Making the Bed II (No diversions)

The Bed was first mentioned just over a year ago; my Moleskine Weekly Notebook records the following: "2010. Tuesday  April 6: 9 - 9.30 see S. & ?".On the facing page are notes from their visit to the shop: "Outside Table, teak, unfinished. 10' x 5'. Chunky.  Legs 5.5" square. Aggregate panels." Then: "Bed + tables. Mattress California. Oak? Space avlbl for 124" incl. 2 table. Mattress Ht - 26". End 50" high head, 30" high foot. Sides down to floor." (The teak table & benches were finished last summer. Some account of the making is elsewhere in this journal.)

Later S. made a scale sketch of the bed on a large sheet of quarter inch squared paper. It seemed all a bit plain - two great  rectangles of wood at head and foot, and two wide boards for the sides. No curves, no decorative elements or possibilities, although she had indicated various widths for the planks which were to make up the ends. There we left things until the table was finished, and then email discussions resumed. First to be decided was the wood. Oak, whether red, white, Garry, or Japanese, was immediately rejected, as were sapele (cheap looking, too red), cherry (don't remember why), walnut (not my choice either, for anything except possibly coffins). Perhaps it was me who brought up the possibility of teak - more as a diversionary tactic than a likely choice; after all, the choice of solid 3" teak for the head and foot, and 2" for the side rails would be absurdly extravagant, surely? The ground would then be prepared for a "sensible" alternative - white oak, perhaps, which I like more than anything.....?

Of course, this little finesse failed, and S. chose the teak.


First client sketch, April 2010

The next discussions centred around construction issues. It was quickly established that no fastenings were to be visible, and this included any covering plates or plugs. For the corners we considered dovetail joints, sliding dovetails,  comb-joints, and complicated hidden-wedged joints inside the corners. I even made a model of one possibility, involving tapered pins and offset holes. It worked quite well in the model, but as S. correctly pointed out, it would have required the entire bed, all 500 lbs. of it, to be turned upside down to drive the pins out again. The simplest solution - described and pictured later - was the best, as it often is.

Other changes - only minor - came about as the construction began, and in the end, the final result was very much as Sue had drawn a year or so before. Sometimes you just have to trust the client.