Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cherry Pencil Post Beds

Cherry Pencil Post Bed

Over my 30 years of making furniture professionally, I have a few designs that have been mainstays of my business.   My Pencil Post Beds are one of those.  I seem to consistently make at least 2 and maybe 4 of these each year.  The bed is a lot of cherry. 2 1/2' square posts at the base with a  transition to an eight sided taper.  This transition is made by way of a carved "lamb's tongue".   The facets of the eight sided taper are scribed with a spar makers scribe and then power planed to rough out stock to get close to the scribe lines.  The final sizing is done with a hand plane.  
Bolted joints make for a solid, quiet bed.

Every bed is made custom to fit the customer's mattress dimensions and to finish off at the height desired by the customer.   At present, I offer three options for finishing off the posts.  They can be left bare, they can have cross bars (known as testers), or they can have finials.  I turn the finials by hand. The finials incorporate a 1/4" diameter steel post that sticks out of the bottom. This is simply dropped into the hole at the top of the post. No wooden peg to break off.

The rails are joined to the posts with an exposed bolt that makes a very solid joint that will not wear out. If the bed were to "loosen up" over the winter due to wood movement, they can simply be tightened.  I discovered this design on an original Shaker meeting house trestle table that was made to break down for storage. I loved the practical honesty of the bolt. There was no attempt to hide it behind a brass decorative plate or to sink it deep into the wood.  It was celebrated for what it was. The right material for the job.  I do offer a completely hidden bolt design but there would be an extra cost as I have custom nuts made for the bolts and the woodwork required is time consuming.   I prefer  to see the blackened bolt as a detail that contrasts nicely to the warm wood.  Check out this and other designs at
Queen size bed with finials.
Posts after final shaping ready for finish sanding.

Detail of the post and finial.  

Enjoy the crazy weather we are having.  Rain and 50 degrees yesterday.  Today, 15 degrees and a snow storm. 

Lucy says, "Just enjoy the weather!"



  1. i also appreciate the simple honesty of the exposed fasteners. the lengthy 8 faceted posts are something to behold. a truly wonderful sleeping arrangement. your work has a meaningful impact on so many people's lives. think about it: 2-4 beds a year for 30 years where each client spends roughly 8 hours per night supported by your work 365 days per year? that is a *lot* of hours where your work is trusted, relied upon. it's so amazing to think about!

    -adam of oakland, ca, usa

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Wow, thanks very much for that thoughtful note!

  2. Beautiful. I hadn't considered an exposed bolt for a joint like this. I like it.