Bed Construction #1: Starting out in woodworking

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Blog entry by Vincent Labreche posted 11-30-2009 07:45 AM 3791 reads 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bed Construction series Part 2: Building phase OVER »

Hi, So here is my attempt to creating a queen sized bed for my Girlfriend and I.

Greatly inspired by beautiful beds I saw around LJ, I generated my adaptation of the design using CATIA v5 3D modeler. around march/april 2009
Bought several tools to start up a workshop from april to june
Got the materials in June.
Paused from june to september to learn how to use my tools on other projects (workbench / few things for the apartment) and to settle in my new appartment
Started actively working on the project in october,
Overall, I could not get that much shop time… Was out of the country for ~9 weeks from end of july to mid-november…

All dimensions are overdesigned as I love big bulky long-lasting stuff.
The wood is Jatoba and silver maple, which gives a very nice contrast.
So, without any further details… Some pictures.

What the project looks like in the 3D modeler:

Milling the big 8/4×8” x 8’ Jatoba boards down to 1.5”

Glueing up 3 1” pieces to create the posts

More milling

Creating the tenons on the railing

Fitting the railing on the foot piece

Mortising on the transversal pieces for the foot piece

Filing the tenons to fit in the mortises

A view of the chamfered transversal board for the foot piece

Had to use dowels on the foot piece, due to a miscalculation of the required length… Too short railings = more painful fitting work

The dryfitted foot piece. Decided not to glue the railings in the end. Only the transversal pieces to the posts.

The milled lumber pile slowly transforming into a nice piece of furniture….

Routing a chamfer on a big transversal piece

Routing chamfers on the railings

Sanding the chamfers

23 pieces of railing for the head piece completed (chamfers only)

Marking the location of the mortises for the transversal boards of the head piece

A friend of mine helping out with the routing of mortises for the head board

Routing shallow mortises for the bedrail hardware! Quite a fancy position…

The first assembly of the bed… In the street

Another view of the assembled bed. You can see I screwed up the position of 2 railings on the head piece… Call it inexperience…

In the next post, the remaining of the things on the TODO list:
-Add the detail boards on the top and side of the head and foot piece
-Fit the center secondary rail
-Fit the laths on the side rails
-Apply the finish to the entire thing. (will probably use danish oil clear finish 3 applications)

Thanks for dropping by, please feel free to leave any comments…


8 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 11-30-2009 07:54 AM

Wonderful bed great job it’s beautiful.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#2 posted 11-30-2009 01:44 PM

This is going to be a gorgeous bed when it is completed. I enjoy this style of furniture but the thrill of cutting all those m&t joints wears off after the cutting the first few. And you chose a nice wood combination since jatoba and maple contrast nicely with one another. I am looking forward to seeing the finished project.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3230 days

#3 posted 11-30-2009 03:33 PM

Very nice, now get that out of the street before someone takes out your hard work ;) Also, when there’s a mattress on the bed, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to see the snafu on the rail spacing.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#4 posted 11-30-2009 04:16 PM

vincent ,
this looks great !

can you cheat the two slats ,
by making them just slightly narrower
and offsetting the tenons on them ?

or just one middle slat wider ,
with some attractive detail to it ,
like maybe a cut out heart at the top ?

when i do this type of work ,
i just dado a grove all the way across ,
and make a filler that can be cut into short spacers ,
to go in between the slats .
if they don’t come together right ,
i can make the blocks longer or shorter ,
over say 6 or 10 spaces to make it come out right .
1/32” over 8 slats gives you 1/4” to fudge with ,
and is not noticeable .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View jaydub's profile


63 posts in 3109 days

#5 posted 12-04-2009 04:48 AM

Wow – nice work, Vincent! You clearly jumped into the game with both feet – good for you. Not sure how you manage a shop in an apartment, but it shows the devotion. I worked in a friend’s basement who had nothing other than a chopsaw and router for my first few months while we were in an apartment. Once we got a house (some unfinished space for a shop in the basement was a major criteria for me!) I dove in to tools like you have.

Just wait until you have a dedicated space of your own. If you’re doing work this nice now…


- jw

-- happiness is a sharp plane iron

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 12-04-2009 04:53 AM

very cool! nicely done.

do you guys sleep outside on the street though? lol ;)

happy holidays!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Vincent Labreche's profile

Vincent Labreche

19 posts in 3350 days

#7 posted 12-05-2009 09:03 PM

@jaydub: My shop isn’t in the apartment, I managed to obtain the right to use my parent’s garage as a workshop. (see my workshop section) Although this is quite a nice alternative to having my own shop, I can’t wait to set everything up in my own place.

@ PurpLev: The bed isn’t in the apartment yet, it is still at my parent’s house. I’m gonna move it as soon as it is completed.

I’ll add another entry very soon. The building phase is mostly finished.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3668 days

#8 posted 12-08-2009 01:38 AM

Great looking bed.

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