Olivia’s Bed – Headboard and Footboard

The head and footboard are constructed from solid 8/4 red oak for the legs and arches. The cross bars are 6/4 thickness.  The panels are nominally 1/2″ thick.

Panels

The panels in each are laminated form 2 sheets of nominal 1/4″ plywood. The pretty quarter sawn oak plywood is only 1/4″ thick and I was afraid that eventually the kids would put a foot through it so I laminated a lesser grade of oak plywood onto  it for the sides that are not readily seen (facing the mattress and the wall behind the headboard).

Panel with glue applied

The panel pieces are 26.5″ wide and 13-17″ tall. The pieces are rough cut to size and glued with Titebond Cold Press glue. This glue is designed for vacuum pressing of veneers.  On the work surface, I have piled multiple layers of scrap kraft packing paper. This way I can pull off a sheet after glueing up each panel. This avoids accidentally getting glue drips on the veneer faces and either having a splotch or inadvertently gluing the stacked panels together. I use a notched spreader with its finest v-notches for spreading the glue (barely visible in the lower right corner).  The front and back of each piece are taped together with some blue masking tape.

Next, the pieces are placed in the vacuum bag. Given that I am using a 4×4′ bag I need to stack the pieces, otherwise there is not enough room in a single pressing for all of them. I place the pairs with the lesser quality veneers facing each other. I usually also place a piece of paper between the pieces so they don’t get stuck together and pull of bits of veneer (and I forgot this time). This is a budget vacuum bagging setup with home made bag and used surplus vacuum pump (and the rig is due for an upgrade) .

Side rabbet plane in use

With the panels glued up and trimmed to size the footboard can be assembled. There was a bit of trimming of the dadoes that the panels fit in. The plane shown is made just for this task.   This is my 3rd one (Veritas Side Rabbet Plane) and works FAR FAR better than my old Stanley (very had to adjust and would not hold) or the Woodcraft / Wood River (crappy blades).   This is a particular tool where going for a good one saves a LOT of frustration.  Trimming the sides of the dadoes is never easy but this tool does it well.

Footboard Assembly

Once everything is dry fitted, the parts are sanded to 220 grit. Note that as I designed this, there are offsets or reveals at every joint. This means no having to plane and sand the joints flush. This is a big time savings and I think it also adds visual interest.  It is also a necessity if using a finish first / glue second technique as I have done on other beds and Isla’s crib.  This bed is conventionally done assemble first and finish second as I wanted the arches for the headboard to be the same thickness as the legs.

 

 

Footboard clamped up

The footboard assembly is pretty straightforward.The full size footboard can be clamped using a combination of the workbench end vise and pipe clamps. It also needed the diagonal clamp to square it up. Even though the joints looked tight it was about 1/8″ off top to bottom.

Headboard panels

The headboard panels need to be trimmed to fit. The arches were marked out with a batten so there is no template. The easiest thing to do is to use the arch to scribe the cut line.  A fence was set along the bottom edge of the panel at twice the dado depth. This way the arch edge could be traced onto the panel from underneath.

Headboard panel ready for tracing
Traced arch outline on panel

The arch was then cut on the 12″ bandsaw with a 1/4″ skip tooth blade.  There was a bit of fitting to do for the panels.

Headboard assembly

The headboard was then glued up starting with Titebond 3 for the stretcher tenons and the dadoes for the panels. Once the stretchers were loosely assembled the panels were inserted. For the arches,  tinted and thickened epoxy for the arches.  The epoxy was used to gain some extra strength and make up for some slop in a couple of the biscuit slots.  The top 3 decorative spacers are simply set in their (tight) slots with no glue.  This was a 2 person job with Teal helping as the gluing assistant.

While this was curing, I glued up the first of the base cabinets. There are 2 of these and they are primarily held together with biscuits per the FWW article.  

There was a bit of clean up on the headboard arch joints. The ends of the top arch were purposely about 1/16″ long and needed to be planed flush with the legs. The bottom arch needed a slight amount of planing for a perfect match to the leg posts.