Easy splines for mitered corners (biscuit joiner method)

I’m currently working on two projects: the nightstands to match the bed I recently made, and also this desk that was commissioned for some friends.  I am not going to share the entire build process for the desk (I think they’d appreciate their desk being unique), but I wanted to share an easy little workaround I made for a spine jig.

“What is a spline?” you may be asking.  Well, when you make mitered corners for any sort of box, the corner ends up becoming two pieces of end grain that are joined together.  End grain glue ups are substantially weaker than long grain (face grain) glue ups.  How do we improve that?  Well, one way is to add a spline.

For a picture frame or small box, you can accomplish easy splines by creating a sled for your miter saw that you set the frame in which will cut a slot perpendicular to the miter.  For a big desk like this, though, it becomes a lot harder.

One solution is to use a biscuit joiner on which you create a jig that attaches to the joiner.  I really didn’t want to spend a ton of time building that.  All I needed was a perpendicular reference point; I could use the fence on my joiner to adjust the height, and use the alignment points to make sure I got the corner on center.

The solution?  Use two cutoffs to create a reference edge!

Since these are cutoffs from the stock I used to make the mitered edges, the height is exactly the same, making clamping a breeze.  And, since I used my miter sled to cut them, I know they’re accurate 45 degree angles.  I just plunge the biscuit joiner in at it’s deepest setting to cut the slot.

I ran a strip of 1/4 inch walnut through my planer until I got a snug fitting piece that would slide in the slot.  Glue liberally, let them dry.  Then, use a flush cut saw to cut off the excess, sand, and finish!

Completing the Mystery Project

When we left off, I had just rough-cut and planed down some of the persimmon. To get a truly flat, squared piece of lumber, I had to go to the local Woodworker’s guild where I am a member and use two of their machines: a jointer, and a planer. The jointer is a power tool that lets you take a piece of wood and make the face side perfectly flat. You then lay that against the fence and square up the edges. From there, you run it through the planer with your flat side down, and it makes both faces of the board parallel. You can absolutely do this with hand planes, it’s just a lot more time and effort. I didn’t get any pictures of the process, because frankly that was my first time using those power tools and I don’t feel particularly qualified to teach them. But, that’s part of why I joined the guild; a member was able to help me use them.

Next, figure out the dimensions you’d like for your mallet. That’s right, we’re making a mallet! This is about 5.5″ long by 3.5″ tall. The thickness of the mallet will be determined by the thickness of our stock. After surfacing, my pieces of persimmon came to 5/8″ thick. I decided to laminate three together for a total thickness of roughly two inches.

What we want to do at this point is create a slot for the handle to go in, and we want to taper it slightly so we can use a set of wedges to hold everything together. Using a 2 degree angle, cut two smaller pieces so that (on the bottom) they leave a 1.5″ centered slot. At the top, because it’s tapered, it will be slightly larger.

Glue those two pieces on and then clamp the heck out of them.

Add a final piece on top once that glue has dried, and this is what it should look like:

Take the head, and cut a 2 degree angle on each side. Make sure the narrower part of the mallet is the bottom.

Now to start on the handle. I took a nice piece of 8/4 ash and worked it down to 1.5″ x 1.25″ x 14″ long. You can change the length to suit your tastes, and we’re going to shape the handle down so don’t think I’m crazy when you pick this up and it feels way too thick.

On the 1.25″ side, we want to mark a tenon that is 5/8″ wide and centered. Make the tenon as long as the height of the mallet head, plus 1/2″ or so.

From there, make a rough outline of what you want the handle shape to be. Make sure it remains at 1.5″ at the top for at least an inch down the handle. Using a jig saw, band saw, or coping saw, cut this profile out. I did this before cutting the wedge slots because I didn’t want to damage the tenon after it’s cut.

Cut two slots, about 5/8″ in from the front and back of the tenon, and 1/8″ thick. Stop 1/4″ before reaching the bottom of the tenon.

Now, taking a piece of the persimmon, cut a wedge that is 1/8″ at it’s narrowest and slopes 2 degrees, making sure it is about an inch longer than the mallet height.

Apply glue liberally to the tenon and wedges, then insert the handle and slowly hammer the wedges in, making sure to hammer both at the same time.

Use a cutoff saw of some sort to cut the wedges and the top of the handle off, and use a block plane or sander to smooth the top.

Handle roughed in before more sanding.

If I’d had a spokeshave, I would have put a lot more time into this handle. But, it’s pretty comfortable to hold and considering I sanded it using a dremel, I’m fairly pleased.

Make sure to brand it!

Finally, apply at least two coats of a penetrating finish like tung oil or boiled linseed oil, and let it dry! This was a gift for a friend, and I forgot to take a picture before my wife wrapped it, but the finish will deepen the color and give everything a really nice feel.

Interim mystery project!

While I’m planning out and starting on the nightstand set to match the bed, I’m taking on a small project in the interim. It will be made with persimmon wood, an incredibly hard wood from the small fruit tree native to the U.S. and a relative of ebony. Can you guess what it is?

I bought this in rough sawn for from a guy I found on Craigslist who owns a tree cutting service and mills some of what he cuts. Persimmon can be very difficult to find, and the trees are small. As you can see, there’s not really a straight reference edge on this, so we will need to make one.

Lay a long straight board on it so that you maximize the workable area and minimize waste. Then, using the circular saw technique we used for the bed, saw this line.

Now we have a straight reference line. Run it on your table saw to make both sides parallel. I also used my mitre saw to chop the bit of rot off this side.

Now to begin planing! You can do this by hand, but I really just did enough to clean it up. I intend on taking it to the Woodworker’s guild shop and running it on a jointer and planer to true everything up.

Stay tuned!

King Size Bed: final steps and finished product!

We’re almost there, just time to put the finishing touches on.  The first thing I did was connect the headboard, footboard, and siderails just to make sure everything worked as planned.  I had to use a flat head screwdriver on a couple of the metal brackets to bend them out a bit more, but otherwise everything worked really well.

Adding the center support, at this point, is easy.  Measure from the top of the siderail to the top edge of your poplar board; that’s tells you how low your center support needs to be.  Mine was 1.75″ from the top.  Since my siderails were 20″ off the floor, I know that my center support needs to be 18.25″ up from the floor.

These center support brackets from Rockler worked really well, with slight modification.  The screws included are woefully inadequate.  I purchased some 1″ #6 wood screws instead, which work with the bracket without interfering with the connections.  #8 were too big.

The bracket accepts 2x material, so I took a yellow pine 2×6 I had sitting around and ripped it down to match the width here.  Mark 14.25″ up from the bottom of the footboard (since the footboard sits 4″ off the ground) and attach it on center.  You can see an extra set of holes on mine…well, I mistakenly measured from the top of the headboard to the top of my slat spacers (pictured below) the first time.  Learn from my mistakes!

Once that’s together, you want to create two support legs to go under your center support.  Use whatever you have in your shop.  I decided to take some more yellow pine, screw two pieces together to add some thickness, and then notch in a spot for the center rail.  The measurement for the leg height should be the same as how high your center bracket is; 18.25″.

Consider where the majority of your “load” will be when placing the legs.  Very little at the foot, more at the head and center.

Now, purchase around 13 1×4 boards and use these as support slats.  No special wood here, just Home Depot “white wood” which means either spruce, pine, or fir generally.  The board pictured above is poplar; I used it because I had extra.  Cut these to match the width between rails (77″ in my case) and then glue in some spacers between them to make sure they don’t move.

Another lesson to learn, add some room between the spacers and the board as just a little bit of expansion security.  I didn’t, but I also don’t think it’s going to be a big issue in this application.

Lay all the slats on the bed like so:

If you were using a box spring, you wouldn’t likely need the extra slats, just the center support.

And here’s the finished product!

I have so many people to thank for help on this project, not least of which my wife and children for giving me time to work on it when I needed to.  And for the rest of my family. all those tools you’ve been giving me as gifts for years were put to good use!

Alder lumber was purchased from St. Charles Hardwoods.  The plywood was from U-Pick Hardwood Lumber, who was the only one that could do such a small order of half inch alder plywood in my area.  BIG thanks to the Reddit r/woodworking community who really helped me plan a lot of these joints and fielded many questions.

Adding the cap pieces and hardware

For those following the blog, I apologize in advance for the flurry of posts you’ll get notified about. I was in the zone on working on the bed, so the blog is catching up to the production.

I was a little intimidated when I was planning out the cap piece that was going to go on this head/footboard. At first blush, it sounds simple. Just glue the piece on and clamp it. While that would probably work just fine, there is a slight chance it could cause issues later. I have two kids, and kids love to hang on things. If they were to hang on the lip of it, the leverage might be enough to pop the glue. So, after seeking some advice on reddit, I settled on using glue and wooden dowels. The dowels would help provide some rigidity to the cap, while the glue does most of the work.

Start by cutting down some 6/4 lumber. I chose to go 4.5″ wide, so I would have a half inch overhang on the front and back of each board. I also decided to make it 83″ long, one inch longer than the width of my head/footboard. Again, it’s just for aesthetics.

I went and purchased this handy kit from Menards, though I’m sure you can find identical kits elsewhere. The goal was to drill two holes, centered on the cross beam, 9″ in on each side from the outside post. Then, on the cap piece, measure 10″ in on each side (9″ plus the 1″ overhang”) centered, and drill another hole. It’s VERY important that these holes be drilled square; if they’re angled at all, the dowels won’t set right. My hands aren’t that steady, especially with a power drill, so I bought this. If all goes well, the board should sit symmetrically.

Hole on cross piece.  I purposefully left some of the wood unstained so the glue could adhere properly
Hole on cap piece.  Note that I left some of the wood unstained for glue to adhere

Then, measure in about 26″ from each side, drill a hole, and insert the metal pointer piece pictured below. When you place the cap on the dowels in the first two holes, tap the cap down gently and the point on this will tell you where your last two dowels should go.

Once everything is laid out, add a generous amount of glue to all eight holes, press the dowels in, run a line of glue on the top of the board, and put everything in place. Use two ratchet straps to pull the cap down onto the board.

At this point, it’s time to add the hardware that will hold everything together. I decided to purchase two sets of these hardware kits from Rockler. This will allow us to disassemble the bed, and will also provide a strong connection for all the piece and make sure everything stays square. Yes, I know, they use screws. I really tried not to use screws! But this hardware is specifically made for this purpose, and we’re even doubling up the amount of hardware, so I think we’ll be OK. You’ll also need to purchase this to help attach the center support. On a king size bed, this is 100% necessary, otherwise the slats will sag far too much. I’m not sure on a queen or full size, but you could potentially avoid using that center support. I’ll tackle this in the next (and final!) post in the king bed series.

Start by taking the rail hardware, and attaching it to the siderails. I put a 1/8″ inset on the top bracket, just to ensure it wouldn’t be visible. Make sure when you line it up that you won’t be drilling through a dovetail.

Place the second one somewhere below it, above the bottom dovetail. Drill 1/8″ pilot holes, then secure the brackets using 1″ #8 wood screws. I used Spax brand for these, but I really like the Rockler ones as well. Spax can be found at Home Depot. Just don’t go cheap here.

I cannot emphasize enough how much I love having both a drill/driver and an impact driver in my shop.  If you’re looking to get one, I recommend the kits.  I was able to have the drill setup with a drill bit, and the driver with a square bit.  I didn’t have to switch tools, and the impact driver set the screws really well.  I don’t get any sponsorship from anyone, so this is an unbiased recommendation, but I really like my Rigid set.

We know the top of the rails will be 20″ off the ground. Since the top bracket is set down 1/8″, we know that on the headboard and footboard the top bracket will need to be 19 7/8″ from the bottom of each post. The space between the posts on the boards is 74″ wide. A king bed is 76″ wide, so I decided to make the total width 77″ wide. That means we need to place the bracket on the posts so that the outside edge is 1.5″ off from the inside edge. See picture below.

Use the same method to screw in the bottom brackets to the posts. Where the brackets attached near a tenon, I used 1 1/4″ #8 screws. If there was no tenon and depth wasn’t an issue, I used 1 3/4″ screws.

Here’s what it looks like assembled, without the slats:

Staining and Finishing

Now that we’ve finished the headboard, footboard, and the side rails, we’re almost at the finish line. It’s going to be VERY tempting to take short cuts at this stage, but I want to urge you not to. A poor staining and finishing job can really lower the look of the piece. After all the hours you’ve spent building this bed, make sure you put in the time to make it look right.

The first step to any staining and finishing project is to sand the wood. You want to start sanding at 120 grit, then move to 220. You don’t really need to go any higher. I really like using a power orbital sander; you can get these really cheap from Harbor Freight. They’re quick, and consistent. Sand until all pencil lines, splinters, etc. are removed.

Next, tape off any of the tenons where we will be applying glue. Glue won’t stick well to stain and poly, so we want to leave these raw. We’ll come back and clean up the stain in spots as necessary.

For the stain, I used Bartley Gel Stain in Brown Mahogany. This was my first time using a gel stain, but I really liked it. Alder can be a very blotchy wood when stained, as the natural sugars dissolve in the solvents of the stain. The same is true with pine, to an even greater degree. I could have used wood conditioners and then stained, but gel stain was a much more efficient option. The stain stays on top of the wood, rather than penetrating, so it doesn’t blotch in any significant way.

Since my hands were covered in stain, I didn’t really have a way to get pictures.  A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE STAINING:

The solvents in the stain and polyurethane are very, very flammable.  When you’re finished staining and finishing, each and every time you finish up you need to make sure you dispose of the rags in the proper way.  If you ball them up and leave them to dry, you are asking for your house to burn down.  DO NOT DO THIS.

It’s not hard to take precautions against this, and I don’t mean to scare people.  If you don’t feel confident using oil based stains, use water based stain.

Wear disposable rubber gloves, and follow the directions on the can. Essentially, wipe a nice even layer on the wood, then using a dry, lint-free rag, buff the stain lightly. Do this on one side, let it dry, then do the other. Unlike our inspiration plans, we’re going to stain all the surfaces, visible or hidden. The stain and poly are going to help protect the wood, and it’s going to look more like a craftsman piece of furniture if you don’t leave unstained areas on the alder. The only place we’re not going to stain are the slats and slat supports.

For the finish, I chose to go with Minwax Wipe on Polyurethane in Clear Satin. You could use gloss, too, if you’d like a shinier finish. Wipe on poly is essentially diluted polyurethane that you apply with a lint free rag. The benefit is that it is much less susceptible to showing lines or imperfections since you apply very thin layers instead of brushing a coat on. The downside is, it will take 2-3 times as many coats as standard polyurethane.

What I did was stain and then apply three coats of wipe on poly before gluing the pieces together. After everything was dry, I glued up the pieces, making sure to apply glue to all the tenons and a spot of glue in all the grooves to keep the plywood from moving substantially. I wanted to apply a little bit of pressure to the wood to keep the joints snug during glue up; the most efficient way to do this was to use ratchet straps that I keep in my truck for securing loads down. They worked great!

After glue up, you’ll have a few spots to touch up the stain on. Just tape them off, stain, then poly a few times.

Now, after the final cap piece is attached (next post!) we want to add our last few layers of wipe on poly. It’s important at this point to take some 400 grit sand paper, and using a hand sanding block lightly sand the surface. This will remove all the dust nibs and slight imperfections without removing the finish. DO NOT use a power sander.

Now, add one more coat of poly, let it dry, then sand with 600 or 800 grit sandpaper. At this point, you should barely see any sanding lines, and that’s the idea. Do one final layer of poly. I stopped at five total coats.

Creating the siderails

Now that the headboard and foot board have been assembled, the only thing left to make is the side rails. We’ll be applying the same basic panel design, but with a twist. To begin, cut four pieces of 6/4 lumber to 3.5″ width, the same dimension as the rest of the boards.

The total height of each rail will be 16″. The length of a king size bed is 80″, but I want to leave a little room to make sure sheets and bedspreads can be tucked in (when I make the bed every other month) so I’m going to make them 81″ long.

To get to the 16″ height, we’ll need to subtract out the width of the top and bottom board for a total of 7″. That means our three vertical pieces will need to be 9″ tall, plus 1.5″ to account for the two, 3/4″ dovetails. So, cut 6 pieces of 3.5″ thick lumber to a length of 10.5 inches.

Here’s a visualization of how the pieces comes together (sans paneling, you know how that works by now!).

Joining these pieces will require sliding dovetails. Why use this joint instead of tenons again? Well, The bottom and top cross piece on the head and foot board don’t actually bear a ton of weight, and where they DO it’s all being applied through the tenons down into the posts. Since the tenons go through the post, we don’t have to worry about downward pressure separating that joint.

On the side rail, however, the downward force definitely could separate a simple mortise and tenon over time. So we’re going to use a router to make sliding dovetails.

Start by routing the same 1/2″ groove in all 10 pieces (the four 81″ pieces and the six 10.5″ pieces). Then, swap in a dovetail bit that is 3/4″ wide at it’s widest point. I bought this one. If you use this bit in particular, make sure your router has a 1/2″ chuck.

The two center posts will get mortise and tenon joints in the same way as the head and footboard; the side dovetails will keep the whole thing together, and there’s no way to make a sliding dovetail in the middle of the board.

On the long pieces, we want to hold the groove-side down and route the dovetail in 2.75″. Use the painters tape trick we used on the foot board. Go VERY slow. This is a big bit, and there’s no way to pre-route anything, so take it easy. It should look like this when done.

Next, you’ll want to stand the 10.5″ piece on its end grain, and route a dovetail into it, allowing it to slide into the top and bottom rail. It should look like this:

Make sure to practice this on some scraps and get everything very fine tuned before you route it. The tapered nature of this bit means it’s very hard to just make adjustments and redo the dovetail. Here’s a look at how those ends will slide together:

Sloppy, but it holds tight! I’ll do better next time.

This next step will vary greatly depending on what kind of bed you have, so I’ll lay out the principals and you’ll have to use some judgement. We’re going to glue and screw two support pieces onto the side rails; these pieces are what the slats will rest on that hold the bed up. We have a 12 inch thick memory foam mattress, which does not use a box spring. So, in my design we will be utilizing 4/4 lumber slats spaced 3″ apart to support the memory foam. If you look at the original inspiration plan, they put this support rail much close to the bottom of the side rail. Why is mine higher? Without the box spring, our bed would be sitting under the top edge of the side rails. So, if you use a box spring, just place this strip on the lower board.

When screwing this piece in, we want to use a piece of strong, sturdy lumber. I chose poplar, in part because I already had some in the house. We want to avoid drilling into the sliding dovetails, because the screws will inhibit natural wood movement on that joint. So, I decided to make the poplar strip 1.25″ wide, set it basically flush with the bottom of the top board, and drill and screw through the top 1/2″ of it using #8 wood screws from Rockler.

But wait!!!! You thought I hated wood screws, didn’t you? Let me explain: my two major complaints were that pocket screws would constrain natural wood movement, and wouldn’t provide enough strength in this application.

I’m not worried about wood movement in this application, because the two pieces I’m joining are being joined with the grain running the same direction. Wood also doesn’t really expand much along it’s length, so there are not going to be any issues here. In the inspiration plans, a lot of times the boards are being joined with grain running perpendicular between the two pieces. That can cause issues, as both boards will want to expand in different directions.

As for strength? The poplar board has been glued to the alder along its entire length, and it’s a face-grain to face-grain glue up, which will be really strong. The screws, then, are almost just little clamps. The majority of the strength here is coming from the large glue surface. Wood glue is much stronger than you’d think! However, end-grain to face-grain glue joints (like some of the ones in the inspiration plan) are not very strong.

Important note: Do not glue the joints together before staining and finishing the wood. We want to make sure we get the stain in all the nooks and crannies, and if we glue first, the glue might make the stain look blotchy.

Here’s how it should look (after staining and finishing, we’ll get to that!).

Building the Headboard

As you can imagine, the process for creating the headboard is identical to making the foot board, but the dimensions are different.  Use the same distance between posts, and still put the top crossbeam on the very top of the posts using dovetails.

The bottom crossbeam, however, will now be positioned with the bottom of the mortise at 16.5″ from the bottom of the post.  That way, when you add the 3.5″ height of the crossbeam, the top of the crossbeam will be even with the top of the side rail (which will be 16″ tall and start 4″ from the floor).

I’m not going to post any pictures of this, the foot board post goes into all the details.  The only thing that really changes is the height.  So, go out there and build it!  Side rail post coming soon, then staining and finished before assembly!


Important note:  Do not glue the joints together before staining and finishing the wood.  We want to make sure we get the stain in all the nooks and crannies, and if we glue first, the glue might make the stain look blotchy.

Finishing the footboard construction

At this point, we’re ready to start building the cross beams that will connect the posts. We know that each post is about 3.5″ thick. I need 76″ wide to fit the king size bed, and the side rails will be about 1.25″ wide, centered. That means each post will have 1 & 1/8th inches of width on the inside. The cross pieces will then need to be 74″ from the inside of each post. Since the tenons and dovetails will go totally through the post, that means we’ll need an extra 7″ of length (3.5″ on each post) for a total of 81″ in length for the cross pieces. Using your miter saw and table saw, take one of your 6/4 boards and make it 3.5″ wide and 81″ long.

The way the bed will go together, the 3.5″ width will be the “face” of the board that we see. Meaning the 6/4 dimension is where we will trim down the tenon. We know the dimensions of our dovetails, so we want to transfer those to the edge of the 6/4 lumber like pictured below:

Now, using the widest chisel you have, start shaving the wood down to that line. Try to go a little thicker than the line, test the fit, and then trim as necessary.

Finally, we need to use our hand saw to cut 3/4″ off the bottom of the dovetail so that we can cut our groove into the board (steps for that below).

A little sloppy, but it’s tight and it won’t budge

Do the same for the tenons on the bottom, but instead of tapering the cut, make it 3/4″ the whole way through.

How it should look during assembly.

Now we need to cut in the grooves that will accept the the plywood paneling. Our design incorporates three vertical pieces that go between the cross posts: one on each side, and one in the middle. Measure the distance between the cross pieces (in my case it was 25″). Then, add 3/4″ on each end (which will become a tenon) for a total measurement of 26.5″ in my case. The two pieces on the sides will get a groove cut on only one side, while the middle piece will have a groove on both sides.

Place a 1/2″ straight cut bit in your router and mount it on your table. Using a piece of 6/4 scrap, measure 1/4″ in from both sides and 3/4″ tall on the scrap. Adjust your router bit so that it cuts perfectly down the center of the board at about 3/8″ depth (just eyeball at this point). If we try to take the full 3/4″ in one pass, we risk splitting the board. Now, take your long cross pieces, place the side of the board that has the notch taken out of the tenon and lay it down on the table, then cut out the groove. Do this with the vertical pieces as well, making sure your center piece gets grooves on both sides. Then, adjust the router bit to a 3/4″ depth, and run the pieces through again.

To make the tenon, you need to take a quarter inch off each face of the board, measured 3/4 inch off the end grain. This will leave a 3/4 inch deep tenon that will go into the cross beams. Use your router again to do this. Here’s an example of what that looks like (this one is dovetailed, from later in the process, but use your imagination to think of it as a straight tenon that will fit in the slot on the cross beam pictured below).

Place both beams next to each other, and measure to the center of what will be the visible part of the beam (meaning, don’t include the tenons in the length when you calculate. One tenon might be slightly longer). Then, measure the width of the tenon you made on your center vertical piece. It SHOULD be 2″ wide (3.5″ minus 3/4″ on each side). In reality, it’s better to measure just in case. Take that measurement, transfer to to the center of the board, and cut a mortise on the top and bottom piece to accept the tenon. I went 3/4″ deep.

Do the same on the ends of each board where the tenons/dovetails are. You can do this by hand, but I just set up my router to take a 3/4″ channel from the center of the wood, used painters tape to mark where the edge of my bit was, and marked 2.75″ into the piece with a pencil. When the line on the board and the painters tape meet, stop routing.

Vertical piece inserted into a cross beam, creating a continuous channel for the plywood
How it should look before adding paneling

Now for the relatively easy part: the plywood paneling. All you need to do is measure the size of each rectangular void in the picture above, and add 1.25″. Though we will have a total of 1.5″ of space created by the grooves in each direction, I want to leave some room for wood movement so that’s why we’re going a little shorter.

Cut the plywood out. We’re using 1/2 inch plywood here. I was worried 1/4 inch would be too thin, and 3/4 would be too bulky. If you’re using alder plywood, make sure to cut it to orient the boards vertically. Any other plywood won’t have this characteristic, likely, so direction doesn’t matter as much. Just plant everything out to make sure 1) the grain direction looks good and 2) you maximize your material use.

An easy method for straight circular saw cuts. Measure where you want to cut, and add the distance between the edge of your fence and your blade. Add that measurement, and clamp a guide board. Voila!

Dry fit everything to make sure it all fits! Use a rubber mallet and a piece of scrap wood to avoid damaging the wood when you tap everything together. Next stop, staining and finishing before final glue up!

***You may be thinking, “Wait, it doesn’t look done.  Where’s the cap piece on top?”  Very observant!  I will be putting that on at the end.  I am still toying with exactly how I’m going to attach it (likely dowels) but it’s an easy and non-structural step, so it can wait!


Important note:  Do not glue the joints together before staining and finishing the wood.  We want to make sure we get the stain in all the nooks and crannies, and if we glue first, the glue might make the stain look blotchy.

Returning to work

After a nice long vacation to the Caribbean with my wife, I’ll be returning to working on the bed this week. I expect a post around Thursday. Though we have some beautiful wood available in the US, it was awesome to see the forests of teak, mahogany, and other exotic woods in Central America. I’ve got a piece of driftwood I pulled from the ocean I plan on finding a creative use for soon too.