Loft Bed (OP College Style) #2: Got Wood?..

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Blog entry by VeganThug posted 11-12-2009 11:10 AM 1696 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Introduction... Part 2 of Loft Bed (OP College Style) series Part 3: Finished with an Hour to Spare... »

Got Wood?

yeah, i got wood (and no it’s not because i’m glad to see your teenage daughters). i drove to kona (the other side of the island) to pick up the hem-fir. i had to go to lowes because home depot didn’t have any untreated, construction grade 2×6’s. i now have a workbench, so here’s a couple pics of my unimpressive, yet functional workbench and another one of most of the project wood:

workbench front

workbench side


the day after i bought it, i noticed some holes in the wood that look like they’re from insects. i’m assuming that the wood is not infested and the bugs that may have created the holes were evicted during the kiln drying process:

bug hole

i’ve hand sawn a few boards and such, but mostly i’ve been practicing techniques and tuning equipment. my first step was to practice drilling holes for my bolts and screws. i realized quickly, that this was not going to be as simple as i had planned. using the advice of a lowe’s employee, i tried to select the lighter boards, which he claimed had a lower moisture content, which means less warping and shifting after the bed is put together. these lighter boards seemed to be more misshapen than the heavier boards. i decided to assume that the extra warping is not so bad because that means that these boards have sewn their warping oats and when i take them home with me they’ll be more likely to commit to the other boards without straying. getting to the point about drilling into this wood, it cracks and splinters very easily and i’m guessing that the lower moisture content encourages this. as you can see here, screwing w/o pilot holes is not an option:

split wood

brad point bits splinter; even the countersink bit splinters unacceptably. i’m sure that once the finish is on, no one will notice, but once i do something, i try to do it right. when looking for drill bits, the same guy at lowes redirected me to the forstner bit. i saw that it was plenty expensive, so i was weary that he might be trying to gouge me ( i didn’t read about that specific bit on wikipedia before i went to the store). i looked at the bit and observed that it was designed to cut the edges first, which is how a brad point is supposed to work, so i made a decision and bought it. when i came home, sure enough, i looked it up and it’s described as a cleaner bit than the brad points. allegedly the exit hole is clean too, but the forstner bit i bought couldn’t exit without splitting even when another piece of wood was clamped under it. the washer should cover up what the planing doesn’t remove. i could drill half way, then flip over the board and connect the hole from the other side, but that’s twice as much drilling; it doesn’t seem worth it.

i find it interesting that the western wood products association says, “Hem-Fir is additionally preferred by many builders because of its: resistance to splitting in nailing and screwing; ability to hold nails and screws securely; ease of sawing without splintering;..” i find it difficult to imagine a wood that is less resistant to splitting and splintering.

after going to home depot, then calling a couple other stores, i ordered a 5/16” forstner bit to use as a countersink for my #8 and #9 deck screws. i also ordered a 1/8” brad point from i’m curious if this bit, which other customers claim to be very sharp, will make a cleaner hole than the home depot bits.

all that time and effort to simply drill a clean hole. while practicing with the drill, i put a couple holes in the scrap wood i practiced finishing. here’s the results:

sansin test

i was very disappointed to witness my $90/gal finish chipping like plastic. it took a couple days to put it together, but i later realized that the finish i have is a slightly more environmentally friendly polyurethane. it’s absolutely nothing new or unique. it seems to be regular water based polyurethane without the flammable thinner in it. i pride myself on my misanthropic cynicism, so i am not at all amused with myself for naively falling for their corporate propaganda. the voices in my head won’t let me hear the end of it for quite some time.

i’ve practiced some planing too, but it’s bed time so nighty-night.

-- don't be offended if i'm a little brash; it's only because i...on second thought, be offended.

2 comments so far

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3287 days

#1 posted 11-13-2009 04:13 AM

You must live Hilo side. Wow. The big island has a home depot? Freaks me out. Things have changed a lot.

Looks like you are having fun.

View VeganThug's profile


6 posts in 3110 days

#2 posted 11-18-2009 12:43 AM

yup. hilo. the rainy season has officially began, so i’m planing as it rains. it’s taking way too long to plane the boards, so if i don’t improve, i’ll have to cut out some of the details.

-- don't be offended if i'm a little brash; it's only because i...on second thought, be offended.

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