For Father's Day, Camille gave me permission to go purchase a few tools to put together a toddler bed. I was pretty excited, because I think power tools are the epitome of manliness, and marks the transition from boy to man. It's not when you go on a mission, get married, get a job, or have kids. It's when you get your first power tool (other than a drill). (My dad was a contractor, so he had a whole shop of tools. I guess that makes him the embodiment of manliness.)
I found a plan on http://ana-white.com/, a website featuring free do-it-yourself plans for home furniture and other projects. After selecting a fairly simple bed for my initiation into manhood, I headed to Home Depot with a shopping list of items to purchase. With my power tool allowance, I purchased the Ryobi 6.1 Amp Variable Speed Orbital Jigsaw. This wasn't the cheapest saw, but by no means the most expensive. I've decided, that it's generally a good idea to opt out of the cheapest option in favor of the second or third cheapest. This was probably the third cheapest of a few dozen saws to choose from. By doing so, you get several more features for not much more $$$. There seemed to be a fairly steep curve of prices, with the cheapest saws starting at about $30, and ranging up to more than $150. I have been quite satisfied with my selection however.
I made the rest of my purchases and went home with a car full of wood, tools, and other overhead items, such as screws, wood filler, etc.
Learning to use a jig saw took a little bit of trial and error, but I figured out a few tricks to make it easier. After cutting the boards into correct sized pieces, I started working on the head board. I love walking into the room where I worked on this because it always smelled like sawdust, which constantly reminded me of my dad. I bought several different types of clamps to find out what worked best. I took those that I didn't like back after I finished the project. I loved these Irwin Quick Grip clamps. My dad used them all the time in his work.
This illustrates the beauty of the jig saw. The ability to make curved cuts and its relative ease of use make it an ideal first saw. The headboard was my favorite part, mostly because it turned out nicer than I thought it would, and also because I got to use the jig saw to its utmost ability. The back paneling is an Unfinished Wood Wall Wainscoting Panel by EverTrue, from Lowes for $13.
The main question I had when I started the project was what the best way was to attach the wood at the joints. I didn't take a very sophisticated approach, and is probably not very professional. I drilled pocket holes at each of the joints with a countersink drill bit, and filled in the holes with wood filler after I'd drilled in the screws. This type of joint is pretty strong, though leaves obvious marks if you don't fill in the holes. I unfortunately broke my new countersink drill bit on literally the last hole I had to drill.
I stained the bed with Minwax Red Oak Wood Finish. I first bought Golden Pecan, but it turned out lighter than what showed on the can. I went back and got the Red Oak, which turned out much darker than I wanted. I didn't want to go back to Home Depot again though, so I decided it was fine. To top it off, I covered everything with 3 coats of Minwax Semi-gloss Polyurethane finish to make it look a little shiny and protect it from crazy little boys for several years to come.
I'm very happy with how it turned out. Don't look too closely though, or else you'll probably find evidence of my amateur mad skillz. Even though it turned out darker than I wanted, it matches well with one of Lincoln's quilts, and has inspired Camille design our toddler room to have a car theme. The quilt was a gift from my wonderfully talented sister Kati from The Blue Chair. Thanks Kati!
The plan from Ana-White was initially inspired by a toddler bed from Pottery Barn .
Total cost of bed (not counting cost of tools):
-Headboard panel: $13
-1 and 1/2 box of screws: $7.50
-Half a quart of Red Oak Minwax Wood Finish: $3.50
-1/5th quart of Semigloss Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane: $2.00
-Busted Countersink Drill Bit: $3.50
-Other Overhead items (glue and filler): $0.50
Total Cost: $71.50
Cost of Pottery Barn Equivalent: $249.99
All in all, this was a very fun project, and satisfied the requirements for my induction into manhood. I've learned so much and look forward to working on more projects like it in the future.