194 – Platform Bed (1 of 4) – The Footboard

Video - March 5, 2013

This project is a heavily condensed version of the Dogon Platform Bed Guild Build. It’s a fast-paced look at how the project went together and gives you a broad overview of the techniques and tools used. What’s different about the Guild version? Just about everything! In the Guild, you’ll have access to 6.5 hrs of detailed woodworking content featuring extensive discussions on the bed design as well as the shared experience of working with a client. So if you want to check it out, you can do so here.

Stock Breakdown

jigsaw-bladeEver rough board that enters my shop is broken down with a jigsaw. I just find this easier and safer than any other method available. Not only does this allow me to take the tool to the wood, instead of the other way around, it provides a safe and kickback-free cut. Using a nice aggressive blade is the key to making this process quick and easy.

Cut & Glue Back Together

gluing-footThe massive footboard of our platform bed is going to be made from three footboard pieces glued together in a big sandwich. Each footboard piece is cut from a single board in order to maintain grain continuity where the feet meet the rail. Instead of using something like a jigsaw to cut out the a big notch, we’ll be slicing the boards up and gluing the feet back on. This yields much better results and gives us nice crisp inside corners. After being cut to size, the feet are glued back onto the rails using glue and Dominos. The Dominos are really only there to help in alignment and you could substitute biscuits, dowels, splines, or use nothing at all. The long grain glue bond is certainly strong enough for the job.

footboard-glueupAfter the feet are glued back on to each piece, we can glue the three footboard pieces together. Careful attention must be paid to the grain patterns of the end grain otherwise things will look wacky. Essentially, we want the grain to be harmonious so if possible, the grain should all go in the same direction. The video goes into a good amount of detail in terms of what we’re aiming for as well as what we’re trying to avoid. This glueup isn’t all that different than the methods used for building a workbench top. As long as the pieces are milled flat, they will take on the appearance of one giant slab of bubinga after the glueup.

End Grain

rotexOne of the unfortunate side-effects of this type of glueup is the massiv amount of end grain we need to clean up. If you have ever made an end grain cutting board, you know just how stubborn end grain can be. So I recommend employing whatever it takes to get the job done, be it a plane, a sander, or what I decided to use: a Festool Rotex sander.

The outside endgrain of the footboard is actually the easier part to deal with. The real challenge lies in cleaning up the inside end grain. Fortunately, this area really won’t be seen all that often so it isn’t necessary that it be absolutely perfect. I had some slight discrepancies between my pieces and I found a chisel worked really well for paring away the high spots.

Finishing Up

finished-footboardThe entire footboard is then planed and sanded to about 120 grit. I don’t like sanding to my final grit this early in the process since I still have a lot of work to do. We have some mortises coming up very soon! So we’ll sand it thoroughly, stopping at 120 grit, and then we’ll set the footboard aside.

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