Joining bed posts to the headboard

Next it was time to join the headboard to the legs. I drilled five dowel holes into the ends of the headboard with a hand drill. The headboard is way too wide for me to get it into a drill press. I suppose I could have used this trick to drill the holes into the ends, but I would have had to rig up some extra high support for my drill press to even do that. So instead, I just clamped it to a work bench, with spacers under it to bring it to the right height so that one of my hand drills, upside down on the bench drilled just horizontal into the piece.

This helps guide the drill, but some of the holes were not quite as straight as I had hoped, but still better than I did on the last bed that I had built. So maybe I should have rigged up the drill press, or maybe used this jig.

Next I transferred the hole positions to the posts, using much the same approach I had used on the headboard. Again, I offset the post by half the width of a hole, so I could just transfer the hole's edge position for my centers in the post's holes.

I could put the posts on my drill press, so these holes were easy to get straight.

To compensate for a few of the holes being slightly crooked, I tapered one side of the dowels that I put into those holes on the belt sander.

I then stuck the head and footboards together, just to see how it would look. I didn't glue the posts onto the head and footboards yet though because I still needed to rout the final profile onto the top edges of the headboard and footboard.

Also note how the footboard is styled similar to the headboard, but shorter, and without panels. All the steps for the footboard are the same as the headboard, except that it's simpler and lacks panels.

The next step was to route a nice round onto the top of the headboard. I used a 1/2" round router bit, though I didn't use the whole of the quarter round curvature because I wanted to still have just a bit of an edge on the board.

This view better shows the curve that I routed onto the board.

I left routing the curve until quite late in the process so that if I ended up banging or nicking the top edge of the headboard or footboard, it would be in the part of the wood to be routed away.

Before gluing the posts to the head and footboard, it was time to drill the holes for mounting the bed rails onto the posts. These consisted of slanted pilot holes for my giant pocket hole screws, and two 3/4" alignment peg holes. To get the angle for the slanted holes, I put the post on a wedge on the drill press. Tilting the drill press table would not have worked because the way it tilts, the drill press's column would have interfered with where I needed to put the post.

I flared out the openings of the holes for the alignment pins to the bed rails. These holes accept the pegs at the ends of the bed rails (more on that later).

Finally, I was ready to mate the posts onto the headboard. Note how the second and fourth dowel from the left appear to be just a bit crooked. That's because they were, and I tapered the one side of them so that they'd fit in the straight hole on the post. I made sure the post fit perfectly to the headboard before I put any glue on anything.

For clamping on the posts, I didn't have any clamps long enough to span the width of the headboard. So instead, I firmly clamped a piece of wood to the middle of the headboard, and put a clamp on it stretching to the far end. I then used that piece of wood to clamp against with my 3 foot bar clamps.

Next: Making the bed rails
Previous: Making the bed posts
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