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10 whole fingers
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

This is my first post here, but I'm really excited. I'm a web developer and haven't touched a woodworking tool to build something by myself since I was a kid(15-20 years ago).

My dad recently passed away unexpectedly back in December and I inherited the wood shop. I usually work ridiculous hours, and therefore haven't had much time for things to sink in. Long story short, I spent the last four months clearing my schedule so I could find time to complete a project my dad and I were planning on working on this summer. I think a little R&R in the shop will do me some good. My dad and I were really close so it's been hard.

My goal is to build a set of night stands and a hidden gun compartment headboard for my bed. The only problem is, I want it to actually turn out nice so I have a lot of questions. I can handle the measurements and the cuts, it's the wisdom questions I get hung up on. What woods should I use? Should I dovetail corners and groove shelves? Can I mix and match woods to cut down on cost? If I go with oak, can I stain it dark or will that hide the natural beauty of the wood?

I'm leaning towards some really nice (oak) boards, but I was thinking if I can get away with it, I might switch to something cheaper for the parts that can't be seen.

I'm going to start with the more ambitious of the three, the headboard. I'm in the process of re-drawing it. A hard drive crash (also in December) took out my previous 3DS Max files. I just finished plugging in the mattress to spec. It's going to be a headboard with shelves, overhead reading lights, a large mirror, plugs for quick charging, and have the ability to quickly access a concealed tactical shotgun as well as two pistols.

Any Advice or links to how to videos on subjects I may not have thought about would be greatly appreciated! I'll gladly share my renderings as well as the project file once I get it all worked out if there is any interest.
 

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Turning Wood Into Art
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I'll start the ball rolling - mixing timbers is common practice. That should be fine. As for the other stuff, im sure youll get good advice.

you may find starting a seperate thread on each main topic may be better, I love the comprehensive start to this one, gives the full picture - thats great

Cant wait to see how it all turns out
 

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where's my table saw?
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what style or design?

Separate nightstands or integrated into the headboard?
Mission style or contemporary?
All hardwood for the structure or plywood cases with edges trimmed in hardwood?
It's hard to give "specific" advice without the basic parameters as shown in an example or sketch, or working drawing.

Construction details would be easier once a design is settled, but drawer fronts can be separate and attached, drawer cases can be lock mitered, lock rabbeted or dovetailed. Drawer bottoms should be run in a dado. ....etc. :smile:
 

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Sorry to hear about your dad. I lost mine years ago and it was tough.

From what I read in your post, it seems like this is going to be something to honor your dad and probably pass down to the generations - an heirloom project. If this is going to be an heirloom project, I'd suggest woods like cherry, walnut, mahogany or maple. You could even get into the exotics. These will produce a richer and more beautiful look and give your project increased value. Find a hardwood lumber store and go there just to get the feel for the different woods. I think you'll understand what I'm talking about.

As others have said, it's hard to help you with what's the best joint to use, etc. Tommy MacDonald has a lot of great build videos and some joint-related videos. If you watch them you'll learn a lot and maybe get some ideas for your project. And he's not boring. :smile:

Depending on what tools you plan to use or are at your disposal, there are a number of videos that show you the right way to use them. For hand planes and other hand tools, Lie-Neilsen has a You Tube channel.

Marc Spagnuolo, the Wood Whisperer, is also another great source for how-to videos, including finishing. I got some great info on using dyes and HVLP spraying there.

When you're designing your project, decide if your large panel areas (like the gun cabinet) will be plywood or maybe raised panel sections. Raised panels can add a lot of interest to an otherwise boringly flat front or side.

You can use two or more woods in your project. You could choose woods for their natural beauty and not stain or dye them. Just finish them with lacquer. Figured woods can really pop when you finish them properly. This is a slab of figured sapele I have in my shop. The dark wood has just been coated in mineral spirits. The light part is the bare wood. Sapele darkens quite a bit when finished.


This shows how wood changes color when exposed to light. Again, mineral spirits were used to bring out the finished appearance.


For this box I used padauk for the sides and trim and African mahogany sapwood for the rest and finished it with spray lacquer. The bottom is teak. No stains or dyes were used.


This light fixture is made from figured maple and padauk. Again, no stains of dyes, just spray lacquer.


Choose woods for their color and grain and maybe stains and dyes won't be needed or even desired.

Some bed set ideas - (I didn't make these)
Mahogany


Live edge headboard & spalted maple


The possibilities are endless. Once you have settled on a design, then we all can better help you answer your questions. Good luck!
 

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10 whole fingers
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great replies!!!

Woodnthings: They'll be separate pieces but (hopefully) have the same look and feel.

cabinetman: I'm actually really close to wrapping up the renderings. Hopefully I'll be able to post them this weekend.

Julie Mor: Thanks for taking the time to write out a detailed response! Based on your advice I'm going to take a trip to a specialized lumber yard. It's about an hour away but they'll have a better selection than the local guys and big chains. I'm going to watch some of the videos and hopefully pick up a thing or two. I have just about every tool I'd ever need for this kind of work and plus some. I think the only machine I wish I had is a larger planer.

As for the paneling, this is where I need help making the judgement call. Hopefully everything will make more sense when I have some renderings to show.
 

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10 whole fingers
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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, These aren't perfect nor complete but hopefully they'll help a bit.

Rendering with matched footer. The board against the wall is 6ft for reference.


Here is a close up. Please forgive the overly reflective materials. I lost all of my custom materials in a SSD crash.


These are by no means finished. I think I'm going to raise the whole thing a foot or so to include the mirror, I almost axed it for lack of room. There is enough room for all three guns and release mechanisms as it sits. The shotgun is in a drawer on the top(Unlocked by pushing the inset panel of the middle column). The pistols are attached to rounded swivel mounts in the shelf columns (They'll drop on release).

I'm not sure if this qualifies as contemporary, but it will fit the decor of our very modern room quite well. Also as you can see the wood is extremely dark. Are there any natural hardwoods close to this color?
 

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10 whole fingers
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Discussion Starter #8
Some bed set ideas - (I didn't make these)
Mahogany


Live edge headboard & spalted maple
I'm really liking that bed set, and our room would work perfectly for it. We have an inset area with 8ft ceilings that vault into 10ft.

Just curious, How do you get a board sliced like the second example I quoted? We had a gorgeous red oak drop in a storm last year. I pulled a huge 10ft chunk into our barn.
 

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Just curious, How do you get a board sliced like the second example I quoted? We had a gorgeous red oak drop in a storm last year. I pulled a huge 10ft chunk into our barn.
You'd have to find a mill to slice it, unless you have an bandsaw large enough to resaw it. If you can't find a mill you can go online to find live edge slabs. The hardwood store near me sells them but stock is limited. Maybe there's a place near you.
 

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If you did something like the top pic, you could create a hidden gun cabinet like this:

You'd just have to have enough room on the side. By using raised panel construction, it would be very easy to hide the joints.

If you don't have enough room on the side, you could do something like this:

Think cutting it down the center and having one tower on each side of the bed.
 
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