big gaps in your house that you can then caulk over.   Here we have 1/2″ backer rod filling some of the mortises.  The pieces can easily be re-used for future projects.

 

Finish schedule – all sprayed except for the gel stain:

Behlen solarlux dye – Golden fruitwood

2 light coats 1 lb cut garnet shellac

General FInishes gel stain – mix of 2 parts Georgian Cherry, 1 part Candle lite   – rub on, rub off and let dry 5-7 days. The long dry time is due to it  (oil based stain) being followed up with a water based finish

1 coat General Finishes Endurovar gloss precat water based urethane

2 coats General Finishes Endurovar Satin precat water based urethane . The precatelyzed polyurethane is exceptionally durable and UV resistant.  It is very brushable as well . I also enjoy the opportunity to promote a local business which really does have a superior product.  Their factory is <20 miles from my home.

If you are wondering; “Why gloss then satin?”. The reason is that the first coat of finish is often much heavier than the later ones,  and each coat of satin will drop the clarity of the finish. So the rationale is to build up the finish coats with gloss for depth and  sandability. Then switch to satin for the last 2 coats to provide the desired lustre.  While I would prefer to have just one coat of satin for best clarity, my technique is imperfect and I need 2 coats of satin to make sure there are not glossy patches showing through in the final finish.   I do the same with most other finishes where I want a non-gloss lustre.  The exception is Sherwin Williams pre cat rubbed effect lacquer.  This stuff is glorious, but must be used outside due to toxicity and not wanting to risk the house going BOOM.

Final assembly

Once the pieces have been finished, it is time for assembly.  This is where the epoxy comes in. This is not just the fast hardening hardware store syringes but rather the slower setting high strength epoxies from: Gougeon Brothers / West System, System 3 and Glen-L Marine Designs.  Beware of those selling “penetrating epoxies” which are basically the same base components with thinners / diluants but then lack in mechanical strength.

For the final assembly we do one last dry fit-up.  This verifies that we have all of the right pieces in place and there are no finish issues (blobs) impeding assembly.

The epoxy is thickened with silica. The colloidal silica keeps it from running or sagging during assembly. The high strength silica adds bulk. Think of adding sand and stone aggregate to concrete as the logical equivalents.   This mix is then tinted to match the darker colors in the wood.  The dark colors blend in well to the grain and look natural in the crevices of the joints if your clean up is imperfect. However if it is lighter than the background wood color it will stick out like a sore thumb.

We are also careful to clean up any squeeze out or fingerprints with plenty of paper towels and denatured alcohol. The epoxy will discolor in sunlight due to the UV rays and what may not be noticeable now may very well be in 5-10 years.

Crib – End rails and slats

Slat Fitting

The curved end rails made for some interesting routing for the mortises.  The slats were inserted into the bottom rail mortises and aligned behind each of the mortises. Then pieces of blue masking tape were used to mark the length to the bottom of the rail and the angle. An additional 1/2 inch was added to arrive at the final length.

The router was set up with a fence to guide the cuts and keep them centered.  However the direction of the plunge for the mortise is perpendicular to the bottom edge at that point. The ends of the mortises are then not parallel with the slat edges.  There are then 2 options:

Chisel the ends to be parallel with the slat ends. This is very hard with a  small gouge in the Oak.

Bevel the edge of the slat to approximate the angle of the slot end. This is FAR easier.

Below you can see the end rail and one of the slats. The slot nearest the slat has some small burn marks, so you can see the direction of the plunge. The end of the slat has been trimmed to length and the right end beveled to roughly match the mortise end. 

One final test fit with all of the slats in place.

Next step was rounding and beveling of the edges of the legs and rails.

Now on to the finishing.

Crib – Planing and Plasma

Completing the rails

Today’s tasks included completing the front and back top rails and making the bottom plates that fasten the ends to the front and back .

The top rails needed to be transformed into the sleek shapes in the drawing. This meant making the under-hanging lip, adding it to the rail and the generating the sweeping curve of the rail top.

The underhanging lip is a 1/2″ thick semicircular segment which is then glued to the rest of the top rail. To safely and accurately make a shape like this you must start out with a larger piece, shape the edge and then rip it off.  Below you can see the stock being run through on the router table with a 1/2″ radius round over bit. The fence is set flush with the front edge of the router bearing. The fence is needed as the bearing of the router bit will not be landing on un-cut stock  and it provides the needed support for the cutting depth. The feather boards  help to both guide the stock and keep my fingers clear of the spinning router bit.

 

After the profile is cut with the router, it is then ripped off on the table saw.

This profile was the glued on to the top rail. You can see it as the bulge in the lower left of the rail as seen below. The drawing of the rail end was the printed out square with the end and with no perspective in Sketchup. This was then printed life size (which took several tries). The print out was the cut out and placed over the ends of the rails and the outline traced with a  sharpie.

The corners and excess were then saw off on the bandsaw and table saw. At this point the goal is to have a rough approximation of the curve which is ready for hand shaping.   The bandsaw with the table tilted offers a safer alternative to the table saw when there is a small land / support area under the base of the stock and the cut has no support directly underneath it.   Be careful here, greater overhang under the cut can fling the stock or break the blade if you lose control.  In retrospect a feather board behind the blade would have been a good idea here.

Now comes the exercise part.  There was a LOT of hand planing required to get to the final profile. Remember this is Oak.   It took just over an hour to plane the rails and another 1/2 hour of sanding and touch up planing.  I started with a #6 plane set for a fairly aggressive cut.   The shavings piled up quickly and my heart rate rose as well.  I think I was excused from skipping my usual workout on the elliptical (the shirt did not stay on long after this photo).

When planing a curve like this, you start out with the facets cut on the saws approximating the curve. With the plane, you basically bisect each facet, adding new ones and incrementally going from a rough set of angular faces to an ever better approximation of the curve. The sound of the plane and touch of your fingers guides where to make each cut, angling each one differently than the prior one.  After planing, then the sanding starts with 80 grit cloth backed paper on a long stick.

Side brackets

The next step was to start cutting the brackets which hold the end pieces to the legs. I wanted to minimize the visible hardware on the final bed, sacrificing a bit on having more hardware showing on the crib. The ends are held on with 12 gauge steel plate brackets (about 0.1″ thick) . The brackets are cut out with the plasma cutter (much more fun than a saw).

The brackets are then drilled to 1/4″ for the screws and then the locations are marked with a transfer punch. The holes are drilled and brass threaded inserts are screwed into the wood.  Below you can see the frame with the bottom bakets in place and ready to start making the top end brackets.

 

Crib – Headboard

What will become the headboard of the bed is the tall / wall side of the crib. This week we have sanded all of the legs and rails and spindles.

The headboard has three flat panels. They are glued up from two 5mm  (not quite 1/4″) thick sheets of oak veneer plywood.   The front facing side has the same quarter sawn white oak veneer as the dressers and the back side is  rotary cut white oak .  I did change form 2 panels to 3 to accommodate the size of the plywood off cuts from the dressers and in the end, I do think it looks better with 3 than with 2.

The panels were glued together with TiteBond Cold Press veneer glue and placed in the vacuum press to cure.   Vacuum time was 1.5 hours. They were then left in the bag for another 3 hours  and then removed and placed on stickers to dry further. This is critical. If you simply take the pieces out and lay them on a flat surface they will cup badly due to the moisture leaving faster via the uncovered top.  

The top rail assembly for the back was similar to the front with the dado (facing right) cut prior to assembly.

 

The Workmate is the handiest way to hold an assembly like this.  The top and bottom rails are placed first and the gap measured (at least twice) and then the length including depth of the dadoes is added prior to cutting all of the pieces to length. The dividers have tenons on the end and dadoes on the sides, so the panels are retained all around. The end gaps are 2″ to conform to safety standards.

Next comes test assembly of the footboard and shaping of the top rails

 

 

 

Crib – Rails and slats

Rails and Slats

Today we were mortising the crib side rails and slats. The lower rail mortises were done on the CNC  router.  Overall, there are 50 mortises to cut for the slats.

The front rails are 5″ tall and the end rails are and 6″ tall. So these had to be clamped upright to the  left pf the main work area on the router top. A new fence was made on the left edge of the work area to support the rails in the vertical position.  The fence was made from some 2×2 scrap stock. Once drilled and bolted in place, the router was used to cut the left face so that it was perfectly aligned with the router Y axis and exactly plumb.

As you can see clamping the ends is quite easy.  This is adequate for the crib end rails but not enough for the long front rail.

The front rail is about 53″ long and needs some support in the middle.  There is no good way to add a conventional clamp  as  are used on the ends.  At this time, the router does not have enough vertical travel to clear clamps placed over the top of the boards and there is always the fear of a crash with a misplaced clamp. So this was solved by taking a scrap of 3/4″ plywood and sawing it into a pair of wedges. These are placed between the stock and the side rail. A few taps with a hammer, and the wood is secured.

Here you can see the front rail clamped in place ready for the cuts.

Top end rail mortises

The top end rails need to be done conventionally with a plunge router and fence. However the start and stop points for each mortise need to be transferred to the parts.  However they are curved and there is a 6.5″ rise from the front edge to the back. Armed with a dimensioned drawing and a cutting mat, the parts were aligned to the grid of the cutting mat and a 1-2-3 block was then used as the vertical guide. A block of wood would work as well, but the mass of the metal block made things easier.  Here the leading edges of each mortise are being transferred.

The mortises now need the trailing edge marked. This is easily done by aligning one of the slats with the leading edge mark and then bringing the 1-2-3 block up to it and then making the mark.

The slats are 0.5×1.75″ and the corners are rounded over with a 3/16″ radius. This is done at the router table, which is an extension of my table saw.  Feather boards are placed to guide the cut (fewer ripples) and protect Teal’s fingers. After the photo Teal tucked the ties of her sweatshirt in.

Top Rails

The front and back top rails are curved as can be seen in the end view below. The rails start as a rectangular piece of stock 1.5×3″. 

The first task is to cut the tenons on each end. This is done at the radial arm saw with a dado blade.  An end stop is set for the length of the tenon and they are cut in 2 passes as you can see below where I am cutting the second pass.   Having the digital readout on the height adjustment greatly  speeds  up the setup.  The next step is cutting the bottom bevel which is at 38.5 degrees.

The bottom piece of the rail is 3/8 x 1 1/4″ and the mortises are again cut on the CNC router. However at that point the stock was left thick for added stability and rigidity and then after they were cut the stock was ripped to the 3/8″ final thickness.

Here the bottom piece is being glued to the rail. Note the off cut form the angle is being used to provide a grip for the clamps. It is lightly tacked in place with super glue (and some slipped).    This is another case where using many clamps with light to medium pressure works better than a few clamps with high pressure.

 

 

Crib – Construction Start

Return to the shop

The last few weeks were taken up with vacation and conferences. So there has been no progress on the crib. Teal and I had brought in the last of the wood from the shed, but it was not thick enough for this project and has to wait for another project.  This was the last of the Wisconsin Woodworker’s Guild Logfest hauls that I had set up to air dry. At its peak, it was over 1300 board foot of lumber,  which has now been reconstituted into many pieces of furniture for the family and friends.

Saturday

So yesterday we set off for Kettle Moraine Hardwoods which is our local lumber mill.  They had a nice selection of thick Red Oak (5/4 and 8/4 – 1.25-2″ thick) and we picked up some Hard Maple and an Elm slab for future projects, as well.

Once home, it was time to surface the boards on the jointer and planer and then cut them to rough length in preparation for sending them to the CNC router. At this point, there was a minor design change as the thick stock for the legs was completely cleaned up at 1.86″ vs the 1.5″ I had in the design. So we decided to go with thicker legs.  However, this leads to more work as I did not have a router bit that would cut deep enough, which will be detailed later below.

I fired up the computer for the CNC router and some problems arose. I had not used it for ~2 months and only had the windows 10 logo showing for 45 min. At this point, I rebooted again and it came up in a few minutes. However, Mach 4 which is the CNC controller software for the router had a whole series of errors when starting, and was unusable. Most of the plugins would not work. So I restored it from the backup copy, restarted the PC again and it started to work. However, in testing, many of the configuration parameters were missing including “little things” like the home switches and control for the spindle. Digging through my notes for the configuration values, I got it running again. Now, thoroughly annoyed, it was time for a reward of our home brew Imperial Stout which is now ready for consumption.

Sunday

After re-zeroing the CNC router it was time to set up the first part and make a test run.   The crib end top rails were chosen as they are the smallest parts and least costly in case of problems.  The 8/4 stock for the leg pieces was over $150. Making wach leg approximately $35-50, so I was not going to try those first.

So the stock is clamped on the CNC router and you can see my “cheat sheet” where I have printed out the outline and marked the distances from the near end for the various clamps.

Next you can see the cut under way. At this point I have left off the dust shoe, so there are chips EVERYWHERE.

Now the top rail is completed and vacuumed off.

Another shot in progress, looking down with the dust shoe in place.

With the top rails successfully completed, now I move on to making the legs.  One of the front legs being cut.  In order to prevent the part moving I used not only the 5 clamps shown but also some small strips of double stick tape which help reduce the part sliding under load immensely. With this CNC router, the limitation on cutting speed is not the machine, but the ability to clamp the work and avoid it slipping under the cutting forces. Cutting speed was 100 inches per minute, 18,000 RPM at 1/4″ depth of cut with a 1/2″ 2 flute carbide end mill.

Set up for one of the rear legs – 43″, 110 cm long. Not your ordinary tabletop CNC router. . Note the beautiful curl figure in the stock. Later, you will see how I make this “pop” when finishing.

The other back leg ready to cut

This is why I use wooden clamps. Just a minor nick this time.   These are shop made on the CNC router.

Another look at the scale of these cuts and the finish off the CNC router. This was without a reverse last pass as I don’t (yet) have a router bit long enough to do so and that would look even better.

Here are the legs off the CNC router. As you can see I was not able to cut all of the way through. The depth of cut was limited to 1.5″ based on my largest end mill / router bit. So now they need to be run through the band saws and then flush trim routed.  The end curves are too tight for my big band saw (24″ with 1/2″ resaw blade ) and need to be run through my small one (12″ with 1/4″ skip tooth blade).

Bandsawing the excess off the legs on the 24″ band saw.

Flush trimming off the excess. The holdfast works great to clamp irregular stock like this. Teal also assisted in taming the work. The Oak is a bit unruly.  I often had to reverse directions to minimize tear out.  This means taking climb cuts which try to throw the work and router around.

 

First dry fit test. Not bad.  The cross pieces will be flush with the upper / inside edges of the legs in the final assembly.

The CNC router made this work feasible in a few hours. Otherwise I would have had to make templates, band saw to size and flush trim through several steps. I had done a similar project with curved legs – Elyse’s Sleigh Bed.  This is MUCH easier and with less chip out to fix.

Movies of the CNC router at work

The first part  is without the dust shoe (chips Everywhere) and the second part is with the dust shoe in place (much neater) .

Crib design – final

Completed renderings

Today was Jessie’s baby shower. So I had a lot of opportunities to show off the design and gain some consensus on undecided points by 3 generations of mothers.

This image hides the front of the crib, so you can have a clear view of the back panels. 

The are 2 back panels each 1/2 ” thick. They are simple flat panel and frame construction.  The stiles are 3/4 ” thick.  The flat back panels were a hit especially by those such as Kelly who have had to clean up after the ejection of “processed formula”.

The slats are 1.75″ x 1/2″ wide with 3/16″ radiused corners. I need to remember to order some new router bits for the roundovers and the mortises…

The front and back lower rail bottom edges were lowered 1″ to allow for greater overlap with the mattress sides when it is in the bottom position (on the floor.

The inside of side rails will now be flush with the inside of the legs. This will mean there will be one screw per leg visible in the end. I am still not sure if they will be inserted from the top or sides. That will have to wait until I have the parts in hand.

Inside dimensions were double checked against the standards. I want the mattress to fit properly and not have too much of a gap.

Having the riser under the top horizontal rails will also allow it to have the mortises cut accurately without having to worry about how to jig up the curved front and back top rails.

The idea of doing some inlay work was rejected.  So much for Isla’s palm trees.

Assembly preview

As you can see above, all of the joints have a reveal. So this can be a “finish first and glue up later” process for the finishing and assembly as I have done on the craftsman style beds. This saves a LOT of time sanding, cleaning up glue squeeze out and removes worries about glue blotches. I use pigmented and thickened epoxy for the glue up. Additionally the longer set up time with a slow curing hardener allows for the alignment of the many parts that are in each assembly.

Below is a preview of this finish and assembly technique from prior projects.

Over one hundred spindles laid out and ready for finish coats. Racked out and ready for the spray, turn, spray, turn, repeat routine.Spraying on the final coats on an unseasonably  warm March day for Teal’s and my bed.Dry fit assembly and masking the joints on Elyse’s bed.

Glued up and inserting the tenons. Note the chocolate color of the epoxy.

Glue squeeze out prior to clean up with a plastic scraper and denatured alcohol.

Cleaned up after final paring of the last of the squeeze out 8 hours later. Most is wiped up early but there are some areas that it is better to wait and pare off later.  At this stage the epoxy is sort of the consistency of cheddar cheese and cleans up nicely. It is not yet rock hard as it will be at about 24-36 hours. Final joint appearance.