Aoife’s bed – part 1


As you can well imagine, the whole ordeal with our daughter forced us to reassess a few things. One of the less significant byproducts of this process was that I moved her bed to the top of my to-do list. We bought a typical crappy yet expensive (for what you are getting) pine bed for her room when we moved into the house in 2011. It came apart all by itself within two years due to the extremely poor construction and workmanship. It has now been propped up against the wall for months to stop it from collapsing.

I decided on a fairly common Japanese style of construction, which does not necessitated any glue-ups and processed some more of my pile of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestrus) for the project. The beam that was destined for the side rails was so huge I had to ask my gardener Adam to help me rip it into two pieces on the bandsaw.


Here I am squaring up two sides (face side and face edge) by hand before doing the opposing sides with the help of electrons.


My version of a crochet in action.


In the picture below you can see my sliding-deadman-cum-leg-vise showing off it’s versatility. For heavy and thick beams like this it works well to have the beam sit on a dog (as pictured) while the leg vise jaw secures it up against the side of the bench.


As usual, my shop made scrub plane made short work of removing heaps of material.


Here you can see the aggressive camber on it’s Lie-Nielsen blade.


I did the fine tuning with a circa 1896 type 8 no. 8 Stanley jointer plane (not pictured).


Rail stock prepared and awaiting the next assault on it’s integrity.


In the meantime I dug out some Tasmanian Blackwood that my father used to build crates to transport all his tools to my current shop 5 years ago. I really like using and reusing wood like this. It adds value to the story of the piece of furniture. In fact, every bit of timber in this bed used to be something else in a previous life. The Scots pine comes from a crate that was used to transport a massive machine from Germany to Namibia.

The Tasmanian Blackwood were processed to become the slats of the bed.


Cutting the Scots pine for the legs.


Just have a look at how perfect it came out of this legendary Landgon Miller’s Falls no. 75 ACME Mitre saw box.


Squaring up the leg stock by hand planing.


I did the measuring out of the tenon locations by using the actual pieces as they were destined to fit together. As you can see that all transpired on my shop made assembly table.


The Langdon mitre box also came in very handy to cut the shoulders of the tenons. You can see the stop on the arms that allow one to set the exact depth of cut. The cheeks were cut on the band saw.


I usually employ my Stanley no. 10 rabbet plane to plane the cheeks down to the exact measurements.


The slots for the tenons in the top of the legs had to be as close to perfect as possible as it is very difficult to remove material after the sawing is done. Therefore I took to it with my Bad Axe Roubo Beast Master. You will notice the three short cuts in the waste which I made to warm up. Completing this many monster cuts by hand certainly saves on Gym membership.


The waste was removed with my shop made bow saw followed by chiseling.


Legs being cut to final length.


Next up, the fitting of the massive tenons into their respective slots.


Once both tenons for each leg fitted perfectly, I used a shop made marking knife to mark out the exact location for the two slots where the tenons hook into each other.


The picture below should give you an idea of what the tenons look like in the end. They hook into each other inside the slots at the top of the legs. This is a surprisingly sturdy joint, even in the absence of any adhesive. The absence of adhesives allow the wood to move freely during changes in ambient humidity and it is also easy to take apart in future to collapse the bed for easier transport.


8 thoughts on “Aoife’s bed – part 1”

    1. Hi Ralph

      Very nice to hear from you. The wood in question (Tasmanian Blackwood) is extremely well seasoned. It was first stickered with air spaces for more than 10 years (in other words completely air dried). It has now had 5 years to adapt to the significantly lower ambient humidity here in Namibia. I therefore thought that there would not be much benefit in leaving air space, but might be ignorant so please let me know. The reason why I clamp it to my assembly table is to keep them fairly straight after each release of tention such as after planing or ripping. I found that they like moving despite being so well seasoned if I do not stick to small amounts of milling in any one go and then clamp between milling sessions (usually at least one week apart).

      It is very good to hear from such an accomplished blogger and woodworker, so thanks again.

  1. Gerhard,

    What a clever idea! Very creative. I can’t wait to see how this ends up. Are you going to champfer or round over the edges? What are you thinking of using for a finish? Sorry for peppering you with questions. Perhaps I should just be patient and wait for part II.

    I hope that Aiofe is continuing to heal well.


    1. Hi Jonathan

      The bed is designed so that the mattress will be flash with the outside of the rails, so I only rounded the edges very slightly. In terms of finish, I first used a tung oil/turps mixture followed by two coats of shellac and finally three coats of Woodoc.

      Aoife is making slow but steady progress.

      Have a wonderful day my friend.

  2. Whao, look how tight those rings are! Now, does Scots Pine class as a softwood (as other Pines) or as a Hardwood??? Lol!!
    One too often tend to overlook reclaimed wood.

  3. That would be a very nice and heavy duty bed for sure, its a keeper!
    Glad to see your tool model is in good spirit and recovering nicely.
    Gave her our best regards


    1. Hi Bob

      It is wonderful to hear from you. We have been thinking of you guys all the time. I hope things are going as best as is possible. Yes Aoife is doing quite well at this stage and thank you very much for the support.
      I referred a friend of mine in Cape Town to you as he has just bought a Stanley mitre box saw and want to try and restore it. So you might hear from him, his name is Frank.

      Kind regards and best wishes to Heather.

      1. Hi Gerhard
        I gave a short reply re the Stanley 246/Disston combination under your Langdon 75 mitre saw entry.
        Will be sure to contact Bob as soon as I start with the restoration, something that I don’t want to rush. Will in the meantime soak the screws and moving parts in Q20/WD40. Also, Cape Town weather is not kind to old tools! Hopefully next weekend…..depending on the kids’ Saturday sport, of course…. Eisch!!

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