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DayCreek Journal
January 13 , 2002

Time to Put this Project to Bed

For those of you who think I've been slacking off as of late, I've actually been quite busy. (Okay, I have taken time to relax a bit, but don't tell Jo.) The month before the holidays I spent most of my days remodeling our three bedrooms here at our house in Illinois. It's been on my list of things to do before we sell our home. More than likely, we are still years away from completing the house in Minnesota and officially moving, but the winter months are prime time for preparing for our eventual move.

Of course, remodeling three rooms means that I have the dubious honor of moving furniture in and out of the rooms. This led to the extinction of ye ol' waterbed. The waterbed has served us well through the many years, and actually is still in good condition, but it was time for a change.

Our new bed, which we will take with us when we move, is actually made out of the same materials as our cordwood house. LOGS! I've been saving some of the straighter and less tapered cedar logs for furniture and this is my first venture into making rustic furniture.

I looked at a number of photographs on the Internet of log furniture and kind of winged the construction of the bed. Most of the beds that I saw used either cedar or lodge pole pine. Lodge pole pine has the advantage of less tapering than cedar, but cedar is what I had, so cedar is what I used.

I started by planing the logs. This took off the weathered layer of wood and gave the logs a hand-hewn look. Next, the ends of the horizontal logs were tapered at the ends and shaped using wood chisels to form the tenon of the mortise and tenon joint. The mortise was made using hole saws of various size based on the connection being made. Both the headboard and footboard were made exclusively using mortise and tenon joints.

It took a lot of man hours, but all in all, the bed came out looking okay and will look nice in our cordwood home.

How Much Did it Cost to Make?
I have seen these beds advertised on the Internet anywhere from $400 to $600. This of course does not include the mattress. Speaking of which, over the last two building seasons, I have used a twin sized inflatable air mattress to sleep on up at the cabin. I have only had to add air to the bed once per season! The mattress is quite comfortable to say the least, so why not use it on our new bed?

Now I'm not going to argue that a $23 camping air mattress is going to give you the same support as a fancy, Select Comfort $1,500 mattress (At least for $1,500 you would hope that you would sleep soundly, but after spending that much on a mattress, I would have nightmares!), but for both Jo and I the $23 air mattress gives us no back aches and so far the cats haven't caused any leaks.

So, instead of spending anywhere from $600 to $2,000 on a bed and mattress, here's what it cost to make the bed:

Cedar Posts...$35 (This could be free of course if you cut your own trees.)
Misc. Lumber and Hardware...$47
Target Air Mattress (On Sale) $23

Grand Total: $105

Of course, that did not include my labor, but when you're a househusband there's plenty of time for winter projects like making a cedar post bed.