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Monday 8 April 2013

Constructing a 'super-king' sized bed from timber milled onsite using a chainsaw mill

Two friends of mine commissioned me to make this bed for them and yesterday it was delivered and assembled in their house.
All of the timbers used came from trees grown in the local area. The legs are Douglas Fir, the slats and rails are European Larch and the sides and large slabs of timber in the headboard are made from some very special Lawson Cypress.

A few years ago, some large trees were cut down in Ashton Court, Bristol as part of landscaping work and some of the trunks were left lying around to rot. After getting permission from the estates department, Alex, Bob and I took chainsaw mills there and cut the logs of Lawson Cypress into usable planks.

The trees were well known in Bristol and it was great to be able to use the timber to make something that would be appreciated, rather than it being wasted. After leaving the planks to season for several months, work began on the bed.

I've inlaid a small rectangle of wood into the headboard, which was cut from a piece of driftwood collected on a beach near my friends' house on the day of their wedding.

Constructed the bed was quite a long job as I didn't have the equipment to cut the mortises and tenons efficiently with  machines, so needed to finish off every one by hand. The timbers were also quite tricky to work with. My friend Simon Nugent helped a lot by allowing me to use his planer/thicknesser machine but the softwoods tended to tear unless all of the tools were kept very sharp. The quarter-round pieces of Douglas Fir used for the legs were also very hard to secure firmly when cutting mortises into them.

All of which meant that the work took a very long time!

However, it's great to have tried my hand at building such a large bed and for it to have turned out so well. 

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