I like cars. As I write this, the TV show Rides is on and I am watching Chip Foose build a one-of-a-kind car called Impression. This car is a piece of art and the show had me glued to the TV. What impressed me most is that not only is the car a piece of art, but each individual component is too. This show has motivated me to look differently at my woodworking projects. I want to move more towards looking at my work in this way, as art. But, I need to master some hand tool skills before I get to that level. Something to work towards.
Getting to the next level means I’ll have to come to grips with the lumber I use. A thought I have is this: can a woodworker make a respectable project from lumber found at Lowes or Home Depot? I tend to favor these suppliers mostly due to convenience. I would like to design a future project featuring cherry as the wood; doing so means I will have to order it. My only reservations with ordering wood are not being able to pick my boards and being able to order enough wood. If I order too little, I won’t be able to simply drive down to the local home center and get more.
One thing I have learned is that making a project from home center lumber, which stands up to scrutiny, means very careful wood selection. In general, quarter sawn wood is the wood of choice – the grain is straight and more pleasing to the eye. The opposite of this is plain sawn wood which frequently yields grain that is in some cases wild and can be very distracting. See the photos below…
For the bed, the best looking grain faces the front of the bed. Also, the sides of the posts have nice straight grain. All of this is plain sawn lumber, but I have select the most pleasing grain to appear on the most visible parts. I have seen some really nice looking boards at Lowes and Home Depot, but these boards are in the minority. Lumber has to be carefully selected for both pleasing grain and color.
The upper cross-piece of the footboard is three inches wide and the mortise is 2.5″ so I only need to remove a quarter-inch from each side of the board. I simply nibble away the wood on my table saw.
For the tenons on the lower cross-piece, more wood needs to be removed (one inch), so I use a hand saw to remove the bulk of material and then clean it up at the table saw.
Next up: I’ll sand everything and then do the glue-up. Then, I’ll add the pegs. I hope to begin the headboard next 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.
Note to Self: The other night, I made a quick trip down to my shop to glue up a couple of boards. I needed to cut them to rough size and in the process I dropped a board on my bare foot. The pain was particularly intense and still hurts two days later. A lesson I learned: always wear shoes in the shop, which in my case means tennis shoes. But, I wonder if work boots like those construction workers wear would be good and a little more likely to soften the blow?