Friday, October 18, 2013

Finally After the Third Bed

I finally finished the bed for my son.  He had about six more inches before he grew out of the converted the crib.  We also needed the crib for the next one.  So the changes from the last bed:
  • I used beech not pine.
  • Already had a mattress so I had the actual dimension instead of going off the internet.
  • The sides are the same rather than having one a complete slab.  
  • Added more mattress supports.
  • It is finished in shellac instead of polyurethane.
  • Tried a new profile for the drawers.
  • Reduced the height of the drawer box .
  • Used handles not knobs for pulls
So why beech, because the company I am working for is starting to use it.  Since I am asked a lot about the characteristics of wood I thought I would try it out.  It is interesting because it is harder than maple.  It has ticking like oak and is a reddish in tone but is closed grain.  It is a substitute for maple in a dark finish; the ticking is still visible in lighter finishes. I found it to show tooling marks more.  These were easily removed with a light sanding.  Granted my tools may not be the sharpest in the world.  It was a good wood to try, but I think I like maple better.  Maple is whiter and looks better with a clear coat.  Just some random information about the wood and why beech is becoming more prominent. It is actually German beech and they have a better sustainable forest system than we do in the States.  Beech has constant buys for all the grades of lumber so not a lot of the tree is firewood or press board.  Maple is going up in cost by a lot.  The demand is high while the supply is shrinking.  Maple is also not as clean as beech for the same grade of material.  This gives a better yield and less scrap.

Mattress supports are more important than I originally thought.  I put about eight slats on the last bed.  The problem is that they have a tendency to move so occasionally I will sit where there is no slats and sink further than I would like.

The profile change was because I wanted to try putting a bead inside the slab.  It was alright.  I burned in the corners.  The setup was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I clamped some scrap boards and used a bushing and a router bit to rout the inside profile.  It made it a little nicer.

The first set of drawer boxes we about a 1/4" from the top of the frame.  It makes it a deeper drawer box which is better right? Wrong! We tend to pack drawers full of clothes and clothes are not very consistent.  If the stuff in the drawer was above the drawer box by more than a 1/4" the drawer would not shut.  So by lowering the drawer I have psychologically proven to myself that the drawer will not get stuck as much. The other thing it did was create a perfect yield on a 5x5 foot birch plywood sheet.  I think I wasted a half a square foot total.

Why handles, because kids cannot unscrew them!!!

I still had my issues.  For some reason I could not drill my glide supports straight.  Then there was the small mistakes and underestimating the lumber that I needed.  Overall the bed came out well.  The beech will make it last longer and does not scuff as easy.  I am glad I had a respirator.  The fumes on shellac are strong even with an open garage.

For the record, my kids did help me put this together.  They picked out the large screws for the bed and the small screws for the drawers.  They also screwed in the screws if they could or gave me parts.

Here are the things I love about the bed; I can fully disassemble and reassemble  for moving and everything should be interchangeable but that is still to be discovered.  It is a solid bed and can be jumped on and abused.  The style will last and looks a whole lot better then the metal frame and it will not be out grown as my kids grow up.  It has full extension glides with deep drawers (drawers only pull out 3/4 extension).  My kids have jumped in the drawers and they work fine and hold up.

Plan, Think, then Measure Twice and Cut Once

So most people have heard of the old phase measure twice and cut once.  There is nothing more frustrating than cutting a board and only to realize the board is an inch too short.  There really no way to fix that mistake.  I have added two more steps before that phase.
Plan - There are many times where I think it is just like another project that I have made in the past only to realize that parts have had to go together in a certain way.  The other thing that happens a lot more than I would like to admit setups.  There are times that I have a machine setup and cut the pieces I needed only to realize that I could have used the same setup on other parts.  For example: I am working on a bed for may younger son.  There are three drawers underneath.  So I cut the grooves in the drawer sides and ends for the bottom panel.  I then tear it down and cut the bottom panel.  Then I have to cut the grooves in the drawer sides for the drawer ends.  When all it really should have been is adding a couple of blades to the stacked dado.  Plan your similar cuts and operations to maximize efficiency and reduce setup time.
Think - Never think that there is such a rush not to think through the process and what the desired result should be.  I am understanding there are several ways to reduce the blowout and plan defects where they will not be seen.  However I need to start thinking through the operation first.  Couple of examples; first if I rip after cross cutting, I can cut out the blowout that always happens.  I am also working on some monster trucks.  If I thought through where the blowout was going to be I would have realized all my marks where on the wrong side.  I can fix it but it is going to be a lot of sanding.

Now onto my little venting session.  If you do not want to read further I don't blame you.  I was on Facebook the other day and this add popped up:

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I have learned to accept Saw Stop and the technology that it contains.  Obviously it works and saves people from severe injury.  I cannot pay over $1700 for a base model for the saw stop.  You can argue the "if you lose your hand, would it not have been worth it?" card.  If I didn't want to get in a car accident I could stay home all day too.  It is extremely frustrating that a group of lawyers is trying to profit off these injuries because one one table saw has this technology and the other manufacturers understand safety but the technology prices them out of the general market.  This technology is great but it is not in the price range of the average consumer.  This all stems from a law suit where an individual was awarded $1.5 million for making a free hand taper cut on a table saw.  If he did not have the correct tools to make this cut it is another story, but he wanted to save time.  This just makes things more expensive for the end consumer.

In short: Know your equipment and know how to use them, then think.  That is the best safety advise I can give you.