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Making an unusual bed from ash and oak

There are a few things that I haven’t had time to blog about lately (but check out the photos on the facebook page). Here’s one: The Warlock’s Bed. I don’t quite know what genre this fits into – its not really rustic – as it has some fine joinery and involved plenty of careful, precise work, but it certainly isn’t a traditional style furniture piece either. The new owners said it was like a warlock’s bed, so I’ll go with that.

oak bed

A little whirlwind tour of the build process in photos:


Starting with the posts that frame the headboard: they were aged oak fence posts, and had quite bit of metal in them.  Most came out without too much complaint, but a significant amount needed ‘special attention’. This Bancho nail puller is a useful tool at times – but it snaps the nails and staples off as often as it gets them out.

plug cutter

My secret technique for getting out remains of nails below the surface is to carefully use a plug cutter to remove enough wood so the de-nailing tool can get a grip. Removing the wood also loosens the nail somewhat.

de-nailing technique

Obviously this technique is most useful on faces that are going to be planed and joined – ie not visible on the final piece. Though you can plug the holes with wood, or make a feature of them in some other way  if that face really has to be up front and on display.

Lots of embedded wire and staples

The metal removed from one post – I used four.

Headboard post glue up

Planing and joining two posts to give me the thickness I wanted.

Reclaimed oak post smoothing


Curved reclaimed Oak post

Lots of thinking, pencilling in, rubbing out and re-marking later, and I have made the mortices.

The tenons were a bit trickier, as they had curved shoulders. Here’s the eventual glue up. I used some heavy duty ratchet straps to clamp up nice and tight.

Gluing the headboard

At this stage I am pretty excited about how nice the headboard is going to look. the grain of the live ash slab is fantastic, and contrasts with the dark aged oak beautifully.

Cutting the mortices for bed rails

Here’s a sneak peek of the finished headboard.

Reclaimed Oak bed post

The rails and foot (along with the headboard’s slab for that matter) is made using the wood we milled a few years ago with the diy chainsaw mill.

Angle pieces and bed foot

The legs at the foot of the bed are inset so there is less chance of stubbed toe incidents. Above you can also see the two 90 degree insert pieces that bolt between the foot and rails to lock everything true and square.

Hand made bed frame

Test assembly in the field outside the workshop.


Live edge Headboard

Yep, I’m loving the way the headboard turned out.

foot of oak bed

The rails bolt to the head and foot with a custom made bed bolt type assembly. Readily available ‘bed bolts’ that use barrel nuts, seem pathetically undersized and have been a real weak spot in my experience with regular beds. So yeah, these ones are very much stronger, but can still be disassembled, should the bed be moving homes. I made some diamond shaped cover pieces – which seemed to tie in nicely with the dark oak legs.

bed foot ash

There you have it, dear reader. Thanks for having a look, any comments or questions just ask below, and if you know of anyone in need of a lovely hand made bed, please direct them to our new Etsy shop :)

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