A Bed-time Story!

Here are all the raw materials ready for work to begin.
The first job was to deal with the top of the posts - to make them something more interesting than just square.
This is the result of a couple of different router bits. More work needed yet, but getting there.
Next, the bed slats were cut to length, tops rounded over and sanded.
Time to start on the bed rails (the sides of the bed). A template was made for the rail plates which is fixed to the inside of the rail. The router is fitted with a guide bush and the template is made larger than the rail plate by the difference between the cutter diameter and the bush diameter.
When the router has cut out the waste wood, the resulting mortice looks like this. The rounded corners are unavoidable, as a round bush cannot follow a square corner.
A neat little tool known as a corner chisel sorts this out.
Once the chisel is located into the mortice and the chisel given a sharp blow with a hammer, a right-angled cut is made. This picture shows the left corner with the waste removed, the other ready for paring with a sharp chisel.
The rail plate is fitted and the centres of the screw holes are marked with another clever little tool.
The result is a perfectly flush recessed rail plate. This ensures that the weight is also taken by the shoulders of the mortice instead of relying totally on the fixing screws.
The bed rails are then prepared further by rounding over the top and bottom outside edges and the inside top edge, giving a nice smooth profile.
Time now to make another template - this one is to recess the mating part of the bed fittings into the upright posts. A more complicated template, requiring the use of a smaller router bit.
This shot shows the result of using the template - a perfectly flush fitting, even without any screws.
The bed posts have all now had the shaped mortices cut to take the supporting part of the bed fittings (one can be seen in this picture). Now, the bed rails and the slat runners need to be prepared ready for assembly - this shot shows some of the 60 biscuit slots necessary.
Here, the glue has been applied and the biscuits inserted, all ready for clamping together.
Next job was to prepare for panel making. Boards were cut to length, then matched for grain, growth rings alternated, biscuit slots cut, glue applied and here they are sitting in the clamps whilst the glue cures.
The bed rails are now completed, sanded, slat measurements done and the bed plate fittings installed. The bed slats are visible behind to the right.
The mortices were then marked out and cut in all the bed posts, using my dedicated hollow-chisel morticer. The design involves ten tenons and fourteen mortices.
Here is a detail of a mortice slot, showing the through hole drilled ready for the dowel pin. This passes through the tenon and is glued in place, making the joint very strong and totally secure.
Here is one of the corresponding tenons - quite a substantial joint, essential in bed construction. The tenon will only be drilled for its dowel pin once it is clamped in place in its mortice.
Once the panels were made and raised, a first dry fit was in order.
Here is a detail of one of the dowel pins ready to be driven home through the tenon.
Here it is fully home. Once the glue has dried, the dowel will be trimmed off and sanded flush.
Almost there - now for the small step-ladder to "climb the wooden hill" to bed.
The ladder was made with sliding dovetail joints - very stable and secure, they cannot pull apart. Here's a closeup of one of the joints.
Here's the finished article, custom-fitted into the alcove, above the ingress for the stairwell ceiling. It's ready for occupation now that the matching safety rail has been fitted.

Ray Girling 1998 - 2019