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Question concerning Beech Wood and using it in a bed Im building. (pictures inside)

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Forum topic by ScottKaye posted 03-27-2017 12:42 AM 359 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ScottKaye

545 posts in 1787 days


03-27-2017 12:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bed beech movement

A friend of mine owns a Horse Farm and asked me to build her two year old daughter a “Pony Bed”. It resembles a set of jumps equestrians use in English style riding. The structure of the bed (posts and frame) are made out of Soft Maple. I got a good deal on some Beech Wood @ $1.75bf and planned on using it for the mattress support slats and also the decorative fence pickets on the foot board as well as the side wings on the headboard. I have never worked with beech before, but I understand it has a tendency for movement which makes sense when you consider biscuits and Festool Dominos are made out of the material. i.e. they swell with moisture. I originally had planned on just gluing the pickets to the cross rails on the foot board or possibly even screwing them from behind. I gave it some thought and I have pretty much settled on cutting shallow (1/8” – 1/4” deep) dados into the cross rails (top and bottom) that will accept each individual picket. I think this is the best option to keep movement down to a minimum.

As far as the support slats go, Im going to dowel them into place (i.e. a dowel that is glued into the side rail slat supports (if you will) then the slats with matching dowel holes can be set in place (not glued) on top which will do two things for me. The first is to keep the slats movement to a minimum and second will be to greatly increase the rigidity of the bed between the side rails. Its extra work, but I think its worth it.

By the way, the bed will be spray lacquered white with purple stripes along the 2” diameter dowels that are meant to be the jump bars.

Am I on the right track here guys or am I just wasting my breath worrying about the Beech moving? Im starting to get a little leery about using the Beech because I can picture it becoming warped or wavy over time

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"


4 replies so far

View Bob5103's profile

Bob5103

80 posts in 667 days


#1 posted 03-27-2017 01:55 AM

Looks like a fun project. I made my work bench out of euro beech. I live in the PacNW and all of the wood I use stays in the 10-12% range for moisture content. My bench has shown no signs of movement in the last 2 years, it was nice to work with, using both hand and power tools. I would not hesitate to use for the bed.

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ScottKaye

545 posts in 1787 days


#2 posted 03-27-2017 01:40 PM

You right! Beech is used in work benches all the time. I have nothing to worry about. Thanks for pointing this out. I believe this wood was sourced from Canada, so not euro beech but it really shouldn’t make a difference.

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2364 days


#3 posted 03-28-2017 03:30 AM

I use (American) beech pretty regularly – 300bf or so in the last 6 months. I’ve hit two boards that just wouldn’t mill flat, but other than that I’ve had no issues. Once it is dry and flat, it seems to stay that way.

It is a fairly easy wood to build with. Works well with power and hand tools. I’ve not encountered any reaction wood when ripping, unlike maple. Sands or planes to a nice, smooth surface and takes finish well.

The overall wood movement is a bit more than maple, but you’d never notice it with what you are building.

Also, why use dowels to locate the support slats? Screws would be much simpler, just drill pilot holes…

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View ScottKaye's profile

ScottKaye

545 posts in 1787 days


#4 posted 03-28-2017 10:32 AM

Thanks for the reassurance Mark. Ill move along with out any second thoughts. As far as using dowels instead of screws – I’ve had plenty of beds over my lifetime that have used screws to hold the slats in place. They work great initially, but take the bed down and set It up a few times and the screws tend to lose their holding power as the holes strip out, the support strips split from over tightening etc, etc. Pick your gremlin it will happen just by looking at it.

Scott

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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