Monday, July 21, 2008

Variations on a Theme

Last Wednesday the Formidable Mrs and I were discussing something to do with decorating, fairly late, and she mentioned wanting to have a headboard for the guest bedroom downstairs.

"Perhaps a padded headboard, some foam over some plywood, covered in duck." I allowed how that was doable. "We could maybe do tufted, with buttons."

I imagined a tufted, padded headboard, and suggested "with really big buttons? Like, dinner-plate sized?"

"Like your mom has in her sewing room?"


"Where do you get those?"

"Dad made it, on the lathe. Hmm." At this point I'm thinking about what I might need a lathe for, and not much is coming to mind when she interrupts my reverie with "I don't think we need a lathe, lathes are scary."

"Yeah, okay, that's not a good enough reason to get a lathe. You know, to fit the theme of the room, we could do an Adirondack headboard. Just a bunch of vertical boards, rounded on top in a big hump."

"Oh, yes, or like a loveseat, with two humps. That would really go well in there."

Thus was born the Adirondack Headboard project. I went down and measured the bed and frame to get an idea of the dimensions we wanted and doodled up a design on some graph paper, then went looking around the garage, where I found some likely looking 1x6 pine boards I had on hand for the random woodworking needs that seem to come up once in a while. They looked just right. I had a 1x5 and a 1x3 laying about that would make good cross pieces. I set them out to work on the next day.

Did you know that a crescent wrench makes a reasonable compass in a pinch? I drew the arcs for the tops of the boards with a pencil in the jaws and my finger in the hole at the end of the handle of my 8" crescent wrench. After cutting all the boards to length with the chopsaw, I cut the curves with a jigsaw then sanded everything smooth with the random-orbit sander. Easy as pie. I've only ever made pumpkin pie, which is pretty easy, but I imagine some other sorts of pie may be somewhat more challenging. I laid out the cut and sanded parts as seen above. In the evening when we were all home, wife and son helped paint on some shellac to seal the porous, knotty pine boards up for painting.

Another few rounds of sanding, painting with primer, sanding, painting with tinted primer, sanding, painting and sanding a couple more times, then spraying on about five coats of polyurethane varnish, which all told took another three days to complete, and finally adding a bit of hardware so it could attach to the bedframe, and we have something that looks like this.

And with the bed pushed back into place, the finished product looks like this:

The guest bedroom now has a headboard that fits the theme of the room (well, the sort-of theme, we're not counting the treadmill as a theme element), that only took a few days from conception to completion, and looks like it was made to be there. Which it was.

I also doodled up a design for an Adirondack side table; we'll see if that ever happens.