It looks like an English king-size is the equivalent of a US queen-size.* Probably to do with the sizes of US homes often being larger in size compared to the UK versions. We all face new changes and challenges with heating bills in the coming months and years. The work we did on the house restoration took care of many things insulation of the house. Light a candle downstairs and the whole house feels warm . . . joking, but it is much more comfortable now.
I also did the same remedial work on my garage workshop and the new shelves, tools and workbench, etc are back in their rightful place. In there I can float new ideas as they come to me, draw, read, rest and relax. But right now I plan to have a bed built and filmed by the end of this year.
Last week I bought in some more oak to make beds from. I have an idea I like the look of in my head and now begin the drawing, measuring and looking at available space. A bed is a bed is a bed and this is the next project to be built for the Sellers’ home as a training project in bed designing and making. Currently, we are editing the recent series for the side cupboard in the dining room but the bed-making starts in earnest today as I type.
You cannot do much to save space in bed sizing as ultimately it’s the largest piece of furniture delivering adult humans in a lying down, stretched out position for eight hours a day. In a bedroom, the mattress takes the biggest footprint of any piece of furniture so it is this that usually determines the size and the strength of the bed, it’s positioning in the room and thereby the sizing of all of the component parts the bed construction relies on. That makes it simple enough. And as the bed is the first piece to go in, all the other pieces usually take their coordinates from that. Again, simple!
My oak needs some acclimating before the joinery. `The sooner I cut the parts down to rough-sawn near-to-size levels the sooner the acclimation will take place and the wood will release the greater excess of the excess. I say that that way because it’s important. Drying wood down too far can be equally problematic to the relative moisture content (RMC) being too high and shrinking when the atmosphere changes. I can think of nothing worse than a drawer expanding within its opening and housing. It takes amazing patience and power to get a swollen drawer out and I am talking crowbar here. Some I have had for a year and more. My design takes into consideration what will and will not shrink enough to become a problem. Shrinkage is the most common cause of creaky beds as the rails do not shrink in length but the stiles or posts of headboards almost always do. Getting the moisture down as low as possible in the posts means that they will only swell and this is more what you want in these components.
My replicated mock-up of my bed as a cardboard facsimile came from the box the bed mattress came in as well as some pallet dividers from a wine merchant three doors down. It was about a day’s work to pull everything together and an hour or so later I was pretty much done with it. So just what was the value in it and why did I do it? Most of my designs come in seconds in my mind’s eye. I can see what I want in pictures immediately and that includes three-dimensionality of the whole piece from different angles, the component parts in shapes and then too the joints themselves. What I cannot do is actually show others how the size and shape will impact the room in reality itself. Our decisions on each room are a joint effort. I mock up the pieces where ever practicable to ensure that the space we have is overly consumed by the dominance of size, mass colour, shape and so on. This is the largest bed the room will take and leave enough room for bedside tables or cupboards, shelves and wardrobes for clothing and then maybe a chair of some kind.
This was the first brush stroke on the blank canvass and I had an enjoyable time working with the cardboard to establish some shaping, etc. What was a real win for me was using something new to me. My granddaughter received a unique gift in her range of presents and when I arrived at her house to celebrate we spent half an hour sawing corrugated cardboard in boxes and then created our own book to illustrate ourselves from both the delivery box and the paper stuffing inside. The kit came with hex-head plastic screws, two lengths, and a safe-to-use hard plastic saw, a perforator for folding lines and then hole punchers for starts to the screws. Amazingly, these really worked brilliantly and in my world, as a maker wanting more kids and both parents involved in the building and making of things life, it is the perfect tool for getting little people and big people together and into working three-dimensionally. I cannot emphasize enough my belief that children should be exposed to crafting of all types and at all times as early as possible in their lives. It’s got nothing to do with becoming an artisan. We were designed to make not merely spectate, grow, cook, work within the seasons and provide nurturing for our families wherever possible. Part of that nurturing is to work together to work things out, pass down skills and knowledge and so on. Folding 3mm cardboard into box sections for rails changed the stability of flimsy cardboard into the rigidity an ‘I’ beam or ‘U’ beam or ‘box’ section provides in construction. Stiffeners inside such sections enabled the span of two metres to set up my bed. When concluded my granddaughter of four joined me to dismantle the bed and return the four parts, headboard, footboard and side rails to the workshop. Every box that comes to her door represents the potential of a dog house, cat bed, book to draw in and much more.
In deciding on rail and slat sizes, I simply followed my experience from working wood and recreated the sizes as near as possible with 10″ or 4″ headboard and footboard rails along with 1 5/8″ slats and such. These could change as I have rethought a few new options open to me but as a place-holder, the cardboard bed gave me a real feel for its space of ultimate occupation and confidence to convey my design concept, check for sizing and truly visualize my idea in concrete (or cardboard) ways. But the critical elements at this stage will be part sizes and joinery, where to consider using fasteners and what fastenings if needed. There is no doubt that some fastening types bring a solidity in metal with more slender components that are less intrusive in the final appearance. Something like wooden hinges are to doors where we scarcely if ever notice recessed metal hinges but wooden versions are mostly clunky, bulky and ugly and impossible to minimise.
*Note, this sentence has been corrected. A previous version said that the English king-size is equivalent to the US double, but we believe it is actually equivalent to a US queen-size.