Friday, May 14, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
We are so smart now. Our minds are filled with facts and figures and all the how-to-dos and our time with doing, doing, doing. Our phenomenal machinery makes waste the world it strives to conquer.
Have we learned anything? Do we know anything more than our ancient ancestors? Are we looking in the right places? Are we asking the right questions?
Sunday, May 2, 2010
For a long time I have thought I would make a new bed frame. The first one I made of construction lumber and plywood over 35 years ago. It served us well through a foam mattress and then a futon. When the futon became two valleys the frame was discarded with the mattress. Since then it has been box springs raised off the floor with a generic steel frame, no foot or head board to speak of.
I knew I had some big 8/4 cherry boards in my stash that would be nice to showcase in some way. Hey, here's an idea. How 'bout just a big board floating in space, no bedposts or anything. Minimalist headboard. Nothing more, nothing less. That'd be cool wooden it? Now I'm getting excited.
There are some good reasons for bedposts. You can hang your hat on 'em. You can put notches in them if you keep score. (OK, that's not a good reason). And they give structural integrity to the foot and head boards. Wood has great strength across the grain and tremendous bearing weight on its ends. It's what trees are good at: stand up tall and bend and sway but do not break. But wood splits along the grain, or lengthwise, more easily, as we witness in trees struck by lightning or damaged by ice storms. Bedposts support the weight of the bed and it's occupants on 4 small points and provide cross grain strength to what might otherwise be a flimsy headboard.
So eliminating them from my headboard presents a design problem. Or maybe not. It may have been strong enough with these heavy boards without all this fuss but the diagram below shows what I thought were potential places of weakness and how I dealt with it.
(Click image to enlarge.)
Our new sleeping surface is this memory foam stuff that has gotten a lot of hype. I recently heard some very negative reports regarding these mattresses. We had slept on it several times and liked it. I surveyed friends who have had them for years and finally decided to give it a try. Some say that because they are so expensive owners convince themselves that they're comfortable whether it's true or not. Well that's certainly what I plan to do.
One last thing, the long rails of this bed. I marked a board I thought would be good for two matched bed rails probably 10 years ago, passing over using it in who knows how many other projects. And now here it is doing what it was destined to do. My peers and I, we are getting a longer view. It's OK if it doesn't happen right away, that doesn't mean it won't happen. It might happen later.