Monday, March 30, 2020

First (house) furniture project

Since I just finished it yesterday, I thought I'd post some photos of my first woodworking project intended to be good enough to go inside the house, albeit in a closet.

My granddaughter, Aislynn, has been sleeping in my wife's walk-in closet when she's at our house, more or less since she was born.  It's nice that it's very close to our bedroom, but not in our bedroom.  For a while there was a crib in there, then a playpen, then she outgrew those and we just put a small mattress on the floor.

But Kris (my wife) has been complaining that it takes up too much of her not-enormous closet, and Aislynn has been complaining that her bed "doesn't have legs.  Beds should have legs." (her words, and yes, she is that articulate, very good for a 2.5 year-old). So I decided to build a Murphy bed for Aislynn, a bed that folds up against the wall when not in use. With legs!

The bed is basically an open-topped box to hold the mattress, connected to a small platform via a piano hinge.  The platform is supported by sides that have a gap on the side against the wall, so I didn't have to remove the baseboard, and is attached to the wall with a couple of angle brackets.  The box and platform are make primarily of 3/4" Baltic birch plywood, and the box has a 3/4" strip of cherry around the top as a decorative trim.  I cheaped out on the floor of the box and used regular plywood there; I wish I'd used the hardwood ply.  There are two legs (per Aislynn's requirements!) supporting the far end of the box, on hinges so they fold flat when the bed is up against the wall.

I used a router to round all of the edges, so there are no sharp corners anywhere on it, and then varnished the whole thing first with Danish oil and then with a couple of layers of oil-based polyurethane.  I largely botched that, with lots of spots that didn't get even coverage and other spots that have globs of poly that I had to sand off.  I'm learning.  My shop furniture I just finish with paste wax, a more tedious but more forgiving finish.

After I installed it, Aislynn said it needed flowers.  Kris found some vinyl stickers of flowers, butterflies, etc., to put on it.  No, she didn't have to go buy them, she has lots of that sort of thing around.

I sized the box to fit her mattress, but I now see it's really too small.  She can just barely lie straight without either her head or her feet hitting the box, but that will change, probably by next week, the rate she's growing.

Here are some pictures:

Aislynn on her new bed. Happy girl, happy grandpa!

The bed in upright position.

I think I'm going to add two more legs near the hinge to make sure it has good support.  You can see the lower-quality plywood of the bottom.  It would look nicer if I'd used hardwood ply.  I suppose I could still take a sheet of thin ply (I have some) and cover the cheap stuff.  Maybe I will.

The platform and the hinge

Note that line of holes on the side against the wall. Oops.  After it was all varnished I drilled and screwed the hinge into the wrong side.  Argh.  Maybe I'll try filling the holes and then sand and re-varnish.

You can just barely see the two brackets holding it to the wall.  They're off-center because they needed to be where the wall studs are.

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