June 22, 2017

Walnut Queen Bed - Part 4 - Complete

Persistence pays off. After nearly 3 years I'm excited to share the final update on the bed project.

After getting the new shop setup and heated after our move I finally shifted focus back onto getting the headboard assembled. I was happy that the main slab of the headboard had remained fairly stable but it wasn't perfectly flat so I resorted to a combination of a cabinet scraper, my block plane "mini-smoother", a card scraper, and some 220 grit to smooth the faces.

The edges were much easier in comparison and a few swipes with the smoother took care of the bottom while the spokeshave did a great job smoothing and evening out the curve at the top. This is also another great example of the versatility of the Roubo workbench... I can't imagine how I'd tackle tasks like this without it.

I gave the legs an initial smoothing prior to assembly but recognizing I'd need to touch up the faces after sawing the drawbore pegs flush I focused mostly on the side faces and the end grain of the angled tops which were much easier to work prior to assembly.

Once again, the drawbore pegs had picked up some moisture and were a bit to big to fit easily into their associated holes so I resorted to the food dehydrator "mini-kiln" discussed in the last update. Once the pegs shrunk back down I started assembling the headboard with clamps, liquid hide glue, and the drawbore pegs. Given the width of the main slab I applied glue to only the center mortise an tenon and left the drawbore pegs do the work on the outer joints to allow for seasonal wood movement I'm not sure if the heated drying made the walnut a bit brittle or the fact that I had used all of the best pegs in the footboard glue-up but I had a few issues with broken pegs as I drove them home this time, this despite having the assembly clamped up for extra insurance. Luckily I was able to drive the broke pegs out with replacements. 

Once the glue had dried I cut down the pegs with a flush cut saw using a business card for a bit of extra insurance to avoid marring the face of the post.

A few swipes with the smoother brought the pegs perfectly flush and smooth with the post.

One of my secondary goals for this project was to try out spray finishing so after touching up all the surfaces with the smoother and some 220 grit I setup a cheap harbor freight spray gun and did some practicing on some scrap.

Once I was somewhat comfortable with the gun I rigged up the pieces of the bed outside and sprayed on a coat of garnet shellac.

Overall the spraying went reasonably well and I really like the color that the garnet shellac added to the walnut. My lack of skill with the spray gun led to a couple runs that I had to deal with. Luckily shellac is fairly easy to repair and rework so after going through more than a half gallon of denatured alcohol, some very careful 400 grit sanding, and multiple touch up coats of heavily diluted shellac I was finally able to even out the color enough that it was difficult to find the challenged areas.

I was initially considering using another coat of two of amber shellac as the final top coat but given the challenges I had to work through with the garnet coat I decided to play it safe and put on two coats of satin Arm-R-Seal instead.

After much debate and input from the WoodNet community I decided to use the surface mounted bed rail hardware from Woodcraft. I ran into some issues with two of the cheap Menards #10 screws snapping off but with them breaking a half inch or so into the post I was able to drive in replacements at an angle.

Overall this hardware was easy to install and it seems fairly sturdy so far.

And here is the finished project shot that has been long in the making. Matching nightstands are now fairly high on the to-do list.

While this project did take much longer than I anticipated the timing did work out fairly well as I finished up the bed just in time for our 5th "wood" wedding anniversary.