Gary Rogowski, Note to self, The Tornado Bed
Comments 5

Tornado Bed: a slight change in plans

The next step. I need to cut the slots for the panels and stub tenons on the stiles.

In my last post on the Tornado Bed, I had completed the basic structure of the headboard. The next step in the process was to form the parts needed to complete the panel assembly. While doing this, I decided to make a change that caused about a week delay in my progress. I have re-created the scenario leading up to the change below:

The slots. I use a scrap to form a 1/4″ deep slot. I nibble away material at my table saw.

An uneasy feeling sets in. I repeatedly take the scrap and fit it to the panel until the slot is snug. As I handle the panel, I realize I can’t stand the sight of it’s grain.

If I am going to move forward as a craftsman, I am going to have to learn to be more patient. I originally selected 1 x 8 material for these panels. This meant I could glue up two boards to achieve the necessary width I needed. But, the grain on these wider boards can be all over the place which is the case here. The 1 x 4s have more pleasing straight grain, but they take twice as long to glue up and plane flat. I had selected 1 x 8s because the process is faster. Note to self: be more patient.

I really did not want to scrap the original panels because it would delay things, but in the back of my mind I knew I would always dislike the grain in these boards. So, I made the decision to start over on the panels. I picked up some appealing 1 x 4s and set about forming new panels.

Not flat. After glue-up, both panels have a slight hump which needs to be removed.

Some hand work. I use my card scraper to make both sides of the two panels flat.

This is pretty cool. Using a card scraper is about as close to hand tool work as I currently get. A card scraper can be frustrating to tune up, but I found a video by Gary Rogowski that makes it easier and I have fun taking the hump out of my panels (scrapers sure are tough on your thumbs).

A comparison. Which grain is more pleasing? The wild grain on the right is awkward. The straight grain on the left is much better.

Thankfully I have a long woodworking weekend ahead of me and I should have plenty of time to get all of the headboard components formed and dry fitted. I hope to have another post up on Monday with the progress.

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.

One note: After six months with no advertising on my blog, I am trying out some very targeted ads. For example, I have added in my left sidebar and Bell Forest Products at the end of new posts. The next time you need something from either of these suppliers, consider reaching their website via my blog – I’ll earn a little pocket change in the process.


  1. That seems like a nice product you got there. I'm sure it did take some time to master it and really seems like old-world technology which would take a deft touch. Ya know?

  2. I agree, a deft touch 🙂 but I think I can still get better shavings with the scraper, so I will continue to refine my sharpening process. For instance, the burnisher I use is the shaft of a screw driver – not acceptable really. I foresee an actual burnishing tool in the near future.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Good Call Jeff.

    There is almost nothing worse than working backwards and doing things twice. Except looking at a finished project and disliking the final results. There's something to be learned in there somewhere right? 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  4. Thanks Jason – you are right about being disappointed when a project is finished. I had that feeling with my coffee table project. I used oak plywood for the lower shelf knowing that there would be a chance the lower quality grain would be noticable. I kept telling myself, it would be covered up with magazines, and it is, but I still did not like the look of it.

    It is not even two years old and I am thinking about replacing it.

    Thanks for the comment.

  5. Jeff, the difference between the panels is like night and day to us woodworkers. I don't know if the average person can verbalize the difference, but it's these little details that all add up to an overall effect. I'm sure the lucky folks who receive the bed will appreciate the extra effort.

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