Baby Bed Build Bis

Had a change to take another crack at the cot build this weekend, which was good – more progress.

After last weekend, we had the bed itself built (as in the surround and support for the mattress), so today it was time to build the side rails. Oh, and fwiw we are referring regularly to ensure compliance with the Australian Standard for cot design, so the maximum clearance between mattress and bed, height of sides, gap between slats etc etc are all being carefully adhered to.

Once again, we started with a large chunk of timber (around 250×45) and began machining it down.

A combination of jointer, thicknesser and tablesaw gave us the rails and stiles as the frame for the sides.

Despite having them for years, this is about the first time I have actually used the jointer MagSwitch featherboards. They worked very well to ensure even pressure across the jointer cutter. A quick tap down between passes to ensure even pressure is maintained as the board becomes thinner (I do 0.5mm passes on the jointer, so not a real issue in any case). And in case you were wondering, we jointed an edge so we had something straight and true to run up against the tablesaw fence, then ran the board through the tablesaw to get 2 lengths a bit over 90mm wide. From there, we started machining the boards from scratch, jointing a side, then an edge. Next onto the tablesaw to rip the boards in half, so they ended up 20mm thick after machining.

We then spent some time testing and preparing to make the slats for the sides. A number of test pieces, and setups done to fine tune the operation. We started with the Domino – when we need mortices, why not use the best tool for the job?! So with a 10mm cutter, and set to the widest mortice setting, we got a 33mm slot, and thus our slat size was determined. We then made one, and tested it for strength. That went well too.

With all setups done, all the spare pieces, offcuts from other pieces of this job were run through the tablesaw to create the number of slats needed, with a number of spares. Each was then tested, bent and abused. A few failed, but the majority were perfect, and will be able to survive even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s kid.

Still need to actually create the mortices in the rails, but will do that after some sanding and finishing.

To get the required slat placement, the Domino grows wings. It makes cutting the required mortices so incredibly easy, and accurate.

Now I know there are two main groups out there – those who cannot understand how any tool can be worth as much as a Domino, and those who love the tool. Unfortunately, I used to belong to the first camp, but since first using the Domino and then more recently (last couple of years) owning one, I cannot help but reside in the second. Awesome machine. Yes, I know – hideously expensive. But very, very cool. One of these days, I’d love to become permanently familiar with the Domino XL too.


4 Responses

  1. I never thought of using Magswitch featherboards like that on the jointer. I must try that.

    I have breathed new life into my ancient Mark 3 Triton workbench recently by using a home made feather board secured with a couple of Magjigs. Because, the featherboard is so quick to position using the Magjigs, I actually use it on every single cut and the outcome has been a much safer and more accurate use of the saw.

    I shall have to buy another couple of MagJigs and make another featherboard to use the two on the jointer as you have done. ( BTW, featherboards are so easy to make on the bandsaw out of a bit of scrap, I keep wondering what the benefits are of bought ones.)

    Many thanks for the tip.

  2. Good to see a project underway Stu. With very limited shed time for myself at the moment it is good to be able to live vicariously through you.

  3. The MagSwitch featherboards I was using there were specifically designed for that purpose (and because of the direction of the feathers, are also suited to Triton Workcentres).

    Bought ones – no specific advantage, good degree of flexibility/strength and achievable pressure, and you don’t have to make them.

    I know the project doesn’t look like much at this stage, but once all the components are fabricated, it will come together very quickly. It always gives you a much greater sense of achievement when you are machining the boards as well from raw stock, rather than just using ready-sized DAR timber from a box warehouse.

    The Domino is a killer machine. It is always enjoyable having a project that really benefits from its particular capabilities and accuracy.

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