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Attaching Walnut Headboard

 

In my last post I showed the procedure of cutting a half-lap dovetail into the top rail of the headboard. Now I’ll demonstrate how using similar techniques I’ll attach the rail to the top of the headboard for a joint that is strong, easy to make and a reliable connection. To start I’ll disassemble the dry-fit half lap joint and using my marking gauge, mark the center on the width of each up-right. A nice deep cut down each side and across the bottom will give me a clean edge to reference my saw blade to. You can use a Rip saw for this cut, a band saw or even a dado blade set up at the table saw. What ever method you choose, once you have cut off the cheek of each rail, you’ll need to clean up the shoulders and the face. This is a vital part of the joint where it will sit on top of the lower section of the head board. I use a block plane to get rid of any saw marks on the cheek even though once attached you’ll never see it. Better to clean it up now, to ensure the pieces mate together nicely later during the final assembly.I use my medium shoulder plane and if need be, clean up the edges with a freshly sharpened chisel. Check the fit to see that the uprights sit flush to the top and again, dry fit the pieces. I’ll wait until I’m ready for the final finishing stage of the entire bed before attaching these permanently. Instead of any mechanical fasteners I’ll use Walnut dowels and glue to affix this to the top of the head board. With a smoothing plane I usually clean up the faces and set them aside. Next, we’ll install and cut out the butterfly keys for the bottom corners of the bed frame.

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