This is the back to my future master bedroom headboard created from beadboard that surrounded a hole that was a toilet in my basement. It was covered in yellow paint, black and white graffiti, cobwebs, and spider sacks when I tore it down. These are the best before pictures I could find as the vision of turning it into a headboard came much later.
Once I had decided to make the headboard, I scoured the Internet for design ideas and I came across the blog of Jen Woodhouse – The House of Wood DIY Life of a Military Wife. She has a ton of cool plans/projects, but the one that caught my eye was her Evelyn Chevron King Bed. I got the plans over a year ago, so this wood has been patiently waiting to be reinvented. The plans include side rails and foot board, but I’m not making those due to my adjustable bed frame. Open shop hours are Wednesday and Saturday and I literally thought I have this portion down in one week, two days. NOT.
The first step was getting the sheet of birch plywood to the shop. Thankfully Tom (my finish carpenter/foundation repairer) was willing to pick a sheet up from Home Depot and bring it to me at the shop. Per the plans I ripped it down to 77″ in width. Next was preparing the beadboard. I knew I wanted to remove the paint and graffiti and I thought it would mean stripping. However with one pass through a planner it removed most of the paint and graffiti. What was left I felt would add character, so the plan was hatched and I spent the bulk of the first day planning down the boards.
Once I got what I thought would be enough I found and marked the center lines (both vertical and horizontal) on my plywood and I started cutting 45 degree cuts. Jen’s plans had measurements for each length board, but she warned to measure first. I made it one step easier. I cut the 45s to be placed on the lines and left the boards long off the edge and planned to just trim all sides down once all boards were glued and nailed in place.
I started cutting pieces on July 13. I got the last piece glued and nailed in place on August 3. Primarily due to the limited open shop hours available at the shop I was using. I didn’t work every Wednesday and Saturday and some days I only got a couple of hours in, but this worked my patience. I didn’t butt the pieces tightly during the cutting phase. I nailed and glued all of the pieces in one quadrant first. When I started in the next about 3 boards in the lines didn’t align and by the end it was off by 1/2″. I had to take them apart (I had glued a few) and scrape the groove or tongue of each piece. Just the thickness of the residue paint was causing the issue.
Next came the trim up. In that raw finished state I knew I had created something special.
From this point forward I am not working from the plans. The wall that the head of my bed is located on is not wide enough to allow room for nightstands on either side. I currently use a TV table to hold remotes, pocket contents, etc. I had the idea of building a shelve above the headboard, which will give it depth away from the wall and creating dead space. The manager of the shop I was using added to the idea and suggested I put shelves along the sides too. So with that plan hatched I decided it would be really cool to have part of the backboard be the back of the top shelf. The board straddled across the two work tables, which meant I would be pushing as far as I could, but then need to go around to the other side of the table to pull through the remainder of cut. In that transition I pulled slightly away from my straight edge. Fortunately not much damage and if I hadn’t shared it in this post, most people would not be able to see it once it’s all complete. Learn from the mistakes of others.
With that cut, it was time to take the board home to apply the finish. There is a gentleman, Gene, that has adopted the shop donating all sorts of great tools. He’s a master woodsman and super knowledgeable. I was toying with either Polyacrylic, Polyurethane without or without stain. Gene recommended and prefers Danish Oil. I spent an evening on the Internet doing research and decided to take that route. I purchased Watco Danish Oil in natural. Super easy product to apply. I used a cheap sponge paint brush. They tell you to keep applying if you see certain areas drying up (soaking in) the oil. On the first coat that definitely was the case.
After the second coat.
With that the back of the head board is complete. This project took a major twist last week. Scotti encourages people to buy wood for their projects from Paxton Lumber. Originally I had planned to get slabs of Ash from the Randy Wipert, Woodwrights Sawmill and Hardwood who had got the walnut logs from me last year. He couldn’t produce them when I was ready so, over the phone I described the project to a clerk from Paxton. I am very comfortable buying site unseen, but never again will I do that with a wood project.
When I arrived to pick up the wood I knew IMMEDIATELY it was not what I had envisioned in my minds eye. I had approved white oak slabs, cut to 15/16″, in widths up to 12″. Long story short, I bought the wood and resolved myself to make it work. I actually spent an entire day in the shop working on the top shelf box. The planer in the shop struggled on these long pieces of oak, but I got them planed, joined, and ripped to prepare for biscuit/gluing them together to create the true width I wanted.
I took a piece of scrap oak home and applied Medium Walnut, Natural, and Dark Walnut Danish Oil. I didn’t love any of them, but was going to go with natural and then came the phone call that changed everything. Lacey, the woman that gave me the pine floors for my kitchen, called and offered me some of the floor joist she was removing from her house. True 2×12, 100 year old pine. I jumped on it and picked up five pieces and went straight to the shop (it was a Saturday). I spent the bulk of the time denailing one joist, but once denailed I started running it through the planner. 10 passes and we didn’t put a dent in the wood. I cleared enough to know that this was the wood my minds eye envisioned. This one spot rubbed with the natural Danish Oil confirmed it. It will take months to finish the heardboard if I move forward with the pine.
So what to do. Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine. You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end. Anyone want to lay bets?