201 Tips for Woodworkers, Process Improvement, The Tornado Bed
Comments 4

Tornado Bed: Completing the Posts

Two more posts. As you will see, I moved my planer to a dedicated rolling cart regaining much-needed workbench space.

For me, the long Memorial Day weekend typically is filled with a number of family events and this one was no different, but the long weekend also meant some great shop time – virtually all day on Saturday. I’m glad to report the Tornado Bed is on schedule since I was able to complete the construction of the footboard posts.

The process for the foot board posts was the same as shown in my last blog post, so I am not going to repeat it here, except to say that after completing the final post, my technique for ripping and fitting the 45 degree angle cuts on the end cap has improved.

Small adjustments. I use painter’s tape to zero in on the exact angle.

I used a process of making micro adjustments to the 45s by adding layers of painters tape to the opposite side of the end cap. This allowed me to find the precise angle for a proper fit. I trust this method more than simply adjusting the blade of the table saw.

A project within a project
It is my goal with each project to make an improvement to my shop in some way. For instance, during the Beth’s Built-In project, I made a couple of new saw horses. With the Tornado Bed, I have already utilized my new thickness planer several times, so it really needs to find a home somewhere besides the end of my workbench. I decided to spend a couple of days constructing a mobile cart for this new tool.

A great resource. “201 Tips for Woodworkers” – this was a Christmas gift from my wife a year ago and it has turned out to be one of the most useful woodworking gifts ever.

I mentioned in my last post Fine Woodworking magazine’s special publication, 201 Tips for Woodworkers. In the section on shop storage there is an article titled “Rolling Base for Bench Tools” by John White. In this example, White’s cart is fitted with a bench top thickness planer. So instead of re-inventing the wheel, I decided to simply duplicate White’s design.

In process. Once again, I use my table saw as a work surface because my actual work bench is too crowded.

Construction was pretty straight forward: birch plywood cut into components and screwed together. I originally bought 2.5″ casters and returned them for the four-inch version – the 2.5″ers were too small. The best thing about making this cart: I paid for it with money my Mom gave me for my recent birthday.

A new home for my planer.

A new home for my planer.

In the future I plan to add in-feed and out-feed supports to be attached to the cart, replacing those on the planer itself. I am thinking of a melamine surface to feed stock into the planer supported by a plywood platform. I got it sort of worked out in my head. I also need to extend my dust collection system; connecting it to the planer. It creates some cool looking shavings which quickly become a big mess.

Currently. All four posts completed except for the finials.

For the Tornado Bed, the next steps will be more interesting. I will fabricate the cross pieces needed for the foot board. That will begin this coming weekend.

This project is being built in response to the historic tornado outbreak that occurred in Alabama on April 27th.

On that day, 63 tornadoes struck our state which claimed the lives of 247 people and caused between $2.45 billion and $4.2 billion in property damage (click the image at the right).

The Tornado Bed will be given free of charge to a needy victim of the April 27th tornado event.


  1. Jeff, You've got me scratching my head….

    What is the tape for? Can you go into more detail? God knows anything to make 45's work better is good info to have.

    Also…… Save your valuable time and use the in/out feed tables on the planer. Use the little adjusters to keep it flatish, but if you need more support, I would suggest a roller stand. I personally don't think the return on your time/floorspace investment is worth it. BUT…. That's just my stinky opinion. 🙂

    Beds lookin good too.

  2. Looks like it is coming along well. The planer table is a great ideal and looks really nice.

    Keep on posting as to your progress.

  3. Jason – I used the tape to raise the side of the board that rides against the fence, which increases the angle of the wood at the blade. I like the tape because the increase is very suttle and hopefully more precise than adjusting the blade. If the fit isn't just right, then I can add another layer of tape and re-cut.

    One thing to note is that the tape causes more friction against the table surface, but it wasn't a problem.

    David – Thanks for the comment. Also for the planer cart, I am thinking about adding some drawers on each side for storage.

  4. I see! That is a great idea!! Why didn't I think of that. 🙂 I will however steal/borrow it some time.

    Thanks for the follow up.

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