Mission Style Canopy Bed

August 11, 2011

This is certainly the largest project of mine so far, and the longest in the works.

This solid oak canopy bed stands seven and a half feet tall. The four tapered posts were all cut from the same piece of solid red oak on a special jig that I had to make myself. The frame features sideboards that hide the box spring away, while providing sturdy support for the box spring and mattress. The sideboards, headboard and footboard all feature a simple mission-style recessed panel design which fits the overall strong but simple aesthetic of the bed. This particular piece was stained dark to match our existing furniture.

One thing that had to be taken into consideration with a piece this large was: how would it be transported? I had to design the piece to breakdown much more than a traditional bed, but I was able to accomplish this by using metal sliding brackets to attach the sideboards, headboard and footboard to the corner posts. The top rails each come off as well, so that each piece can easily be taken apart, transported, and slid right back into place when the time comes. The weight of each piece will also hold them snugly into place.


This project has a lot of history behind it. My two brothers and I grew up helping our dad out in the tobacco fields in South Georgia, just as he had grown up helping his father, and so on and so forth for generations. Tobacco has always been a part of our farming heritage and, to me, a symbol of the hard work and dedication that we each learned from working those long hours in the summer heat. So when I got my hands on several tobacco sticks, which had been used to cure tobacco before bulk barns became popular, I knew what I had to do with them. These sticks, about one inch around and four feet long, had been found sitting in a nearly-destroyed old farmhouse nearby. At first they weren’t much to look at, but, after running them through a planer, decades of dirt and grime came off to reveal the beautiful aged wood underneath.

So, after laminating the planed sticks together to form my own boards, I crafted them into these two boxes, one for each of my brothers. Laminating the sticks together really enhanced the natural grain variations in the wood.

All of the brass hardware was mortised in with a hand chisel. And of course no family heirloom would be complete without a brass engraved nameplate.

It made me very proud to be able to use that wood that my father and grandfather had depended on for their livelihood to make these heirloom boxes, which I hope will continue to be handed down to future generations and serve as a reminder of our heritage of hard work and dedication.

I hate seeing wires, but like using remotes to control my electronics, so I decided to go with an entertainment center with glass doors, the best of both worlds!

The entertainment center itself is made from solid oak and offers plenty of space for components on the inside. The back is open, which gives you complete freedom to run cables between components and out to your devices while keeping them completely out of sight. The bottom drawer is for those items you want hidden away, but easily at hand, and also features a space for running cables out the back. The shelves are adjustable as well to perfectly suit the dimensions of your gear.

The front “windows” were created by a local leaded glass artist. They are transparent enough to let you control all your remote devices without interference but opaque enough to hide the more unsightly cables in the back.

To finish out the design, I used brushed nickel hardware to compliment the leaded glass windows.

Most of my design choices come from re-evaluating the traditional to figure out what is necessary, what is not, and how the design could be more practical. Here I took a standard bookcase structure but opened up the sides and the back instead of the solid, closed-off sides and backs of traditional bookcases which really serve no purpose.

I also wanted the back of the bookcase to rest against the wall, which greatly improves stability, especially on carpet floors. The two front legs angle back to meet the wall. This one I designed to sit above 6″ baseboards; unfortunately we recently moved into a home with 8″ baseboards and you can see it doesn’t quite make it!

The shelves generously fit books 12″ deep and over 13″ tall, or any number of other items you want to show off. As you can see, vinyl records fit perfectly!

Also, the rear of each shelf features a half-inch space so that you can pass speaker wires or lamp power cables, for instance, down behind the shelves and out of the way. Try finding that on a traditional bookcase!

Solid Oak Heirloom Box

June 25, 2011

Boxes are always interesting projects because they can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be.

I created this box as a gift for a family member. It is made from solid oak, and I decided to go with a dark stain for this one. It features solid brass hardware and a velvet-lined interior. All the hardware is inset into the solid oak for a smooth and flush exterior look.

Of course it wouldn’t be a true heirloom without a personalized solid brass nameplate!

I needed both a bookshelf and a nightstand so I decided to combine the two ideas into one piece of furniture.

This bookshelf leans against the wall for complete stability even on carpet. The multi-tier design allows for a deeper-than-standard shelf at the bottom for those particularly large books or other deeper items. But best of all, with a push of a button the shelves light up with soft, warm glow!

Of course, this bookshelf would work just as well by your bed as it would in any part of your home.

I needed a computer desk for a small room, so I came up with this space-saving design. Taking a more vertical approach to a desk, this design keeps all the essential components neatly at hand.

The rear of the desk is designed to fit snugly in the corner of the room, giving you as much free space as possible.

Also, the keyboard tray extends out to reach you, allowing you to sit farther back from your monitor(s). The speaker shelf is height adjustable as well, allowing you to keep it level with the keyboard tray, or raise it as shown here.