Bunk Beds: XL Twin over Queen; Cherry and Walnut

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Blog series by Lee Barker updated 02-01-2012 07:06 PM 20 parts 48266 reads 13 comments total

Part 1: Milling leg stock

12-27-2011 12:50 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

Legs will be just under 4” square, three boards per. When you stack beds, you want the legs to look like they can take the heat.Glue up process:

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Part 2: Mortising for the rail to head/footboard hardware

12-27-2011 12:59 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

I made this fixture by ripping a 3/4 wide strip of Baltic to define the width of the slot, then reglueing it together. I used a 3/4 collar and a 5/8 bit. In addition to mortising for the hook to enter the leg, one also must mortise below that point for the hook to move toward the floor for complete engagement. I discovered that laying the plate in one way, marking, then the other way, and marking again, made a perfect outline of what needed to be removed. I used the drill press....

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Part 3: The rails

12-27-2011 01:04 AM by Lee Barker | 2 comments »

Once I milled the rails, I added accent strips top and bottom. The strips are overwide, trued with a flush trim router bit. I revamped the template to fit over the ends of the rails. Somwhere along in here I milled the top and bottom rails for the heads and feet. By now you’ve surmised that there are actually two sets here—two queens, two twins.

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Part 4: Rail ends mortised for hardware

12-27-2011 01:08 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

The horizontal configuration was easier than I thought it would be. Last time I put the rails in the vise vertically and stood on the work table. Not good; too much noise and dusty in all the wrong places.

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Part 5: Marking the leg sets for consistent color and flatgrain/edgegrain orientation

12-27-2011 01:13 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

I milled 16 legs, 8 of each length, and one spare each. I marked them earlier in sets and face orientation, but now it gets real critical to pay attention for the other mortises. I used the Jet benchtop mortiser for this—1/2 inch

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Part 6: A mistake and a fix

12-27-2011 01:15 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

I laid out all the head/foot mortises and cut them all. What I hadn’t paid attention to was that on the foot, the footboard only goes partway across—then it is open for the ladder access. Oops. So I scoured around for the leg cutoffs and fixed ‘em!

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Part 7: "Not present on picture day"

12-27-2011 01:17 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

Remember that from your High School Annual? Well, I forgot to get pictures of cutting the tenons on the head/foot rails. Did it on the RA saw, then ripped the top and bottom on the bandsaw with fence and stop, and hand cut those pieces out.

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Part 8: A look at the tenons and the process of cutting mortises for the staves

12-27-2011 01:21 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

I used the Laguna mortiser for cutting these mortises. They’re 3/8 wide and 15/16 deep. There was a lot of heavy math trying to get a similar look in the two widths of bed—a problem you’d not face on a traditional bunkbed. I finally decided it was an opportunity to call in the walnuts. So the upper head is ideal numbers but on the queen the two center staves are walnut, and somewhat wider. I think the look will be grand.

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Part 9: Part stacking again.

12-27-2011 01:22 AM by Lee Barker | 2 comments »

Bottom rails done; top rails awaiting their turn.

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Part 10: Sanding stack, rail ledgers and rail hardware mortises

01-04-2012 12:28 AM by Lee Barker | 1 comment »

This is all the parts except…..the 16 legs and the upper bunk ends where the ladder goes: I designed and added the rail ledgers seen here: Here some of the legs have been mortised to accept the hooks from the rail half of the hardware: That was done with the 1/4” bit on the hollow chisel mortiser. Then the sanding…......................................................

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Part 11: Help arrives! And those big ol' chamfers where the mattress corner is

01-04-2012 12:35 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

My son-in-law Patrick had some time, I needed the help. He’s a great hand, very adept, nice to have around. We got everything sanded that even looked like wood. While he was doing that, I rigged a setup to rout the chamfer on the inside of the legs. I made stops, then clamped two legs together. My system of marking the legs helped guarantee the chamfer would appear on the right corner. I did it in two passes with the stepper on this plunge router. Then I did the r...

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Part 12: Some Assembly Required. Whole lot, actually!

01-04-2012 12:39 AM by Lee Barker | 3 comments »

Here are the upper bunk ends, with access for the ladder: Three of the upper bunk ends: We got one of the queen ends glued up and clamped: Three more ends, then it’s add the walnut cap, bore for the locating pins, assemble them and construct the as-yet-undesigned ladders. Closer!

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Part 13: Ends and Rails complete: We have Framage! Plus souvenirs.

01-05-2012 01:41 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

All eight ends are glued, cleaned up and ready for the cap, which will be walnut. We put one together with plywood dummy caps so we could balance an upper end on it to see if 4/4 was thick enough for the cap. I think so. Two qualified critics happened to be in the shop at the time we were doing this, and we had a fascinating discussion about the “look of strength” and how important it is. There was universal concern that the upper leg resting on a space in the lower end was ...

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Part 14: Ladders in a few easy, ahem, steps.

01-17-2012 11:44 PM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

There’s a whole lot of sanding even though there are very few parts. I managed to design in a whole much of little inside corners. Patrick spent several hours over the sanding table, detailing out the ladders.

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Part 15: Orphan Corbels (2)

01-17-2012 11:48 PM by Lee Barker | 1 comment »

Where the cap stops for the ladder access to the top bunk, the cap looked like it was on 2/3 of a post. Well, it was. So we fashioned this little corbel that solved that “unfinished” appearance problem. This was the sidegrain face of the legs (as opposed to the flat grain) and Patrick even lined up the gluelines. Looks very cool, but you have to look real hard to see it! It’s obvious now, but throughout we used cherry plugs on the walnut and walnut plugs on the ...

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Part 16: Ladders step by step

01-21-2012 12:38 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

The ladders stand off from the ends of the bed, enough so toes won’t bump the cap on the foot of the bed. Steps are in dadoes, relieved so they’re a little proud on the outside. Here’s a foot assembly, dummied up:

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Part 17: Safety Rails

01-21-2012 12:42 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

Pretty simple and straightforward: They need to slip over the rail of the upper bunk, be strong, and that’s about it. So I added little walnut ends to them so there would be three things: slip, strong, spiffy. This image shows the rails ready for finish. This is a foreshadowing of the next blog entry which is titled, as you likely guessed, “Ready for Finish” I sense your breathless anticipation, so I’ll get right to it.

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Part 18: Ready for Finish

01-21-2012 12:46 AM by Lee Barker | 0 comments »

It’s a shopful, as you’ll see in these images. Finish is 50% Natural Watco, 50% Sherwin Williams satin polyurethane varnish. I really like this combination of products. It took two of us four hours to put on the first coat. There are a lot of surfaces there! We were also chasing the occasional heretofore invisible glue stain, the random ding, the “How’d we miss this?” planer chatter, that sort of thing. Next coats will be significantly less time...

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Part 19: Coat #1 at last!

01-21-2012 12:49 AM by Lee Barker | 3 comments »

...the rest of the day and the weekend off!

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Part 20: Delivered, Assembled, and Not Yet Photographed

02-01-2012 07:06 PM by Lee Barker | 1 comment »

Rented a Youall truck for the 20 mile journey. Total cost, $74, including 24 blankets. We’re dealing with stuff that is finished every side, and 22 pieces of them to boot! It was good to be able to strap stuff to the walls and bulkhead. All went well and the clients are very appreciative of the work that went into these. “We’re going to have to put better lighting in here! Pictures when I can.

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