I tackled the final assembly of the desk base in two phases: glue-up first, followed by peg installation. Start by assembling the two right-side outer legs into a single unit (connected by the right-side skirt at the top and the side leg brace farther down).
After you clamp the parts tightly, install the eight drawer bank rails on the front and back of the drawer bank. Finally, pull up a chair and be the first of many, many people to use your desk over the generations. When I designed and built this desk, I used some key approaches for reducing my shop’s environmental impact.
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For maximum stability, I made the valet with a flat base, with aluminum rods to serve as a shoe rack. Once assembled, glue the entire hanger support assembly to the back of the back panel, keeping it flush at the bottom.
In keeping with the modern look, I used aluminum rod for dowels to reinforce the joints for the top bar blocks and the attachment of the hanger support. The curved hanger consists of six strips of walnut and a strip of aluminum flat-bar, all laminated around a form. To begin laminating, layer the strips on the form, applying glue to the mating surfaces of the wood.
Starting from the middle, bend the strips around the form with clamps, checking to make sure the edges stay flush.
Once the hanger is solid, you need to drill six holes—four for the reinforcing aluminum dowels, and two for hanger support rods.
To mount the hanger on the stand, put some epoxy in the holes in the bottom of the hanger and in the top of the hanger arm. Working with the aluminum rods and flat bar for the hanger is similar to working with wood; you just need stronger tools to shape and cut the material.
A laminated maple top, bench dogs, and a bench vise make this a fitting centerpiece for any home workshop.
Purchase the full Simple-to-Build Workbench Woodworking Plan, including detailed diagrams and complete material list. Learn more about this downloadable woodworking plan which includes step-by-step instructions, a materials list, a cutting diagram, and how-to photography. Every now and then, a really special project presents itself – one that helps move the woodworker into a new direction, is challenging and most importantly turns out well. Even though I have been woodworking for almost three decades, I had never attempted a bed before.
Now I have the pleasure of adding a successful bed project to the list of things I have constructed, and early in 2012 another "first" will take place. For now, I have a recap of the design and constuction process, along with a little background about the tornado event itself since that day was so central to this project. A note about my woodworking plans: I go to great lengths to organize them so they will be easy to follow.
Thanks for the kind words Jason, but believe me the damage inflicted by those tornadoes was such that this bed is only a drop in the bucket. I would like to have seen more step-step instructions instead of having to figure out what you did and how when a picture throws in a step I didn't know anything about.
Whether you need a double, queen, or king, this bed fills the bill, and does so in grand style. Sand these flat and smooth after taking them out of the clamps, but don’t cut them to final size yet; custom trimming comes later.
Carefully position the pair of legs on the left the same distance apart as the pair on the right, then measure the length and width of the drawer bank panel required to fit in between.
Bring the legs and braces together completely (without glue) when the fit is perfect, then mark and bore holes for the tapered pegs that lock these joints together.
To minimize seasonal expansion and contraction of the top, choose boards with growth rings as parallel as possible with each board face. I used brush-on urethane, hand-rubbed with pumice and rottenstone, to create a glass-smooth surface.
Use locally cut, air-dried lumber According to research by the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, it takes 550 per cent more energy to produce kiln-dried lumber than to prepare air-dried wood. Durability by design The longer your projects remain in active use, the less environmental impact they have per year.
Choose non-toxic finishes Water-based and penetrating-oil finishes don’t release harmful vapours into the air, nor do they require solvents for cleaning up. As you rough cut the parts, arrange the grain orientation to make the most of your wood’s natural beauty.
To prepare them, raise the blade to half the thickness of the wood and complete a test cut on scrap.


Cut the four base pieces, then use a dado blade to cut the half-lap joints that connect everything.
Treat the aluminum centre strip the same way, except scuff it well with 100-grit sandpaper first and use slow-cure epoxy in place of wood glue for that lamination. I chose to do a stepped recess to act as a small drawer, but you can configure this tray to hold whatever you’d like simply by switching router profiles. This process will mark exactly where on the drawer front you need to drill to accept the guide rods. Sand the entire project to 180-grit, and continue sanding any exposed end-grain to 220-grit. It's easy to show you how great this mission-style sofa looks, but you'll have to build one yourself to find out how incredibly comfortable it is.
It contains many photos and illustrations and even a link to the SketchUp model used for this project. I called the project "The Tornado Bed" because it is being donated to the tornado relief effort resulting from the terrible tornado out break that occurred earlier this year. It will become my first donated project - it will be given to a family who had their home completely destroyed on the morning of April 27th. It is offered as a e-book in a magazine format titled Making a Queen Size Bed Step-by-Step. Prior to building a project, thoroughly read through the plan and make sure you understand all of the process.
It isn't the most difficult thing to do, except you have to be extra careful with a router. Even today, more than six months later, there are still articles in the local paper about the impact of the storms.
By simply changing the dimensions of a few parts and the quantity of spindles, as specified in the Materials List, you can build the bed in double, queen, or king size. The pegged mortises and tenons, square pegs and tusk tenons all came from this same inspiration.  Start work on your desk by preparing the outer legs, inner legs, skirts (front, rear and side) and leg braces (side and rear).
Since these mortises are open at the top, it’s not difficult to chop them out using a mallet and chisel. Rounded corners soften the look of the design, and also help edges and the finish resist wear better. Slip the front and back skirts down into the notches at the top of the right-hand drawer bank side assembly.
Complete the desk base by adding anchor blocks for securing the desktop, then sand or plane all joints flush.
Prepare this feature now, along with the dados that secure the ends of the shelves and the top ends of the dividers. Penetrating finishes, such as polymerized tung oil or wipe-on polyurethane, are options that eliminate the need for cleaning up brushes. Since energy use almost always creates a significant environmental impact, the less we use, the better.
A strong design in a style that continues to look good saves resources and energy while also building a heritage that increases in value as time goes on. Every time you use a chisel, handsaw or plane, you’re saving electricity while also producing less noise and dust.
One of the greenest wood finishes is hemp oil, a product that Canada is a world leader in producing. Assemble the base using wood glue in the joints and a little epoxy in the holes for the rod. Put a little epoxy into these holes and slide the rod in, then attach the blocks to the back panel. Put more epoxy into the holes at the top of the hanger and insert 1″-long pieces of rod to complete the hanger mounting. Apply a heavy coat of oil to the entire piece, wait 10 minutes, then wipe off any excess (and any that has found it’s way onto the aluminum). We relied on inexpensive lumberyard stock and rugged mortise-and-tenon joinery to construct the base. You can download them in the normal way; as a PDF file, but the plan becomes interactive with their IdeaRoom software.
If you find something to be confusing, all you have to do is email me your question and lets talk about it.
You can rest easy about installing the spindles because there's no need for repetitive drilling and chiseling of mortises.
Prepare matching tenons on the ends of the skirts and bring them together with the legs for a trial fit. Tilt the left-hand drawer bank side assembly upright, over the ends of the tenons on the front and rear skirts. Eventually, you’ll also need to add drawer guides extending from the front to the back drawer rails, but leave them off for now. Drive screws into oval shaped holes in the edging strips, to allow for movement of the desktop across its width.


To keep things simple and rustic, I used screws to join cubby parts, covered with square hardwood pegs. Drill holes in the desktop for securing the cubby, then mount the top assembly to the leg frame. And you are keeping poorly built furniture from overwhelming the landfills; I hope to make this desk a family heirloom.
Drill these holes in two stages, with two different drill bits to make mounting the hanger possible. Begin by gluing the pants bar into place with epoxy, then insert the stretchers with glue applied to the ends. Wait overnight, then repeat the process, rubbing the piece down with #0000 steel wool between coats.
Instead, thanks to a simple indexing jig, into the grooves in the footboard and headboard rails, ensuring consistent spindle fit and perfect alignment.
Sand these flat and smooth on their outside surfaces, then bring them together with the other legs and skirts. Later on, the cubby top fastens to the top with screws driven from underneath, while the top is secured with screws driven up through holes in the anchor blocks. Taper the pegs’ tips, then tap them into the countersunk screw holes along with a little glue. The glass fits into a rabbet groove in the back of the door frames, held in place with wooden strips glued lightly. Once the epoxy has set and the glue is dry, sand the rod flush to the base using a random orbit sander spinning 150-grit paper or a belt sander.
After the assembly is finished, slide this stop over the end of the rod and secure it in place with a little more epoxy. After five coats, rub down the surface one more time, then apply a coat of dark paste wax and buff. Best of all their IdeaRoom software is available for use on a mobile device like a smart phone or tablet. Your process would be similar.On the Tornado Bed, I cut the panels, rails and stiles with my table saw. The front and back legs on that side are connected with the drawer bank panel that you’ll add later.
Finally, to fit the side and rear leg braces, measure the space between the legs that the braces will span, then prepare shoulders with the required distance between them. As you do this, don’t forget to install the rear leg brace; it has to go in at the same time.
Drawer work I love handcut dovetails, but the traditional orientation of pins and tails makes them harder to admire than they should be.
The pieces should be loose enough to fit with gentle pressure, but tight enough to stay assembled without glue. The easiest way to do this is to centre the hanger back on the form and drill straight down into the form. Also, notice how the two inner legs interlock with the front and rear skirts using half-lap joints.
That’s why I reoriented the dovetails on these drawers to show the trademark dovetail triangles front and centre. If you take a more conventional corner-joinery route, remember that you may need to adjust the lengths of the sides, front and back if you go with rabbeted corners, biscuits or butt joints.
In keeping with the traditional theme, I set each drawer on a single hardwood runner with a dado groove cut in the centre.
These runners slide over a hardwood drawer guide fastened to the bottom of each drawer opening. Next, make matching pairs of drawer runners and guides that slide well across each other, then fasten the runners to the underside of the drawers.
Wooden drawer runners will take some time to make, but the all-wood construction is worth it. Anchor the drawer guides into the desk opening if you’re using the wood-on-wood approach, which can be tricky.
The position of the guides determines where each drawer sits in the opening, so location is key. Cut the drawer guides to length so they fit between the rails, then slide one drawer and its guide into position.
Arrange the drawer so it has clearance on all sides, then drive one screw into each end of the drawer guide to lock it in place.
You may need to sand the drawer guides and runners and apply more wax for the drawer to slide well.



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