A pair of twin beds, in Ash and Cherry

Just a quick update on whats going on in the shop:  Since I can only spend  a few hours a week getting work done with the wee ones around more than usual, the need for beds for both my niece and my youngest daughter seemed like an opportunity to do a matched-pair of twin beds, building them simultaneously, but in different species.  For the first, I’m working with the Ash (yes the same one I used for the workbench and the tool chest drawers, and the second, Cherry, mostly leftovers from other projects, though a little extra 12/4 for the cherry legs was needed.

Here’s the design, in a simple, shaker-ish style. I’d love feedback on it if anyone has the time to comment:

Miranda Bed

Miranda Bed

Wedged half Dovetail
Wedged half Dovetail – Section View

I wanted a hardware-free bed, so I decided to try something a bit different:  I know that the wedged, half-dovetail through tenon has been used in some other designs, though I wasn’t able to find much online about it.  I’m also pretty sure that it’s rarely wedged from the inside of the joint, but I wanted to keep them on top of the rail as a decorative element.  In both beds, I’m thinking of QS Black Walnut for the wedge, maybe a bit of carving on the round part. If anyone knows of, or has experience with this joint, I’d love to hear about it. Here’s a section view of it:

I’m getting towards the end of the clear ash, at least long enough for a project like this (there are still plenty of curly pieces less than a couple feet, for drawer fronts, boxes, or other smaller items), so finding enough stock for the ash legs was a bit tricky.  I finally found enough and squared the blanks, processing the cherry along side, then marked them out for the headboard and foot-board mortises.  I decided that since I had dozens of really deep mortises to do, and not much time to dedicate to the project, that, guilty though I may feel, I’d use the mortiser instead of the chisel, at least to rough them out.  I’d do the cleanup with chisels and floats.  The through mortise for the dovetailed through tenon was roughed, and the angle will be chiseled by hand afterwards.

Through Mortise for rails

Through Mortise for rails


Twin Pair of Twin Legs

The groove for the haunch, (the shallow tenon that keeps the headboard and footboard panels from cupping) will run between the deep mortises, and a little beyond, will be routed at the router table.  I did one leg with a router plane, and it took about 45 minutes, so to speed it up, I setup a spiral bit in the table, and will start routing tomorrow, (kids are in bed, so I can’t make noise).

I’ve already glued up the panels for the foot and headboard, and  cut the tenon across the whole length.  Next, each individual long tenon will be cut to fit, or with a little clearance for expansion, and the haunch will be left by sawing out between the tenons. (images tomorrow, I hope)  With any luck, I’ll have a pair of headboards and footboards tomorrow, perhaps even with the arcs cut in.

Look for an update on progress tomorrow…


About Nick

Nick Roulleau is founder, craftsman, designer, joiner, finisher, floor-sweep and all of the other roles at Mansfield Fine Furniture. A woodworker for more than a decade, Nick started the company with the goal of filling the need for heirloom-quality furniture hand-made from premium woods. Every piece is designed to suit the customer's needs and desires, hand-picking each piece of wood, and built one piece at a time, using both modern and centuries-old traditional methods to yield furniture to last for generations.