Here’s an outline drawing I did for one of the headboards.
The post caps, curved top rail, & varying stile widths help break up the straight lines from my original design. Thanks to my wife and a few other LJ’ers for the ideas. (I’m definitely not a right-brainer.) The stiles fit into mortises on the top & bottom rails.
I didn’t foresee any problems at the time. Do you?
I cut the top and bottom headboard rails to size, cut the bottom rail tenons, fitted them to the post mortises, and marked the curves. I ripped the stiles & sent them through the planer for final sizing. So far so good.
How to cut mortises for the stiles, though? Hmmm. Here’s an idea: cut 2.5 inch deep mortises in top rail, cut curve with the bandsaw, clean up mortises, fit stiles, done. This was a GREAT idea, until I learned that the mortising machine clearance was only 4.5 inches.
FRACK. Now what? We came up with four options:
(1) Rip the top rail lengthwise, down the center, cut the deep mortises, & glue back together. Status: rejected; didn’t want to spend the time to glue it back together & clean it up. Too much work.
(2) Cut curve on bandsaw first, then mark & drill mortises. Status: rejected; seemed overly challenging, end of rail still wouldn’t fit under mortiser.
(3) Skip the curve and just use narrower rails. Stauts: rejected; didn’t want to make the design any more bland.
(4) Drill out mortises with forstner bit, cut curve on bandsaw, then hand chisel to finish. After drilling out 2×2.5 inch deep mortises and attempting to clean them up manually, I decided this was WWAAYY too much work. Status: Rejected; schedule constraint. During this process, I re-learned how to re-install the chuck into the drill press.
(5) This was my wife’s idea (she’s not the engineer): Cut off the top 2 inches of the rail and make a smaller, third rail. This way, the the curved rail will fit under the mortiser. GENIUS; this was the fix. To cut the deep mortises, I found it much easier to clean out most of the material using the drill press / forstner bit & use the mortising machine for the final cut. Status: approved.
For the bottom rail, I cut a 0.25 inch dado along top edge to receive the stile tenons. This was much easier than cutting a bunch of tiny motrises. We aligned them manually during glue-up to ensure correct spacing.
Only after I was satisfied with the design & how everything fit, I cut the rail tenons and mortises in the posts. Here’s a partial dry fit.
One note regarding the timeframe for this project: My wife and I built a king size bed frame in the same manner (bed bolts / solid headboard) a few years ago; we started in June, finished in December. For this project I needed to have two frames built, finished, & assembled in about three weeks.Lessons Learned:
- Start with 4 (not 6) inch top rails
- Cut the curve first, mark & cut mortises after. This way, there is less material to remove, less cleanup work, & more time to do other things
-- Knight of Sufferlandria 2015