Monday, October 14, 2019

More Bunk Beds

These turned out to be pretty interesting. I was contacted by the chairman of the deacons at my church about building some bunk beds for a mission that supported refugees. They had plans and a few people to help build, and just needed me to lead through the process. Ok, no problem, let's go!

I was not a huge fan of these plans. They were kind of confusing and didn't look like the finished product was going to be that stable, but in the end it makes sense. Build the ends, and some rails, then cut plywood for the base. We never did figure out the stairs to get up to the top bunk. But what we did take care of, made it back to the church for some middle schoolers to sand and stain.

Tripp and Wilson on the cut line

First we assembled the ends
Essentially we cut & notched out enough 2x4's to scrub together 4x4 posts with places to attach the rails, then built up 2x6's to connect the posts together.

Tripp caught me on the saw

Tripp and myself

Assembling the posts

Cutting plywood with Wilson

the stack of plywood and 2x2's for the rails

It only looks wonky because of the ground we assembled. Everything really is square
It's 3/4" plywood attached to 2x2 cleats on the 2x6 rails that actually support the body weight. That just doesn't feel as sturdy as the slats I've been using recently.

Overall this was a fun project, and a great time spent with friends. This refugee mission tries to get people as soon as they get into the country. I hope if someone spends their first night in the US on one of my beds that they can find comfort.

One other fun event happened again, I got to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity again with a team from work! Habitat events are the best way for me to spend my RE Cares days and a good way to bond with teammates.

Adding sill plate to wall framing

It's a good day for framing

This really makes me want to give more effort to charity.Really I want to start with the bunk beds. I've got the Etsy store up and going, and placed a Craigslist ad to sell custom bunk beds. For every $1500 in beds that I can sell, I'll build and donate a twin/twin bunk to some kind of charity. Might be this mission with the church, or a homeless shelter or something else entirely. This is going to be good. And if you can donate something, go out for a day with Habitat, you will not regret it.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pinterest Shelves

After wrapping up my youngest daughters' bedroom remodel, I kept seeing these floating shelves in a zigzag pattern all over pinterest. It looked like an interesting challenge as a woodworker, and we had to lose a cabinet in the bedroom so my Evil Genius needed a new place to display her collection of rubber ducks.

I started by grabbing a 4' level and a pencil. I drew lines on the wall to establish the pattern around the existing furniture, then measured the lines so I knew how much wood to buy. She said she wanted nicer stained lumber instead of painted pine, so when I bought the cypress for the daybed, I also bought (3) 12' boards of red oak. Of course, when they came through the planer one of them turned out not to be oak at all, so I had to dress a 4th board to get the 36' of lumber that I needed.

Assuming you can see the lines for the left side of the zigzag

And here is the right side
 If you can't see those lines drawn onto the wall, sorry. Pink walls aren't the easiest thing to show linework. Trust me, it's going to be cool.

To make the shelves, I'm started by cutting the boards to length, then ripping them to about a 5" width. From there I ripped a 1" strip off of one side that I wanted to put against the wall. My plan is to mark the studs on the inside of the 1" strip, then use draw-tite screws to anchor the strips to the wall. Then add 1/2" holes for 1/2" dowels into both the strip and the main shelf to align and support the weight. These things only have to hold rubber ducks, not books haha

To finish the shelves, I ran them through the planer & tablesaw to shape, then belt sanded with 80 & 120 grit, random orbit sander 180 grit, hand sanding 220 grit. Then I brushed on a glossy polyurethane, 2 coats per side. I didn't seal the edges that go inside the joint or against the wall, but that poly really makes the grain shine!

Getting stained, and you can see the holes drilled into the strip

This is just the left side shelves

Finished sealing

First strip is attached

I'm happy this is coming together

These are all of the strips it took for the left hand shelves

attaching the wide parts

The left side is complete
These turned out pretty cool. I needed to make the holes in the edge of the boards much deeper than I originally thought. This section only took 1 of the 3 boards that I bought, so the right hand side will be twice this much work. It took a lot more glue between the strips and the boards than I was expecting. I'm still kind of suspect about how much weight these can hold, but we'll see. EG loves them so far.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Finishing the daybed

I had all of this cedar hanging on the roof gable ends that I've been building all summer, and Kelley really wanted to seal it before it grayed. I was on the fence, but she bought some Thompson's water seal Timber Oil that looked like really good stuff. It was cedar tinted, so she thought it was a clear coat for cedar, which is pretty different. I did end up sealing the cedar with this stuff, and it is great. One coat gives even coverage and you don't have to reapply for years. That's actually the most common problem, people putting on multiple coats.

I'm not a huge fan of the natural color of cypress. This timber oil stain means that I could also brush on one coat of the Thompson's and be ready to hang the daybed, so that seemed like a great plan to me!

All stained up!

The color really pops now, and you can see the grain prominently. This is a great way to finish cypress, and it's a lot less work than putting on 8 coats of wipe-on poly. Having said that, it dries with a gritty feel to it, appropriate for timbers but not furniture. The next time I make one of these I'll go back to the poly, it just creates a nicer texture.

To hang a daybed you have to have the right space and equipment. We figured the 8' width of the front porch would be good. Weight distribution is supposed to be equal, the weak points are the knots in the rope and the anchor hooks that go into the ceiling. I got J-style anchor bolts that were rated for 225 lbs from a local hardware store, and some 1/2" rope rated at 525 lbs from Lowe's. Also I ordered a twin mattress from Amazon for $80, memory foam with a water resistant fabric for outdoor use. Kelley found the rest of the decorations somewhere.

Drill pilot holes and insert the anchor bolts directly into ceiling joists. Since I just built that roof I had no trouble finding appropriate securing. Also being an Eagle Scout, I had no trouble getting the knots figured out. The trickiest part about installing is getting the bed level, so all of your knots in the rope have to start at the exact same length. We cut 4 10' sections out of the rope and taped/burned the ends. Then I put a double knot on one end, fed the other end through the bottom of the support and did a loop at the top. Hang the loops into the anchors and pray everything holds.

It hangs!

The anchors are secure

The knots on the bottom

With the mattress

Add some pillows

It even holds up my fat ass

This is amazingly comfortable

Kids like it too. that's about 450 lbs of human on top of the 75 lb frame

Wife approves

The whole setup on that side of the porch - with the rocking chairs and pine slab table
The other side of the porch, for reference. That rocking chair doesn't look right there.
This is what it's all about for us. Comfort and being able to enjoy the outside space that we created. Hanging daybeds are unbelievably comfortable. If you have the space and can put up one of these, I can highly recommend it. We thought about buying a swing, but I'm so glad I was able to build this instead.

In fact, I've been building a ton of beds lately. And I'm getting pretty good at it. There is so much interest, in fact, that I opened an Etsy store! - with this bed listed as my only product. I looked around at Etsy, Wayfair,anywhere that I could find that sold beds to figure out pricing, shipping, all that stuff. I think this is going to work. I hope somebody wants to buy the hanging daybeds. I need to add a painted version slightly cheaper than this one because I can make it with pine, and some other products too. I also placed a craigslist ad for the bunk beds, hopefully I'll get some feedback on that. If I can figure out how to ship the bunk beds I'll put those on Etsy too.

This is what it's all about. Hanging out with the family relaxing on a great day. Building this daybed was one of the coolest projects I've done, and it is a perfect fit for this porch. I come home from work every day and take a nap on this bed, it really is that amazing.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

More Daybed

I started working the cypress with the 2x4's. The weight distribution for a hanging daybed is entirely based on how the support system connects with the frame. Running strengthened lumber across the span gives the greatest chance of even distribution. I added some extra pieces to the frame to give more anchor points to the supports, then screwed them in.

Now you can see what those extra 2x3's under the slats are for

attached with pan-head draw-tite screws
I also took this opportunity to drill half inch holes in the ends for the ropes

I forget exactly where I found the dimensions, but google plans for a hanging daybed and I found it. It starts by making the corners by cutting the boards to 20" and 27". In the end, I feel like this is a bit too high. Lots of pictures show the arms and back the same height, I didn't want that. The back should be taller than the arms. But in the end I think they are both too high. Should have gone 19" and 25", maybe a bit lower than that.

After attaching the corners, my plan was to play with connecting them. I needed a front face, something to support the back, and something for the sides. Remember I started with (8) 1x6's, ripped 7 of them down to only 2.5" wide and left the cleanest one for the front face.

Corners are attached!

Got the face attached too

This is what I had left over

Came up with a center support and some back work across the top
So I started out by making the arms flat and level. Orientation is key here. I had to put the full face to the front for the short boards and the full face to the sides for the long boards to make the corners. Then I notched the arms to fit around (flush) with the long back corners at the same height and added a support piece underneath. Then I did the same thing for the back, a piece across the top of the long corners and a support on the inside of the top. This created parallel lines with the frame and provided a format for nailing. After that worked out, all I had to do was fill in the gaps!

Note the notch cut into the arm

Kelley is finishing the sanding

I sanded these boards through 80, 120, and 180 grits before assembly, so all I had to do at this point was sand with 220 and apply a finish.