The next thing I want to work on is the corner posts and rails around the top of the bier. The two corner posts in the back will have to be attached in a way that the entire back arch is supported by them. That will be a bit of a challenge. I have some 6″ long steel rods that will be attached to the arch and inserted into the posts so the posts have to be strongly mounted so they don’t break off.
I have a block of sapele that looks like mahogany and the Spanish cedar. It is also a very strong, tight-grained wood. It should do.
I cut four blocks from the chunk I had. They are 2″x2″x3″ long.
I mark the center of each and punch the center point to know where to drill.
I set up a fixture to help me align the blocks directly under the bit.
Then I use a 1/2″ forstner bit to drill all the way through the block.
For the two posts that will have a lot of stress on them, I bought two flanges. I will drill out the threads and install them into the top of the blocks to help prevent the wood from splitting under stress.
I use a series of forstner bits, starting with the largest so that with each one I step down, there is still a center point left behind to line up the next bit.
After drilling, I do a test fit and make sure it is deep enough to hide the heads of the screws below the surface.
I pre-drilled pilot holes for the screws and tightened them by hand.
Then, I used a drop of oil and drilled out the threads of the flange to create a hole, wide enough for the steel posts.
These were supposed to be precision posts, but they have paint and burrs on the ends making them very snug fits.
I set the posts into the chuck on the drill press, then filed and sanded the paint and burrs.
This gave them a perfect sliding fit.
Next, I applied a very small bevel to the edges of the corner blocks on my router table.
I placed a section of the rail against the post to make sure everything would fit as planned.
My thought for holding the corners onto the top is to use screws and glue. I pre-drilled two pilot holes, then counter-bored them for two pocket hole screws.
I clamped the corner blocks in place and pre-drilled them as well.
After applying glue to the bottom of the corner, I clamped them back in place and screwed them on.
With the screw heads recessed, I will still be able to attach the pole retainer on the sides as well as attach the poles without hitting the screws.
I have decided not to paint the corners. I think they will look good, stained to match the top.
I lined up a section of rail and marked where I wanted to cut, then cut them down on the miter saw.
Since the bottom had a weird shape, I cut them down to size as well.
With the rail cut down, I did a dry-fit.
It looks good, but I want an additional means to secure the corner posts.
I cut down a 1/4″ thick plate of sapele and held it on the end.
If I can screw this to the end of the rail, I can then screw it to the corner post on the inside where it will not be too visible. I think this is a good plan, but I am done for today. This will be what I start with tomorrow when I get back to work.