SketchUp, The Tornado Bed
Comments 8

Tornado Bed: Moving to the Headboard

Beefy. Note that each cross member is composed of two boards. I like the heft this gives to the bed.

Something that has been a little extra work on the Tornado Bed is that every cross member is made from two boards glued together. While this step probably adds some strength to the bed, it is mainly a design consideration. I used an existing bed I own to give me some design ideas and when it came to the thickness of these boards, I decided that a 1 x material looked to thin. So, as I move from the footboard to the headboard, most of what I have been doing during the week is simply gluing boards together. It looks something like this…

Maximum clamping. Here I run out of small clamps, so if you look closely, you can see short lengths of pipes used to make small pipe clamps.

I am wondering if I have enough clamps for the rails that join the headboard to the footboard. These will be 80 1/2″ long. The boards in the photo above are about 60″ long. I have been looking at my options for inexpensive clamps because I think I’ll need more.

I also have been considering a change in the glue I use. As I began gluing the footboard components together, I thought about open time. I did not want to repeat a problem I had with the TV Console project where I needed more open time to position all the parts properly. Long story short: after a little research, I decided to stick (stick – get it: glue, stick?) with my yellow glue vs. polyurethane glue which has a very long open time.

Success. The footboard glue-up goes well with no cussing and such. My six-foot pipe clamps which I rarely use come in handy here.

Saturday was mostly about thinking through the panel construction for the headboard. While I had drawn the bed in SketchUp, I had not actually included the joinery. There were no mortises or tenons in that drawing. Fabricating the panels was the next order of construction and I did not want to find out later that I had made them too small, so I sat down at the computer and worked out all the joinery.

A little complicated. The joinery is a little more complex than I had imagined in my head. Glad I worked it out in SketchUp first.

With this illustration I did two things for the first time: (1) I imported a texture and applied it to all the elements in this drawing. This is a medium brown quarter sawn pine which is much more realistic than the stock cherry color I typically use. (2) I used the x-ray view to help me work out the joinery at the posts and it was very handy for this – I made a change that otherwise would not have known to make.

Sunday mornings in the shop are a lot of fun. I usually have at least an hour or more before getting ready for church. This morning I worked on the panels – I need 1 x 8 inch material to achieve the 12 ½ inch wide panels. I cut the boards to rough length, ran them through the planer and then glued them together.

Components. Here are all of the parts needed for the headboard panel. I’ll continue to fabricate the components to final size during the week.

The glue was dry enough to work on the panels after church. I got them sanded up to 220 grit and cut to final size.And that is where I am currently. I hope to have the headboard ready for glue-up by next weekend.

This entry was posted in: SketchUp, The Tornado Bed


During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


  1. Looks like good progress on the bed Jeff, and a great cause. I like your exploded sketch-up drawing, I really need to get my head around it, I struggle with it at the moment.

  2. Mark and David – thanks for the comments. I have learned enough SketchUp to be comfortable with it. Much more to learn though. I may try Gorilla Glue next time.

  3. Looking good Jeff! That little x-ray view is a great little helper with the joinery (as you well know)
    I've never been a gorila glue fan, as I just don't like the mess. But maybe that's just me! Cheers!

  4. Jason – I had considered using a polyurethane glue, but in a FWW April, 2005 issue, they recommended squeeze out be removed with a scraper or chisel. Something I have not done before.

    So just like your observations of Gorilla Glue (considered a yellow glue, not a poly BTW) I chose to stay away from the poly glue because of clean-up even though it had the open time I was looking for.

    Should have given you credit in my post for the tip on x-ray view due to your last blog post.


  5. That's really amazing I really like it so much. The design was very artistic and creative. Thanks for sharing your post.

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