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Thread: 150 board feet of Poplar – Part 1: a Bed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    150 board feet of Poplar – Part 1: a Bed

    A quick follow-up on my previous post regarding:

    A) Foolishly taking on two family projects simultaneously (a bed for our son and 12 frame and panel cabinet doors for the laundry)

    B) Filling the garage with the +150 board feet of Poplar needed for both projects.

    Below are some pictures of the completed bed. The pictures came out poorly because there wasn't enough light in his bedroom, but I'll be damned if I was going to disassemble the bed and carry it outside for better pictures!.


    DSC_0423.jpgDSC_0429.jpgDSC_0425.jpgDSC_0427.jpgDSC_0440.jpgDSC_0432.jpg


    This platform style is what my son chose. It seems like overnight he grew to 6’2” and somehow no longer fits in the bunk beds we got him when he was eight!



    It's modeled after one by Matthew Teague in the July/August 2011 edition of FWW. It's simple construction with M&T joinery for the headboard and slip tennons attaching the headboard to be angled riser block on the bedframe. I used dowels and hanger bolts for the knockdown joinery.

    I'm posting this here (rather than in “projects” where it probably belongs), primarily because the Poplar was so fun and easy to work with hand tools and I thought other Neander's might be interested.

    This was my first project using Poplar and I chose it primarily because it was affordable. (however the project budget went right out the window when my wife vetoed my choice for the accent panels on the headboard and selected zebrawood at $22 a board foot! The small accent pieces are ebony).

    The Poplar was a pleasure to work using hand tools - incredibly satisfying to work with hand saws and planes. Based on price and workability I will definitely consider Poplar for future projects. I'm going to experiment with some different finishes to see if I can get closer to mimicking Walnut for some larger scale case pieces.

    Based on some advice from the folks in the finishing forum, I finished this one with the General Finishes pre-stain conditioner, oil-based gel stain (the “Java” color is a little dark for my taste but again what the family wanted) and several coats of wipe on varnish. The Poplar took the stain very evenly with no blotchyness and the natural green color didn't bleed through.

    I am just about finished with dimensioning the stock for the 12 frame and panel cabinet doors that will also be built with Poplar. Nothing like "a lot of practice" to improve my speed and accuracy in dimensioning stock by hand. After the large scale work on the bed, it's a pleasure to have workpieces that will fit on the bench! My hats off to the boat builders, joiners and others that work on large scale projects -- this was definitely sweatier work than I anticipated!

    All the best, Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    Jeez Mike, you got that done fast! Looks great. Really, really great actually. Fantastic design, great execution. So glad you shared.

  3. #3
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    That is an interesting piece. Much more elaborate than the the platform bed made for my wife and I.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ellsworth, Maine
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    Awesome bed Mike. I really like a platform bed and would love to build a similar one in cherry. But the sheer size of the project is a bit intimidating in my shop. Great execution!

  5. #5
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    Sep 2003
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    Plano, TX
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    super nice
    The means by which an end is reached must exemplify the value of the end itself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Burlington, Vermont
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    I've worked with poplar for the base of my workbench - after working with a lot of maple recently, I have to say, the poplar is a joy to use. I experimented a bit with clear finishes on it, and they look better than expected. The greenish bits turn brown with sunlight exposure; I've been told that BLO can help speed this, similar to how it helps cherry darken a bit quicker.

    Either way, I think that's a great bed; nice work!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Thanks Guys for your very kind comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    Awesome bed Mike. I really like a platform bed and would love to build a similar one in cherry. But the sheer size of the project is a bit intimidating in my shop. Great execution!
    Tony, I think this bed would look great in cherry. The Simple design and flat surfaces of the horizontal and vertical Bed frame members would really show off nicely figured woods.

    Regarding accommodating the size of the project in your shop; this bed was built for a queen size mattress. Given the knockdown design, the largest single components were the 2 side, bed frame members which were around 80" long. You could go to the July/August 2011 edition of FWW to get more information about dimensions (sorry I'm not Internet savvy enough to add a link to the article!).

    All the best, Mike

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