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Ash bed WIP

This is where we don't want anything but evidence of your finest wood butchering in all its glorious, and photograph laden glory. Bring your finished products or WIP's, we love them all, so long as there's pictures, and plenty of 'em!

Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 19 Oct 2021, 12:38

Tony, thanks for the pics of your lovely chair - a really good example of how short-lived the white colour can be. The "after" picture is much more natural looking, in my opinion. But just picking up on boxwood+linseed, it's a long established and much loved combination. For example, on this nice old infill plane I think it looks glorious:

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oiled boxwood infills
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The extra ingredient, of course, is rather a lot of time. :)
Bill Carter gets similar results more immediately with nitric acid, but I might be drifting away from the question of what is a practical finish on a domestic bed here... I'll come back to that in a moment.

Clogs, I'll not be renting any big power saws. I don't plan even to ask my next door neighbour to lend me his Festool tracksaw. For me, making stuff isn't about the shortest, easiest way to the finish, it's far more about enjoying the journey. And just as a country walk is more enjoyable if it includes a bit of a scramble uphill or over rocks, some of this build will need more physical effort than my other recent projects. I'm not sure about what a "shaper" is - is it American for a spindle moulder? - but I don't think I will be using one. I do have this very basic table saw and meant to include this photo in an earlier post:

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table saw
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It can just cut 70mm deep so was right at its limits here, but I did use it once I had got a straight line established. I just didn't take any action shots half way through a cut. :(

And I do have a planer - that plugs in - an old Bosch from back in the 90s when I thought power tools were what everyone needed to have. If I need to plane a huge amount off anything, I might get it out of its box again and use it; I'll see how the planing work goes.

And so, while still prevaricating about the exact design and how to get all the bits out of the timber, back to the question of the finish.

I trimmed up and planed an offcut from the legs and put samples of four finishes onto half of each piece. All the photos are taken indoors under artificial light, which isn't ideal but will mean that they are as consistent as I can make them. Here's the first line-up of what I have to hand:

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four finishes
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and here they are a bit closer:

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can you see the difference?
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I'm not really sure what that proves at the moment, except that none of them makes very much difference to the colour. The polyurethane varnish is the flattest, most invisible finish of them all and might win just for the convenience factor, as it dries quickly and is low odour, but it does need careful brushing to look good.

The shellac is mixed from flakes which were just ordinary flakes, not a selected extra pale grade.

I'll give them all another coat when they are ready and see how they look then.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Mike G » 19 Oct 2021, 14:01

You need about 6 or 8 weeks to see the differences emerge, Andy. Longer, perhaps. I predict that the oils will both start looking naff at about the same rate. I made some seriously pricey bits of furniture for Liberty of London in the 90s.......oiled ash. I had to visit a few months later to do a repair to one, and it was embarrassing. A stale urine colour......browny orange.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 19 Oct 2021, 15:31

Ah, ok, slowing down a bit is something I can probably manage...
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Cabinetman » 20 Oct 2021, 08:38

Mike G wrote:You need about 6 or 8 weeks to see the differences emerge, Andy. Longer, perhaps. I predict that the oils will both start looking naff at about the same rate. I made some seriously pricey bits of furniture for Liberty of London in the 90s.......oiled ash. I had to visit a few months later to do a repair to one, and it was embarrassing. A stale urine colour......browny orange.

And sunlight of course, out of interest put two bits of tape on each sample to show the original colours prior to sunlight exposure, it won’t take many days for the colour to start to change. Ian
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 20 Oct 2021, 08:47

That's a good idea about tape, Ian. I've found some more finishes to try and will prepare some more samples today.
Then I will put them all in a window.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 20 Oct 2021, 11:31

Here we are then. Instead of any hand cut joinery, I have delved into the back of the cupboard and found some more pale finishes that people might want to use on ash. In the hope that this will be of use to some, I prepped another offcut and produced these samples.

The raw linseed oil was noticeably yellow as it came out of the bottle but it's hard to see a difference in the photo at the moment. The others all seem pretty pale and inoffensive to me at the moment.

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five more finishes
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and closer up

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I've taped over parts of these and also the four from yesterday and put them in a south facing window:

IMG_7673.JPG
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Tomorrow I shall give them all a second coat. Then I'll wait until there's a visible difference and update this thread.

Meanwhile, I need to get on with drawing and deciding on the exact details of construction and dimensions. It's something I don't really enjoy doing but I do understand how it's much easier to rub out a pencil line and draw it again than it is to stretch a piece of wood to make it longer or wider.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Pete Maddex » 20 Oct 2021, 11:49

AndyT wrote:Meanwhile, I need to get on with drawing and deciding on the exact details of construction and dimensions. It's something I don't really enjoy doing but I do understand how it's much easier to rub out a pencil line and draw it again than it is to stretch a piece of wood to make it longer or wider.


You can get Rubber wood...

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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby pitch pine » 20 Oct 2021, 17:07

About 12 years ago I made some ash shelves for my living room. I heeded the warnings from others about it yellowing with some oil finishes and just used a sanding sealer (can't remember which one) to finish them. They have gone a nice light brown, just darker than a rich tea biscuit. I think since I put them up they have had a little furniture polish or wax (without colour). Is this darkening the effect of UV on the timber?
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 20 Oct 2021, 17:17

pitch pine wrote:About 12 years ago I made some ash shelves for my living room. I heeded the warnings from others about it yellowing with some oil finishes and just used a sanding sealer (can't remember which one) to finish them. They have gone a nice light brown, just darker than a rich tea biscuit. I think since I put them up they have had a little furniture polish or wax (without colour). Is this darkening the effect of UV on the timber?


I think it is. I don't think you can stop it and I don't want to. If anyone has any photos of ash that has gone a horrible colour I'd be interested to see them.

I forgot about sanding sealer though. Time for one more sample perhaps!
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 20 Oct 2021, 17:18

Pete Maddex wrote:
You can get Rubber wood...

Pete



Yes, I'll get some for the mattress! :D
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Sheffield Tony » 20 Oct 2021, 18:21

Andy, I think you need some colour references for the photographs. Different lighting, camera settings all make it a bit subjective. So we need references for Rich tea, Digestive, etc ... ;)
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Cabinetman » 20 Oct 2021, 19:33

Andy, might be illustrative to put a bit of tape on the treated bits as well?
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Steve Maskery » 20 Oct 2021, 20:12

Ooh, I'm going to like this. I like the design and will probably nick it myself in the fullness of time.

In a previous life I made an entire lounge suite out of English Ash (breakfront bookcase,Queen Anne bookcase, fire surround, Hi-Fi cabinet, coffee table standard lamp, library steps - I could go on) and the early pieces were finished in Danish Oil. Ghastly urine colour very quickly. It didn't help using an old cartoon printed T-sirt to apply it. The result can only be described as Top Cat Pee. Use white cotton with whatever finish you end up with.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 20 Oct 2021, 22:52

Cabinetman wrote:Andy, might be illustrative to put a bit of tape on the treated bits as well?


Good point. I'll give them all a second coat tomorrow and do that then.

And Steve, I'm sure you could knock up one easily with all your machinery and jigs.

The shaping is all very plain, it's just a case of plenty of planing and then cutting rather a lot of mortise and tenon joints. :)
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Steve Maskery » 20 Oct 2021, 23:42

AndyT wrote: Steve, I'm sure you could knock up one easily with all your machinery and jigs.


Having seen your Doll's House of a workshop, I'm gobsmacked that you are even attempting this! :)

I'm at the foothills of considering downsizing, and I think I could learn a lot from you.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 21 Oct 2021, 14:17

On the finish question, I've added sanding sealer to a tenth sample and given the others a second coat.
I've masked off a stripe of each treated area. They are now all propped up in the window and I'll report back when I can see a difference, calibrating against ISBNs (International Standard Biscuit Numbers ;)).

I phoned Wentwood, who confirmed that all my boards are air dried, down to about 12%.
I shall weigh them all, rearrange the stack to allow better airflow and monitor what happens. At the moment, the boards all feel seasoned and give a nice clear note when struck, not just a damp thud.

I don't think they will shrink enough to fit easily into the workshop though - I'll need to be inventive until they are shorter than the bench.

But I have made a single bed and full sized doors on there before now, so I stand a chance, if I keep it tidy.

One of our first projects when we moved in was a set of shelves for the kitchen, like the top half of dresser. It was all glued up, on the bench, ready to install, when I thought about measuring the clearance on the steps up from the basement. Fortunately, it cleared, but with less than an inch to spare!

This bed will come apart into easy sections.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby johnward » 24 Oct 2021, 09:27

AndyT wrote:Picking up on some of the other comments and previous projects, thanks again for all of these.



John - one thing I need to decide is whether to have a mattress-depth gap at the top, like you have, or add another cross-rail, or bring the slats all the way down. Now that you have used yours for a while, how do you find it? Is the gap useful for bed making or do you wish it had been filled in a bit?

;)


Sorry for the delay Andy, I've been on R and R at my brother's in Cornwall - weather terrible but I'm refreshed.
The photo is a bit deceptive. The gap between the top of the mattress and the rail is about 30mm and so hardly big enough to get your hand through but fitting the bottom sheet is easy enough - I thought it unnessessary to extend the slats down to the bottom rail.
The long rails are 150 x 28mm, the head and foot rails are 75 x 28mm, the legs are 60 x 60mm and the vertical slats are 50 x 20mm in Oak with the centre ones 75mm wide in Utile as is the rest of the bed - intended this extra width as a cotrast but should have been twice that width to look right.
Hope this helps and god luck with the build.

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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Andy Kev. » 28 Oct 2021, 06:33

Andy,

out of interest, have you worked out how much this bed is going to weigh? I've only ever made a small cupboardy thing out of ash and I've always been surprised by how hefty it is.

I wonder if bed frame + mattress etc. might add up to an awful lot. I know that one doesn't habitually shove beds around but every now and then you end up hoovering under them.

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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 28 Oct 2021, 12:34

Andy Kev. wrote:Andy,

out of interest, have you worked out how much this bed is going to weigh? I've only ever made a small cupboardy thing out of ash and I've always been surprised by how hefty it is.

I wonder if bed frame + mattress etc. might add up to an awful lot. I know that one doesn't habitually shove beds around but every now and then you end up hoovering under them.

Andy.


That's a good question Andy.

If I ever walk round shops looking at furniture, I find I really don't like the stuff that is very chunky. Boards that are 50mm thick where 15mm would be plenty, table legs that would support a farm gate, etc. Some recent stuff which makes a play of being recycled can be like this - scaffold planks need to be sturdy, small stools much less so.

So, in general, I'm aiming at dimensions which are pretty close to the pine bed we have at the moment, with a bit of upgrading.

That means that the legs will be about the same section - about 65mm. But I think the long rails are a bit undersized and I will be making them deeper, about 100mm x25mm rather than 75 x 25mm. Ash should be a bit stiffer anyway, and that little increase will make a big difference. I don't want to lose space under the bed though, so won't be going any deeper. Much of the extra can be on top, where it will make a deeper "tray" for the mattress.

I've not done any calculations but I am confident it won't be out of the range of traditional bed construction, just a bit more than the pine. That said, most of the weight at present is in the pocket sprung mattress, which is fairly new and is not changing.

And it will definitely come apart into pieces that we can carry up stairs, through doors etc.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby Sheffield Tony » 28 Oct 2021, 12:56

Ash is about 25% denser than red pine, if that helps ?
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 28 Oct 2021, 14:25

I'll weigh the bits later and compare with the old pine.

At the moment I'm letting the wood settle for a while, which coincides with other domestic distractions. I have weighed all the planks, so I can see if they are still losing moisture. I might find some time before Christmas to make a start but I don't know when.

From discussions about putting machinery upstairs, I've no worries about overloading - suspended floors generally survive crowds of heavy people ok.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby johnward » 28 Oct 2021, 16:32

My 4' bed is made from Utile and a bit of Oak, and Beech for the mattress slats and it's easy enough to move about. Not sure how the weight of Ash compares with Utile.

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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby RogerM » 28 Oct 2021, 19:51

colour comparison.jpg
Colour comparison
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Sorry to be coming in a little late to this discussion. This birds-eye maple was given one very thin coat of Osmo Raw (which contains a little white pigment) and then two coats of Osmo Top Oil. The loose piece is a piece of scrap, newly sanded before being treated in the same way, 6 months after the original was treated. There was no discernable difference in colour. Two years on, the maple is very slightly creamier, but by no means yellow.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby AndyT » 17 Nov 2021, 16:34

Thanks for all the input on finishes and colour. I think I know what I will do, but I'll wait until later in the build to decide.

Meanwhile, the stack of wood has been quietly sitting there. I had to shift it all onto the bench for a while, so some work could be done on the house. I think you'll see why I didn't do any work on it when all the wood was in the workshop:

IMG_20211025_150037_DRO.jpg
where's my bench?
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But that's all done now and I have had the pleasure of rebuilding the stack again:

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ash stack
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Really attentive readers may spot that I roughed out all four legs, but there's another change as well.

After several sessions going through this lot with a cutting list and marking out which pieces I could get out of each board, I realised that I didn't have quite enough wood. Some boards looked big but had too many defects to yield more than a single piece.

So I decided to make my first trip to Yandles. And it was just as I expected; a really wide range of boards, planed on one side, clearly priced, and as much time as you want to sift through the stacks for the right boards for your project. Hence the two new bits with the blue ends which will be the long rails on either side.

And although the shopping experience was lovely, I do have two little misgivings. One is that they only had ash in inch or two inch boards. Most of what I have already is ex 1¼". So these two may be a bit thin. I'm telling myself that I can fix that by making them 4½" deep rather than 3½". Also, I'll glue the old rails onto the backs, to support the ends of the slats, so the whole construction will be stronger than before.
The other thing is that this is probably the kilned ash that Rob warned me about... :eusa-naughty:

However, in my defence, I did avoid a few boards which were noticeably much lighter than the rest, and I can tell myself that the work to be done on these is pretty minimal - saw, plane, cut two stub tenons - so even if it is a bit recalcitrant, I expect to manage it.

Well, that's a lot of rambling words without any woodwork, so here are a few photos of how I spent this morning. What they don't really convey is the effort of twisting these long bits of wood through two doorways and up a step to get them in to my very full, far from spacious workshop without smashing the lights.

You'll recognise the usual steps by now - crosscuts on the Workmate, because that's what fits in the room and can be wedged level on the sloping floor. Rip cuts on my cheap and basic Axminster tablesaw from the late 90s, which can just about work if it's lined up so the timber goes corner to corner.

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Nonsense, there's plenty of room!
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looking for the good bits with straight grain
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ripping a straight reference edge on the side I want it
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planing that edge a bit straighter
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And so, after a pleasant work-out, I now have most of a set of parts. These are all oversized, but much easier to handle. I think they are all dry enough to carry on with, but will leave them a little while to make sure.

IMG_7684.JPG
kit of parts
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At present, I'm still intending to hand plane this lot. I tell myself that it's like choosing to go for a walk - yes, I could get to the destination quicker by driving, but my aim is to enjoy the journey. If it's all too much, I know I can take up any of several kind offers of help with machining.
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Re: Ash bed WIP

Postby NickM » 17 Nov 2021, 17:06

Excellent! I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy dimensioning that lot by hand.
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