Profiled sanding blocks

Building Bradley’s Crib Part 4 – Final Assembly

Molding plays with light and shadow, it blends transitions and it can be pleasing to touch. I’m glad molding has so many positive features as I had to make a LOT of it to finish off this project. Below is a quick walk through of what it took to complete the woodworking on this project.

Making Molding:

Sampling of the MANY moldings
Sampling of the MANY moldings

As you can see from the photo above a had to mill a lot of stock and produce a lot of profiles to produce all the moldings necessary for this project. I won’t go into the minutia of each profile, or how to create molding using a handheld or table mounted router as that has been covered to death elsewhere. I will talk about a few of the things I do to help get consistent results when using a router.

1.) Make sure your router bits are clean and sharp. Make sure to use a bit cleaner to remove any pitch left on the bits. A diamond card or file can also be used to tune up a bit that is not cutting as well as it used to.

2.) Feather-boards. Whether they are store bought or shop made a feather-board is a great way to help keep stock where you want it. This project required many thin moldings with several different profiles on the same piece of stock. To ensure that the stock stayed exactly where I wanted it I used feather-boards to keep the stock pressed firmly against the table top and against the fence, both before and after the cutter. Without this seemingly heavy handed setup the stock could flex and you’d have to run it a few times. A push stick is also nice to have nearby. For this project the blanks were 2 to 6′ long so I was able to safely move the stock through the cutter with my hands kept at a safe distance from the cutter by virtue of the feather boards.

Extensive use of feather-boards on the router station
Extensive use of feather-boards on the router station

3.) When possible, try to be aware of the grain orientation when passing it through the bit to minimize tear-out

Profiled sanding blocks
Profiled sanding blocks

4.) After coming out of the router I hand sand the profiles to remove any scallops left by the bit. For tight or very complex profiles I will also use a profiled sander (a bit of formed rubber (shown above), piece of dowel or block of wood) that will help me get the sandpaper into the portion(s) of the profile I want to sand.

Molding profile details
Molding profile details

5.) Use the right tool for the job. For the cap moldings above I used a dado set on the table saw (with feather-boards there as well) to create the dadoes, and round-over bits in the router table for the round-overs. (You certainly could use a straight bit to cut the dadoes on the router table, but it would involve taking a few passes which takes more time and could introduce error).

Assembly:

Gluing up the bed rails
Gluing up the bed rails

With the moldings all milled, sanded and cut to size it was time to glue up the various assemblies. Shown above I am gluing up the top and bottom molding onto the adult bed rails.

Shop made jig for drilling centered holes
Shop made jig for drilling centered holes

After the glue dried overnight on the rails it was time to drill holes for the through bolts using a shop made jig constructed out of plywood. This made it very easy to line up and drill consistently centered holes on the ends of the rails. I also made use of some of the stopped drilling techniques outlined here.

Clamping each section using extended bar clamps
Clamping each section using extended bar clamps

Next up was gluing up all of the large sections of the bed — head-board, foot-boards, side panels etc. Given the width of this project I had to break out the Bessey K-Body rail extenders which allow me to bolt two K-Body clamps together to effectively make an even longer clamp. The connector section also works as an extra set of feet to keep the clamps level. I used hot hide glue again for its long open time and compatibility with finishes. Once in the clamps I checked everything for square, adjusted as needed and let the section dry overnight.

Attaching the cap.
Attaching the cap.

Once the panel was dry it was time to glue on the top cap/hand rail. Next I cut the cove molding to size and glued it in place with the help of some dowel cut-offs.

 Installing the slats:

Cutting spacers on the cross-cut sled
Cutting spacers on the cross-cut sled

I milled and test fit the slat spacers when I produced the molding above. I gently eased the corners with some sandpaper and cut them to length using my crosscut sled on the table saw and a stop block that was clamped in place against the rear fence of the sled. My OCD side also kept them in order so the grain matched across each panel.

Installing the slats is a bit of challenge so I did a full dry fit/test run before doing it for real with glue. You start from the center slat which you mark with center lines on blue tape (that way you can remove the lines easily as they are only on the tape) on the slat and the panel and install at an angle to insert the slat and then straighten out when it is firmly in the top and bottom slot. I then install spacers to the left and right of the slat and repeat the process. When I get near the end of the assembly I install the last 3 slats at once (otherwise there would not enough room to angle them into place), move them to where they need to be and finish gluing in the spacer blocks.

Installing the slats
Installing the slats

When laying out the slats in the dry run I also examined the individual pieces and laid them out so that the completed piece had even grain patterns and tones. I also made a few extra slats so I could swap in grain I liked etc. Some of those extra pieces were recycled into a baby blanket display rod here.

Slats installed
Slats installed

Once I completed all the assemblies, I test fit the bed in all three configurations. (You can see several photos of that process over on my public Facebook page here.)

Test fit
Test fit

Now it was time to pick a finish and head out to the finishing booth. To cap off this series, I’ll be talking about choosing and using a finish.

If you’d like to read some other posts related to this project as they get posted please check out this link here.

Take care,
-Bill

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