Headboard for Levi

Daughters always find projects for Grandpa to do. This is the saga of a headboard for Levi. Originally she wanted to use reclaimed pallet lumber, but pulling the rusted spiral nails out of pallets yielded diminishing returns. So I decided to use a 5 foot by 3 foot piece of 1/2 plywood as a substrate and attach contrasting wood species in a herring bone pattern. I started by laying out the pattern with pencil and square on the sized plywood sheet.

Daughters always find projects for Grandpa to do. This is the saga of a headboard for Levi. Originally she wanted to use reclaimed pallet lumber, but pulling rusted spiral nails out of pallets yielded diminishing returns. So I decided to use a 5 foot by 3 foot piece of 1/2 plywood as a substrate and attach contrasting wood species in a herring bone pattern. I started by laying out the pattern with pencil and square on the sized plywood sheet. I decided to make the board widths 3-1/8 inch wide to maximize some old redwood siding pieces I got from Grandpa Jake.

I started with the oak strips toward the middle of the piece. I carefully positioned the pieces using framing squares and clamps. The first row had to be right, since all the other rows would be aligned next to it. I used lead ingots to hold the boards down, and drilled and screwed up from the back side to secure the glued boards in place.

I started with the oak boards toward the middle of the piece. I carefully positioned the pieces using framing squares and clamps. The first row had to be right, since all the other rows would be aligned next to it. I used lead ingots to hold the boards down, and drilled and screwed up from the bottom side to secure the glued boards in place.

Each row was stained before being attached because some boards received a different stain than their neighbors. I found that was easier to drill the two pilot holes from the top of the plywood sheet before placing the boards because it was easier to determine where to place them. The whole assembly was elevated above the work surface so I could then counter-sink the holes and drive the screws in from below.

Each row was stained before being attached because some boards received a different stain than their neighbors. I found that was easier to drill the two pilot holes from the top of the plywood sheet before placing the boards because it was easier to determine where to place them. The whole assembly was elevated above the work surface so I could then counter-sink the holes and drive the screws in from below.

Here we are just over half done. Notice that the adjacent rows are different thickness to give  the pattern some depth. I used a 45 deg chamfer bit in the router table to give a consistent edge. It also hides inconsistencies if any of the boards were not perfectly flat.

Here we are just over half done. Notice that the adjacent rows are different thickness to give the pattern some depth. I used a 45 deg chamfer bit in the router table to give a consistent edge. It also hides inconsistencies if any of the boards were not perfectly flat.

All board pieces were cut a little long so they hung over the edge. Before adding the pieces on the other side of the beginning row, I trimmed all the boards on the just completed long side while I had the straight plywood edge on the other side to place against the table saw fence.

All board pieces were cut a little long so they hung over the edge. Before adding the pieces on the other side of the starting row, I trimmed all the boards on the just completed long side while I had the straight plywood edge on the other side to place against the table saw fence.

A 1-1/2 inch oak frame was added on the edges after completing the pattern. Glue was applied to the edges, then the oak boards were positioned to stand just a bit proud above the thickest boards in the herring bone pattern. Wood species used in the pattern were oak, western red cedar, white pine (stained grey), redwood, and aromatic cedar.

A 1-1/2 inch oak frame was added on the edges after completing the pattern. Glue was applied to the edges, then the oak boards were positioned to stand just a bit proud above the thickest boards in the herring bone pattern. Pipe clamps and brads were used to secure the trim until the glue dried overnight. Two coats of oil-based polyurethane were applied, with a light sand in-between coats. Wood species used in the pattern were oak, western red cedar, white pine (stained grey), redwood, and aromatic cedar.

Two 2x4 screwed on the back side of the headboard at each end to position the head board 2 feet above the floor. Two holes were drilled at the bottom of the 2x4 to attach them to the bed frame with 5/16 inch carriage bolts.

Two 2×4 screwed on the back side of the headboard at each end to position the head board 2 feet above the floor. Two holes were drilled at the bottom of the 2×4 to attach them to the bed frame with 5/16 inch carriage bolts.

Here you can see the colors a bit better.

Here you can see the colors a bit better.

Nightstands for Zack

These nightstands were made to compliment the woven headboard Zack and I made (see Woven Headboard).

These nightstands were made to compliment the woven headboard Zack and I made (see Woven Headboard). Notice the drawer fronts.

I like to start on the most critical part first. For this project it is the legs. I first made a full size template of the leg and annotated it with all critical dimensions. This will come in handy when we make the third part of the set - blanket chest at the foot of the bed.

I like to start on the most critical part first. For this project it is the legs. I first made a full size template of the leg and annotated it with all critical dimensions. This will come in handy when we make the third part of the set – blanket chest at the foot of the bed.

Multiple legs were laid out at one time on 8/4 oak to reduce waste due to the curved foot. Zack cut them out on the bandsaw and the belt sander was used to give them their final shape.

Multiple legs were laid out at one time on 8/4 oak to reduce waste due to the curved foot. Zack cut them out on the bandsaw and the belt sander was used to give them their final shape.

The drill press with 3/8 inch forstner bit was used to remove the majority of the waste in the leg mortises. These were then cleaned up with a straight bit on the router table. Finally the top and bottom of each mortise was squared up with a chisel.

The drill press with 3/8 inch forstner bit was used to remove the majority of the waste in the leg mortises. These were then cleaned up with a straight bit on the router table. Finally the top and bottom of each mortise was squared up with a chisel.

All frame parts were made from red oak. Rear, front, side and bottom stretchers tenons were all cut with the same table saw fence setup.

All frame parts were made of oak. Rear, front, side and bottom stretchers tenons were all cut with the same table saw fence setup.

The frame part faces were then rough sanded on the belt sander and finish sanded to 220 grit with an orbital sander.

The frame part faces were then rough sanded on the belt sander and finish sanded to 220 grit with an orbital sander.

The bottom of the nightstand was made from 3/8 inch thick oak re-sawn from 4/4 stock and planed to size. They fit into a 3/8 inch wide dado in the side stretchers. They were sized to fit loosely to allow for expansion across the grain. Foam rubber insulation was tucked into the dado at each end of the stretcher to keep them from rattling and still allow for wood movement.

The bottom of the nightstand was made from 3/8 thick oak re-sawn from 4/4 stock and planed to size. They fit into a 3/8 dado in the side stretchers. They were sized to fit loosely to allow for expansion across the grain. Foam rubber insulation was tucked into the dado at each end of the stretcher to keep them from rattling and still allow for wood movement. The slats were pre-stained to ensure that adjoining edges received stain.

The front and backs were first glued up and allowed to harden overnight. Then the completed front and back were connected with the side parts and the bottom slats put in place.

The front and backs were first glued up and allowed to harden overnight. Then the completed front and back were connected with the side parts and the bottom slats put in place.

Pipe clamps were used to pull all the joints tightly together.  Glue was used sparingly on the tenon faces and the mortises were cut slightly deep to allow space for excess glue.

Pipe clamps were used to pull all the joints tightly together. Glue was used sparingly on the tenon faces and the mortises were cut slightly deep to allow space for excess glue.

All visible surfaces were stained with minwax red oak to match the previously finished woven headboard. Stain was applied with a brush, then wiped off after 15 minutes.

All visible surfaces were stained with minwax red oak to match the previously finished woven headboard. Stain was applied with a brush, then wiped off after 15 minutes.

The most time consuming part of the project was building the drawer fronts. First the 1/2 inch thick drawer faces were laid out with a weave pattern to locate the location of the through holes which were drilled with a 1/2 inch forstner bit.

The most time consuming part of the project was building the drawer fronts. First the 1/2 inch thick drawer faces were laid out with a weave pattern to locate the location of the through holes which were drilled with a 1/2 inch forstner bit.

The scroll saw was used to make the rectangular through cuts.

The scroll saw was used to make the rectangular through cuts.

Chisels were used to carve the relief areas to simulate the weave pattern. Thin strips were actually woven the same size to provide a visual model for the front face of the drawer.

Chisels were used to carve the relief areas to simulate the weave pattern. Thin strips were actually woven the same size to provide a visual model for the front face of the drawer.

The drawer was sized for two fronts, a blank front and the carved front. With the blank front portion of the drawer inserted into the drawer opening, the carved front was glued to the blank front to ensure an exact fit within the drawer opening. The top drawer rails are visible in this photo. They keep the drawer from tipping when it is slid out. The bottom drawer rails were made similarly. Both were glued to the sides of the frame. Screws were also used on the top rails since the top was attached to them from underneath.

The drawer was sized for two fronts, a blank front and the carved front. With the blank front portion of the drawer inserted into the drawer opening, the carved front was glued to the blank front to ensure an exact fit within the drawer opening. The top drawer rails are visible in this photo. They keep the drawer from tipping when it is slid out. The bottom drawer rails were made similarly. Both were glued to the sides of the frame. Screws were also used on the top rails since the top was attached to them from underneath.

Here are the two nightstands with the tops attached. The two screws at the rear of the nightstand fit though slots in the top drawer rails. This allows for wood movement across the grain. Oak is an open grained wood. Five coats of polyurethane were applied, then aggressively sanded. This brought surface almost level, since the open grain portion of the top was below the closed grain portion. Another three coats were applied, then another aggressive sand. A final coat was applied and orbital sanded with a 1800 grit pad. This left a glass smooth water-proof finish.

Here are the two nightstands with the tops attached. The two screws at the rear of the nightstand fit though slots in the top drawer rails. This allows for wood movement across the grain. Oak is an open grained wood. Five coats of polyurethane were applied to the top, then aggressively sanded. This brought the top surface almost level, since the open grain portion of the top was below the closed grain portion. Another three coats were applied, then another aggressive sand. A final coat was applied and orbital sanded with a 1800 grit pad. This produced a glass smooth water-proof finish.