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Purple heart bed for my daughter

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Blog entry by Chelios posted 01-10-2011 05:29 AM 2231 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the best things about being a woodworker is making the furniture for your own house. You get to decide just exactly what you want and you know how it is made and you know just what corners were cut while making a piece. Hopefully not a lot, but sometimes it is necessary.

I set out to make a bed for my 2 year old daughter and as I was choosing materials and thinking about the design, I wanted to make a simple but robust design. Something that looks good because it is simple is a quality I admire in other people’s work, so that is what I was going for. I also like solid furniture.

So after thinking about it I decided to go with purpleheart. It was a little expensive but really not much more than walnut would have been. I thought the purpleheart would be appropriate color for a girls bed and as the bed ages, I think the patina will change along with my girl growing up. That way when she is older it probably won’t look that bright purple it has on now. I used cherry for the head rest to cut back on cost as one really doesn’t see these pieces when the bed is made and maple slats. The rails also have cherry for support.

Here are some of the photos. Here is the bed frame assembled and sanded to 180.

So far I completed the assembly and final sanding. I used m&t and some rail hardware I found on rockler. The set was 20 bucks but I thought it was the best because it screws on the side of the rail rather than on end grain. I still need to finish it but since my daughter is already using it, I will take my time to decide what finish to use. So far I assembled it and let it rest for a couple of weeks for the dark purple tone to come back and I put on one coat of tung oil. I plan on putting on another coat in a couple months and then one or 2 coats of poly.

Here are some shots with a coat of tung oil.


I would like to know what do you think about the finishing approach. The bed is really solid and sits well in her room. I will post the end result as a project.

My daughter is really liking it and a funny thing is that once I put her in it she won’t climb out in the mornings unless I go get her. I think she just hasn’t bothered to figure it out after 2 years of the morning routine with the crib from which she couldn’t climb out of.



6 comments so far

View twokidsnosleep's profile

twokidsnosleep

1063 posts in 1639 days


#1 posted 01-10-2011 06:51 AM

It is wicked good, absolutely stunning!!
I plan on making my 7 yr old a nightstand first and then a desk that will incorporate purple heart
Thanks for sharing this

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 2394 days


#2 posted 01-10-2011 05:10 PM

VEry cool. As soon as I started reading I was thinking that I should post about how the color will age with time and that it could be nice because an older kid might prefer purple undertones as opposed to a bright purple, but you already know what you are doing (-:

It looks great. No matter how many times I see it, the thick purpleheart stock still always looks out of this world to me.

View Paul2274's profile

Paul2274

327 posts in 1778 days


#3 posted 01-10-2011 06:51 PM

Wow! I’m jealous. That’s a lot of purple heart!
Great project.

Paul

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

567 posts in 1732 days


#4 posted 01-11-2011 03:19 AM

Thanks all! I have learned a lot on this project and it was my first ever bed. Purple heart is a good wood to work. Having said that, the next big furniture piece will be different because it is a lot of work moving those large pieces of dense hardwood. Also I wonder how it will hold up over time…I am thinking about those 12/4 foot rest legs. I hope they dont develop cracks with time as they have a large end grain area exposed.

Here is a question for you guys, If that ever happens (cracks on end-grain) how would one fix that?

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 2394 days


#5 posted 01-11-2011 04:19 PM

I’m sure there is a better way than this, but one idea would be to slice a kerf along the bottom and squeeze a piece of wood that runs perpendicular to the grain that is trying to split. That may help hold it together, but it’s tricky because sometimes cross-grain glue ups can actually case more damage.

Just one more note, I’ve never seen purple heart check. I’m not saying it can’t/won’t, but I haven’t seen it yet.

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

567 posts in 1732 days


#6 posted 01-13-2011 06:10 AM

HokieMojo…good idea. I will keep it in mind and watch out for those checks. Thanks

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