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.