The next two pieces I’m building are indeed a stretch outside the norm of what I’ve been doing these past two years here in the wood shop. The first piece is a fold away bed with side table and the folding bed hardware dictates that plywood be used for the carcass construction.
The folding mechanism works with a pair of pistons that raise and lower the bed so if solid wood was used there would be the potential of wood movement issues and the pistons getting pushed or pulled slightly out of line. This in turn would cause the entire system to break down creating both unhappy clients and a less than ideal piece of furniture. So plywood it is and yesterday I picked up some 3/4″ cherry. (after finally getting my ‘vehicular troubles’ sorted out!)
The plywood I’m using is a high quality veneer core and is ‘good’ on two sides meaning it doesn’t have a dedicated ‘face’ side. Some cheaper plywoods on the market have only one good face and usually a secondary wood for the back veneer. This is alright when only one side is seen but the bed panels will be seen when its folded up and then the interior will be seen when the bed is in use.
The cherry veneer is a nice looking product that’ll sit well and be extremely stable for the required purpose. Now the fun part- dimensioning it. To answer the obvious question- No…I won’t be using my sweet ‘ol Cororate Kangaroo 28″ rip saw…no, I think I’ll either be using a hand held circular saw or a portable table saw. A friend is coming over on Saturday morning to dimension a large 6″ x 6″ fir beam on the portable table saw so we may rip all of the plywood to size at the same time. Once I have the plywood dimensioned I’ll then add face frames and end caps using solid wood- no edge tape or thin veneer applications. These secondary elements will be done downstairs in my shop with hand tools. For the front edges I’m planning on a full two inch strip of solid cherry- this allows me the freedom of shaping the edges and beveling pieces as if they were solid wood throughout. The back edges will get thinner strips in the 1″ neighbourhood.
One interesting part of the design is while the bed is folded away during the day time hours, I’m making a table top that will fold down from the underside of the bed- so we now have a piece of furniture that has dual purpose. My clients live in a small urban space here in Toronto and having a form that is both a dining area as well as a sleeping area is ideal. I’ve named this new design the ‘Habinet”.
There is a small side table that also is linked to the first piece. The table top portion of the original piece has a cut-out which the top of the side table will nestle into creating a stand to support the table top. Then when in ‘sleep mode’ the side table serves as a night stand. The side table is on casters and easily moves in and out of the way when not in use. This part of the design is all solid wood. The rough sketches attached will show you the three ‘positions’ for the design and I’m anxious to get started on it in the morning.