The Tornado Bed
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Tornado Bed: Getting Close

Getting close – I’ve been organizing my final to do list for the Tornado Bed.

It is so cool when everything goes as planned. The last step in construction for the Tornado Bed is to peg the mortise and tenon joints in the head board and foot board. Again, some hesitation sets in as I contemplate drilling holes into the sanded clear pine – such a handsome wood in its pre-stain state. I sure would hate to mess it up at this point.

The tool selected for creating the holes is my corded Craftsman drill. It is old, but still is more steady than my cordless drill. In an effort to control the drilling process, I bought a drill guide to help ensure the bit goes in nice and straight. I will be drilling all the way through the posts. On to the photos…

Using a drilling guide to make a controlled cut.

The drilling guide limits my depth of cut. I only get 2/3 through the post and then have to finish drilling all the way through without the guide.

I was concerned about tear-out at the drill bit’s entry point, but the cuts are crisp.

Here the oak dowels in place. I added glue to the inside each hole from the back of the post.

I cut the dowels flush with my pull saw and sand everything smooth.

I have to sort of smile as I contemplate staining the Tornado Bed. All the prep work: sanding through multiple grits of paper, inspecting the wood surface under the shadow of a carefully placed shop lamp, more sanding, dust removal – all of the work leading up to this point will be either deemed a success or a disappointment with just a few wipes of a stain soaked cloth. It is a humbling experience for any woodworker. But luckily everything goes very well with this process.

The color is Minwax English Chesnut.

The stain goes on mighty dark. I use a foam brush due to the large area I need to quickly cover.

Wiping away the excess stain with a cloth reveals a uniform color.

The only real issue I ran into was with a couple of holes in the right front footboard. As I was drilling the holes for the dowels, some of the exit holes on the back side did not cut clean. I thought I had provided enough of a backer to prevent this minor blow-out, but it wasn’t sufficient. I had used painters tape on the left side which did a fantastic job. I guess it is back to the painters tape when I do the head board.

Anyway, I still have to pin the mortises in the head board and do a little repair on a couple of dings that have developed. While moving the head board and foot board around the shop, things like poles and power tools have come into contact with them.

With all the polyurethane which needs to be applied, I think I still have a couple of weeks of hard work ahead of me. But final construction is at hand.

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.

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