Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Head Games

The headboard of the Daybed will be made from this piece of poplar I found at Lowes Lowes'. It as a nice big streak of heartwood going through it's entire length. I try to pay attention of grain pattern whenever I do woodworking because only custom made pieces get this treatment. Manufactured pieces are produced at such a fast rate, the process allows no time to consider grain orientation. I like that wild streak of heart wood through the largest part of the bed. Some woodworker say the grain pattern is the soul of the tree. I can respect that, something did moved me to put it there. The darker heartwood of poplar is usually green, this turns many people away from poplar as a serious wood. Most woodworkers use poplar as hidden sec0ndary wood or paint it. However, the green will oxidize to a nice brown if you leave it out in the sun for a couple hours. The tannins in wood is affected by sunlight, we'll talk about this in future posts.

The headboard of the proved to be the biggest challenge of the project. I had to make a large arch on top of the board. This six foot radius was easy enough to draw using my old fashion folding rule as radius, clamped on the fixed end and a pencil draws the partial circumference which is the arch. Cutting it was harder because I didn’t have a bandsaw nor a jig saw. The thought of using the router didn’t appeal to me because I don't like my router. So I cut it straight at the tangents and then hand plane the rest into a smooth radius. The arch is glued to the bottom piece with biscuit, glue and clamps after I jointed the mating pieces so the two pieces will glue tight. The next difficulty is to attach this large piece of solid wood to the back of the bed in a tasteful method, making sure it can be knocked down, yet remains strong enough to provide rigidity for people to lean back against with gusto. I decide to go with a dovetail because it holds itself together without glue or screws. This makes it possivle for me to take it out and carve a design on it one day (when I learn how).

The problem with the pins of my dovetail (for those discerning craftsman reading) is it's weakness to the direction of the grain, even the strongest glue cannot help. I solved this by shooting a bunch of 21 gauge pins into the dovetail's pin for reinforcement. It's not traditional, but it should work. No one knows of this because it is hidden.