Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bennett's Toddler Bed - FINALLY done!

This past Spring, I discovered this awesome blog - http://www.knock-offwood.com/. The blogger is a stay at home mom in Alaska who designs and builds her own wood furniture. She generously creates plans and posts them on her blog for all of us to use and replicate! Her designs are inspired by some of my favorite stores - Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, etc. HEAVEN for me. However, other than a shop class I took in 7th grade, I had NO experience with woodworking! But, ever fearless, I embarked on this project -with the help of my husband of course. And let's be honest - he really did most of the work because stuff like saws and drills scare me a little bit. But, I will get there one day.
So, after obsessing over this blog for weeks (literally) I decided that our first project would be a toddler bed for our crib-jumping son Bennett. I printed off the plans and headed to Lowe's for the lumber. All in one day, we bought the supplies, made the cuts and assembled the head and foot boards!

The bed really was beautiful "naked" but I wanted to stain it to match the rest of Bennett's nursery furniture, which is Mahogany. That had to be put off to another day, and actually took several days and coats to get it perfect. Then I got pregnant. And sick. And nothing other than eating (sometimes) and sleeping (a lot) and breathing has really been accomplished since then!

So, we started this project on April 10th and completed it yesterday, on July 5th. We're real efficient, as you can see. But it is DONE. And I love it!
Bennett slept in it for the first time last night and did great! I was nervous that he would fall out because he's a hurricane when he sleeps, but he stayed in just fine!
We did learn a few important lessons in the process, however, that I feel I should pass on to you, should you decide you want to attempt a great feat such as this ;)
1. I learned that lumber doesn't actually measure what they are labled. A 1x6 board is actually only 5.5'' wide, not 6'' as the label would lead you to believe. This is important in figuring out measurements, obviously. Maybe this is common knowledge, but I had no idea.
2. Cut as you go. We pre-cut everything and that ended up being a mistake (albeit fixable) because some of the pieces didn't match up perfectly. So, we had to fix pieces here and there. When pieces go side-by-side, mark the cut for subsequent pieces off the first cut so they are all uniform.
3. When cutting, add on 1/8'' for the amount the saw takes off.
4. Double-check your plans before you start cutting. Sometimes there are small mistakes in plans and you want to catch that before you do anything permanent! For example, the plans we used from Knock-Off Wood were for a 26.5'' mattress, when a crib mattress is actually 28.5'' wide. I accomodated for this by using larger pieces of wood than plans called for, but fewer panels. Read the comments for each plan entry and see what others have to say - they often point out potential challenges and flaws in the plans!
5. Sand REALLY WELL. The finish is ALLLLLL in the sanding. An electrical sander is a must.
Next up - bunk beds for Carter!!!! He's been begging for bunk beds forever! Which will come in handy with Baby 3.0 makes her arrival and Bennett has to give up the nursery!

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