Dave Glackin's 'Bunk Bed'

DREAMING OF CAMELOT
A boy's bed is his castle!

SHOP OWNER: Dave Glackin
LOCATION: Columbus, IN

     I'm a design engineer by vocation and a woodworker by avocation. For most of my life, I've just had a few hand tools and built small projects. A few years ago we bought a house with enough room to add a shop onto the back of the garage. I sold two motorcycles and a canoe to raise the money to buy equipment and then jumped into woodworking with both feet. This is my first project of any size.
Dave Glackin's 'Bunk Bed'

     I built this castle bunk bed for my son's 7th birthday. This started out to be just another bunk bed. It also started out to be a present for his 5th birthday. However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary. I'm not sure where the castle idea came from but once started down that path, I sketched numerous versions before arriving at what you see here.
    The materials are birch veneer plywood and poplar. I used baltic birch for the drawers which were made with through dovetails on all four corners and hung with KV full extension slides.
    The brick pattern on the outside was cut with a router. I measured and used a straight edge to draw the pattern on first in order to get the rows straight and make things line up. I used various spacings for brick heights and then did all the routing freehand to make it look more like old stone than new brick.

Dave Glackin's 'Bunk Bed'

 

     The bed contains nine drawers in total. The left tower contains three drawers and a secretary style desk on the outside and bookshelves on the inside. I found myself thinking, "There's nothing over here, maybe I could put in a drawer" or "This space is just going to waste, maybe I could put a lid on it and turn it into storage." Then I started thinking about castles having secret passages and hiding places so I added two more secret drawers that are spring loaded and can only be opened by putting your finger through a hidden hole in the bed frame down beside the mattress and releasing a thumb catch. I also added false backs to the two center drawers under the bed to create a couple more secret compartments.
Dave Glackin's 'Bunk Bed'

     I knew I would be assembling and disassembling the bed several times during construction and I hoped it would become a family white elephant if not an heirloom and so get assembled and disassembled a number of times in the future. I also knew I was creating a monster that could be difficult to move.
    To address this, I made the bed so it breaks down into seven major pieces that will fit through a 28" doorway. They are held together with -20 flat head machine screws and brass threaded inserts, 80 in all.
Dave Glackin's 'Bunk Bed'

     The top bunk is reached by climbing up through the right hand tower. I used three large gussets in the corners as steps. The topmost one is just visible in the lower right hand corner of the picture.
     The left turret has three shallow, lidded compartments in the top.
     The paint job turned into a project in itself. It consists of a coat of primer, two coats of base color, a coat of black speckles, a coat of red speckles, a coat of a reddish glaze that was ragged off, and finally two coats of polyurethane.

...Dave Glackin




 

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