Midnight Woodworking


Built-in beds – part 7

Before final sanding and painting, I need to fill some voids in the plywood as well as a few gaps in the joinery.

I picked up a fast drying wood filler that has minimal shrinkage so I could fill it in one try. Since I am painting this piece, I am not worried about it matching the wood.

The quality of the plywood is just not what it used to be, even though it costs three times what it did two years ago.

I had a lot of filling to do, just to fix problems with the plywood.

While that was drying I switched my focus to figuring out what I wanted to do with the small storage compartment for each of the kids.

My goal is to have a subtle door that opens outward onto the bed, but looks like one more of the shelves. I am hoping they will think it is their secret stash. Don’t worry, their parents know that it is there… I couldn’t find 30″ long hinges so I bought 48″ long ones with the intent of cutting them in half.

I used a hack saw to cut the hinge, then tried cleaning up the cut edge on the grinder. It did not want to work as smoothly as I liked so I wound up cleaning it up with a hand file instead.

To test fit the doors, I installed them with three screws on each side.

They fit well. The hinge is a bit more visible then I would like but it will work and after installing the other 24 screws or so, the hinge should hold up fairly well against the abuse kids can apply to it.

I also have a knob to install after painting but I am not sure where I want it to go just yet.

After a couple of hours, the wood filler was ready for sanding. That went fairly quickly and sanded down nice and smooth.

I picked up a couple of brushes to try for painting these shelves. One was a short handled 2″ brush that I figured would work well in tight spaces and the other was triangular shaped. I assume it was for corners, so that is what I started with.

I cut in all of the corners first. It worked well, but I am not sure it was worth buying a separate brush.

I switched to the short handled brush to finish the first coat. For the second coat, I just stuck with the short handled 2″ brush and it seemed to go a little faster.

While the paint was drying on the girls shelf, I assembled the boys shelf then painted it as well.

The paint was an egg shell finish, somewhere between flat and satin. I was not convinced that the finish would hold up to books and toys being added and removed repeatedly so I got permission to add a clear coat.

I sprayed on two coats of a satin water-based polyurethane. You cannot even tell that it was added but it should make the surface much more durable.

I re-attached the piano hinge and storage shelf.

I decided to tuck the knob forward, behind the book shelf so that it wasn’t too obvious. (It is a secret door after all)

The shelves are complete.

I got my wife to assist me in loading them up in the truck and hauled them to their final destination.

The girl’s room was a bit of a mess but I was able to install the shelf between the two beds without much trouble.

The secret storage door opens right onto the mattress, then closes up and the hinge is barely noticeable.

The boys room was surprisingly cleaner, but the shelf did not install as perfectly. I did not measure the height of the ceiling properly and was off slightly. The shelf sticks forward about an inch more than I planned. I could pull the beds forward to match but the client was perfectly happy with it the way it was so we left it.

These shelves were a little harder to assemble than I expected. I was careful cutting the locations of all the dados, but wood moves so assembly is not always a straight-forward as you hope. They turned out the way I planned but there was a bit of finessing required every step of the way and staging the assembly is more complicated when glue is involved. Interesting project though.

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2023 by in furniture and tagged , , , .


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