Cory’s Purpleheart Bed

Viewer Project - By Cory Spence from Parksville, British Columbia
Added on June 22, 2014

As a Professional Cabinetmaker, it tends to be difficult to find the time to build projects for my loved ones…as I am always working on the paid projects. After relocating my family to the west coast, I was able to find employment in a custom cabinet shop where I was allowed to stay after-hours and work on my own personal projects, as I did not have a shop space of my own and I only owned small power and hand tools. After bouncing ideas around for a year and a chance stop at the local hardwood supplier where my wife and I found a beautiful timber of Purpleheart (2″x 13″ x 16″) and some shorts of walnut, the idea was cemented and we committed to the project.

It took 3 months of staying late and occasional weekends to complete the project. I used through-tenon joinery with a notch and wedge to secure it in place. The dowels on the top of the post were made from-the-posts with a jig/fixture on a table saw. I shaped the inside of the walnut frame with a table saw by skewing the lumber and angling the blade to create the cove and tenon separately which left the peak shape in the profile. Walnut was the wise choice on this part, as it was relatively easy to sand out the saw kerfs. The “bowties” or “dovetail keys” at the miters of the frame were a nice treat. I used the hardness of the Purpleheart and a deadblow hammer to drive them into a small cut from the walnut, which once executed, were extremely strong.

Due to dry climate and poor storage, I had to prep the Walnut veneer prior to pressing it onto the MDF Panels by using a glycerine mixture and clamps/culls, in a newspaper, fiberglass, veneer, fiberglass, newspaper sandwich to soften the brittle veneer. The supporting bed structure is Alder. It locks together with tenons and dadoes, with adjustable feet on all supports. The rails were re-sawn from the original board and almost ruined the whole project as they warped dramatically. However, they were able to be re-shaped through a process of clamping and bending against the warp. They are attached to the headboard and foot board with standard bed hardware from Lee Valley.

The finishing was done by hand with Minwax wipe-on poly. Three coats with a sanding/slurry process in between and a final buffing with shop rags and a thin amount of wipe-on poly to make it shine. (My wife had her hand in on the whole process BTW)