Sunday, June 15, 2008

Purple Heart bed, Valentine's Day a little late

This entry by Tom. I was trying to get this bed done for us by Valentine's Day, but as usual here in Belize, self imposed deadlines get pushed back for more urgent things that MUST get done to keep things going here on the property.

Here are some pictures of the last bed we made. This is a king size bed for our own use, 80 inches by 80 inches made from a local hardwood called Purple Heart. I designed the bed just using what little carpentry skills that I have and used the same design (with some slight modifications along the way) for the four queen sized beds in the tourist cabin. I do all of the layout, measuring, cutting, and start all the joints. Selwyn does all the sanding and some of the joints that I set up for him to cut. He is still a bit scared to make a wrong cut - that is ok with me since I take a lot of time figuring out which board should be used where for the grain patterns and imperfections.

With this last bed, I am feeling like I am trying to be an artist with the wood. Since I am an accountant, I take a lot more time trying to figure out what is pleasing to the eye for balance and natural flow. I was trying to balance the light and dark sections and also make the headboard and footboard sections look like they are from the same sections of a tree. I did not want any straight lines from the 25 slats (or as few as possible) that make up the flat panels for the head and footboard so that the grains look as natural as possible. Not sure if many people will appreciate the time and planning. Like with table pictures that I received recently from my friend Del, unless you know what goes into making a nice piece, it flies right over your head. Also, one of the major problems with lining up the head and footboard slats is that they are tongue in groove so that we can't just flip any of the pieces over, we have to keep them all in the same direction, and there is a grooved side and a smooth side. Well, we did the best we could and it came out really well.

We are making all mortise and tenon joints for the 3x3 posts to the 2x3 footboard pieces and the 2x6 sideboard pieces. We drill holes with a 3/8" bit and then chisel out the rest to make a square hole. I use my DeWalt cordless skillsaw to get the end of the male pieces smaller to fit in the holes and then have to chisel the ends smooth to get a tight fit into the holes. We then us pipe clamps and hammers to pressure fit everything together and stay tight.

I think that if we ever have to move back to the states, I will be shipping a bunch of beds back, if not to keep, to sell. They really are that nice.


Sandy Azancot said...

Very Pretty! I love the furniture I've seen in Belize made with different types of wood.

Leanne said...

They are beautiful, Tom. A real work of art.

Well done!