Ben’s Maple Bed
By Ben Minshall from Mason, MI
Added on August 16, 2012
We recently finished a major remodel of the master bedroom and bathroom in our house and needed some nice new furniture to accompany the new room. (To the shop!!) At first I considered just a headboard, but wanted to push my ability and do a complete freestanding bed.
The design of the bed came from the “Classic Bed” plan sold by Rockler (http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?Offerings_ID=10721) with a few notable deviations. The first is that the plan calls for glue-ups of 3/4 stock for all of the large pieces. I wanted to use all solid wood without glue lines, so that meant working with a big slab of 12/4 hard maple for the posts which was quite a strain on both my tools and my back. I also had to devise a router jig (pictured) to make mortises for the slats into the 6/4 curved upper rails in the headboard and footboard. Once the rail was clamped into the jig, I was able to use a 1/2″ spiral bit in the plunge router with an edge guide to produce smooth-edged mortises that were square to the rail. To match the mortises, I milled the slats to just over 1/2″ thickness and gave them a full round-over using a 1/4″ bit on each side. I could then finesse the fit of each slat with sandpaper to get a good tight fit. A big thanks to Marc for his advice during that part of the construction!
I used Marc’s Simple Varnish Finish process, including watching the “review” section of the DVD the day before I started to apply varnish. There are three build coats of GF Arm-R-Seal gloss with a final thin top coat in satin. Once the top coat had cured for a couple days, I lightly rubbed the surface with #0000 steel wool, mild soapy water and buffed with a cotton towel to a mild sheen.
I’m proud to say this bed was a family project. The quilt shown in the final picture was designed and made specifically for this bed by my talented wife Sarah http://hiptopiecesquares.avenueb.org/.