New Bedroom #3: Some Assembly Required

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Blog entry by Dave Durham posted 04-09-2009 06:48 AM 1761 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: How long do I have? Part 3 of New Bedroom series Part 4: End of Phase 1! »

Alright, we’re close to the end! Finished the last of the glue-ups. I know, it looks like an ad for Bessy. Each of the four posts had the corbels attached:

Next came the staining. This is the first project I’ve ever done where all parts were completed then stained completely unassembled. All of my other projects have had the majority of the piece assembled before staining. Here I went with Minwax Red Oak #215:

I started with all the spindles. This took a couple of hours. I used a foam brush and placed them on little makeshift rails to keep them off the ground while drying:

The rest of the staining went quickly by comparison. I usually just layout a 9’x12’ 2mil tarp and dispose of it when done:

Here are the head, foot, side and top rails after staining. The side rails have metal on the ends (side bed rail fasteners) and screws holding up the lip of the rail where the slats will lay:

I took each of the spindles and segregated them by color – there was a slight variation after staining. this allowed me to group the lighter ones for the footboard and the darker ones for the headboard. Keep in mind the color differences where minor. Here is the bottom footboard rail with the first few spindles attached. They went in with a few taps of the dead blow hammer. I made 83 spindles and didn’t need to use any of the 3 spares. I was sure I’d break at least one, but fortunately all joints went surprisingly well. Here they are starting from the center of the footboard.

As each spindle went in I began to see the bed forming. It sounds funny, but until this point it was just a collection of parts. But like magic before my eyes I started to see a piece of furniture.

Here is one of the details that I obsessed over in the original design. The spindles were originally going to be 3/4” x 3/4”. The width of the mortised rail is 3/4” and that would have placed the spindles flush with the front and back of the rail. I decided I wanted to have a slight lip instead of flush. I came to that conclusion while looking closely at the computer model. It’s one of the reasons I model everything first. This allowed me to reduce the depth of the spindles from 3/4” to 5/8”, giving me a 1/16” lip in the front and back:

Here’s a peek at the fully assembled footboard. I’m using a strap clamp to hold it tight while the side mortise and tenon joints soak up the glue.

The top rail is attached at the end posts with a vertical biscuit. This allowed me to keep to my promise of not using any metal in the headboard and footboard (except for the 2 side rail fasteners).

Tomorrow it’ll be time for Polyurethaning. The next post should have the finished bed. Thanks for your time.

-- Dave Durham - California - see me at

7 comments so far

View Vincent Labreche's profile

Vincent Labreche

19 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 04-09-2009 08:14 AM

I’m currently looking at building a bed with the same design.
Did you buy pre-milled lumber or did you get them all true yourself?

View Dave Durham's profile

Dave Durham

61 posts in 3353 days

#2 posted 04-09-2009 09:48 AM

I bought pre-milled lumber from Lowe’s. It’s all Oak. I do have a planer and jointer but I don’t use them very often.

-- Dave Durham - California - see me at

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3447 days

#3 posted 04-09-2009 11:37 AM

Looks great….good job…I like the color…very nice.

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#4 posted 04-09-2009 01:15 PM

Dave, this looks really good. As I have often said I am a fan of mission style furniture. It is a lot of work to build one of these (the thrill of cutting all those m&t joints wore off quickly, I am sure) but I like the reveal that you decided to add. It gives the bed a nice visual detail.

Nice job so far.

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

View Dave Durham's profile

Dave Durham

61 posts in 3353 days

#5 posted 04-10-2009 08:28 PM

Thanks Todd and Scott. It’s sooooo close to being done. I need to paint the bedroom today so I have a place to put it. We’ll see if I have the strength.

-- Dave Durham - California - see me at

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#6 posted 04-10-2009 08:50 PM

NICE, thanks for sharing this in the post. looks like quite a project.

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

View Dave Durham's profile

Dave Durham

61 posts in 3353 days

#7 posted 04-12-2009 11:23 AM

Thanks Lev,
As I finish up the bed I remind myself that it’s just the first of several pieces for the bedroom. No rest for the weary.

-- Dave Durham - California - see me at

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