A few years ago a good friend of mine lost his very lovely wife, and, for a season, I and my family were able to help him through his time of grieving and loss. In April of last year he paid us a visit and informed us that he would soon be remarrying. We were, of course, very happy for him. Then one of his adult children contacted me shortly after the official wedding announcement and told me he and his siblings wanted to commission me to design and build a new bed for their father and his bride-to-be. I was excited to be creating a piece for such a close friend and also a bit intimidated. My friend is a person of strong opinions and particular tastes. I knew he would want beautiful wood with a story behind it and I also knew he had a trained eye for fine workmanship. At the same time he appreciates design that is very restrained and understated. His children, however, had given me a generous budget to work with and I knew they would be expecting to see a bed that looked like something pretty wonderful. Oh well, every furniture maker should have such problems.
Click to enlarge images.
The design process went through many false starts and revised drawings, but no one saw these except my wife. At the same time I was visiting several local lumber sources in search of just the right woods. I knew my friend liked mesquite, but I was having a difficult time finding enough defect free material to be worthy of this bed. I finally acquired enough wood to cut around most of the cracks, knots, and bug holes common to this local timber. In my searching I also came across a few gnarly boards of Texas walnut that had some beautiful flame figure in them. These came from an old tree that had been blown over by hurricane Ike.
Figured walnut panels in the headboard
Walnut panels in footboard
In the end everything worked out well. My friend and his new wife were both very pleased with their new bed.
To understand how the posters on this bed were made see Tapered Octagonal Bedposts.