>Finished Loft Bed….Finally!

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 Well after way to long working on this bed I finally finished it and my daughter loves it.  It probably would have been much simpler to just use smaller posts instead of glueing the three 2×6’s together and then cutting them down or to not have ripped all of the 2x material down so that…well they didn’t look like 2x material but I am really happy with the results.  With the head and foot boards mortised, glued, and lagged together they are really strong.  I notched the side rails to form a tenon so that they slide back into the mortice cut into the head and foot boards and installed lags to secure them in place.  The end result is a bed that is easily disassembled but very sturdy.

The loft bed is great for our daughters room because it allows her to use the space under neath as a play area and saves space.

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>Loft Bed

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My daughter is now two and a half and my wife and I have another on the way so…. time to move the little one out of the crib, the only problem is that she doesn’t like the toddler bed that was passed down to her because she is afraid of falling out of it….so what do I, well I am building her a loft bed that is 4′ off the ground, makes sense right?  Yea, I thought so too.

I decided on a loft bed after seeing a few with play areas built under them, and decided that she would like that and may even build a slide later to attach to it.  Also, with a railing all the way around I think she will feel more secure than in the toddle bed that the rails are now long gone.  Plus, when she gets older we can slide another bed under for bunks.

I wanted to build the bed using 2X material but not have it look like 2X material, so I ripped all of the edges to take off the rounded look and change the dimension slightly.  I also wanted 4″ square corner post but could not find any other than in pressure treated at the local hardware store, so I decided to glue up three 2X6’s and rip them down to size.  The headboard and footboard are mortised, glued, and lagged using 3/8″ lag bolts.

I have completed the head and footboards and am now cutting the mortises for the sideboards to connect the two ends together, if I would have thought about it I should have left a block out with glueing up the legs to save time on cutting the mortises out.  The next step is to finish cutting to mortises and cut the sideboards to size for a test at the fit.  Then it is a matter of prepping for finish!

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>Giveaway winner!

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As yesterday was the deadline for the giveaway sponsored by Highland Woodworking for the 1/2″ Wood Slicer blade, I just want to thank everyone that stopped by the site and posted a comment or sent in pictures of their work. I am pleased to announce that Jim is the winner of this month’s drawing and will be receiving the Wood Slicer blade. Thanks Jim for sending the picture of your curio cabinet!

I also want to thank the great people over a Highland Woodworking for there support and sponsoring this giveaway. 

Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools Since 1978

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>Tree Box

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   This weekend I had a little time to spend in the shop and wanted to cut a few dovetails as it has been a while. I am getting ready to start a chest of drawers project as part of the Woodwhisperer Guild summer build and will need to cut quite a few dovetails, so I decided to play around a little. Before long I ended up with a cool little box.
I started with cutting a few dovetails in some scrap oak I had laying around the shop. After I finished they fit so nice I decided to go ahead and make a box out of them. I lined the inside with cherry for the lid to sit on and also used cherry for the base and lid. The holes I drilled in the sides to show some of the cherry lining as a contrast to the oak.
The tree came from an idea that I have had for a while. I sketched the tree onto a 1/4″ piece of oak and cut it out using my scroll saw. Once the shape was cut out I used a wood carving bit on my dremel to finish the tree. After carving tree I realized that because the surface of the tree was now uneven I was going to have a problem clamping it to the lid while gluing it down. The solution I came up with was to apply the glue to the back of the tree, lay it on the lid and then cover it with plastic wrap for protection. I then placed pea gravel over the surface and set a weight on top. The pea gravel allowed the weight to have even pressure over the surface.

This was a fun little project to build and sometimes it is nice just to see where inspiration takes us.

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>Workshop Organization

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 One of the biggest issues most amateur woodworkers face is not enough workshop space, most of us work out of our garage or something similar in size.  Tools constantly complete for floor space and there just never seems to be enough storage.  With limited space organization becomes woodworkers’ most critical skill.  But organization does not only apply to a small shop but to any shop.  A large shop can become cluttered with tools, materials, waste, and whatever else we drag in to the point where it takes longer to find a tool than to use it.
In my shop I have many medium sized tools that need to be secured to a bench in order keep them from moving around during use such as my scroll saw, morticer, dovetail jig, bench vise, and others.  If I mounted all of these tools on my various benches around the shop…well I would have no place to put anything together.  The solution I have for this is that I secure all of these tools to pieces of plywood.  I use ¾” plywood so that I can countersink the bottom side so that the bolt heads I use to secure the tools is flush with the bottom.  With the tool attached to the plywood I only need to clamp the plywood down to my workbench with a few C clamps and can work on a secure platform.  Once I am finished I can store the tool away for the next use with only minutes of set up.   
 Like most woodworkers I have way to much “stuff” in my shop, the best solution I have found for this is using the heavy duty wall mounted shelves that can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowe’s.  The shelves come with vertical brackets that allow the shelves to be adjustable and are extremely strong.  I use storage containers labeled by category such as, finishing supplies.  Storage containers are also great for grouping tools such as palm sanders or for keeping tools together, I keep my router in the same containers with my router bit containers, everything is in one place when I need it.  The shelving also work great for a horizontal wood storage, with the shelves being adjustable you can take up only as much room as needed.
Organizing the shop does not have to cost a lot of our money, we need that for…….well, more tools.  There are many things around the house, shop, and office that can be used to help.  Food storage containers work great for organizing various screw sizes or for storing finishing rags between coats, when applying wipe on poly I keep a container with a little mineral spirits in the bottom to keep my cloth from setting up between coats.  Stackable file trays work great for sandpaper storage.  Too many clamps scattered around the shop?  Just screw a scrap piece of wood into the wall and secure all of your clamps there. 
 The most important rules I have learned in keeping my shop functional is to keep everything in it place, label so that I can quickly find what I am looking for, and keep the shop clean.  I have always made it a practice to take a few minutes before finishing up in the shop to clean and organize.  Just a few minutes of cleaning and organizing can help you work faster because you are working in a more efficient environment.  

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>Jim’s Curio Cabinet

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I want to thank Jim for sending in this picture of a curio cabinet he built for his wife.  Looks great Jim, thanks for send it in. 

Jim say’s “I built this cabinet for my wife’s collection of Fenton Glass bears, It is constructed out of oak with mortise and tenon joints. it has glass shelves and both top and bottom sections have lights.”

Please send pictures of your own work to highrockwoodworking@gmail.com and I will post them to the site.  It is great to see what others have build and are working on. 

By the way I have wanted to start including photos of reader work for a while but have not found a good way with the host site I use (Blogger), so for now I am just going to post any pictures sent here and will label them as Readers Projects so that they can be searched in the pages section on the right hand side of the page.

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>Wysong and Miles Belt Sander

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My dad has alway had the habit of bringing in some rather unusual tools into the shop.  A few months ago he called and said wait until you see what I found.  The next week I drove up to North Carolina and in the shop was a very strange looking tool….or something like that.  It is a vertical belt sander made by Wysong and Miles Co.  The sanding belt is less than 2″ wide but is around 15′ long!  The three phase motor runs great and is very sooth.  The belt can does not have to be exact in length as counter weights keep pressure so that really no adjustment is needed.  The belt rest against a form that can be changed out on the table for different profiles.  The advantage to the belt being so long is that very little heat builds up and the belt last longer since there is more surface for longer wear.

I haven’t been able to find much information on the sander but believe it was used in  furniture factory for shaping profiles.  It was fitted with a wood profile covered with copper sheeting for protection.  I was surprised how fast it cuts and does not black the wood from heating.

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