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Shaker Tall Clock Crafted In Cherry

One of the most frequent requests I get is for a drawing set of the Shaker Tall Clock I crafted for my son to give his wife on their twelfth anniversary. I originally drew the model and plans in TurboCAD and printed drawings for anyone who wanted them. Later, I exported the model from TurboCAD to a .dxf file and imported the file into SketchUp. A lot was lost in the translation. Up to now that is all I had to supply anyone wanting to craft this clock. I recently looked at the translated files in detail and was embarrassed by the incompleteness.

Fortunately, I have completely updated the documentation, inserted missing information and cleaned up the model. You can download the new documentation from my Free Plans page. There you will find a complete SketchUp model with dimensions, a CutList Plus cut list file, an Excel cut list file, a .csv cut list file and a PDF file including both shop drawings and cut list. If you want a LayOut 2 file click here. You should have no problems crafting this clock if you so desire.

This  Shaker Tall Clock was inspired by a clock designed and built by Benjamin Youngs, Sr., circa 1809, of the Watervliet, New York Shaker Village. The original is held in a private collection. A photograph of the original can be seen in The Complete Book of Shaker Furniture by Timothy D. Rieman and Jean M. Burks, page 163.

Slightly larger than the original (81" H x 20" W x 9 7/8" D) this piece measures 85" H x 21 5/8" W x 12 5/16" D and is constructed from solid cherry hardwood.

Other changes from the original are the simple footed base, an arched waist door to complement the  arched hood and  arched side windows in the hood. The piece has been finished with 3 coats of hand rubbed Waterlox Original Tung Oil.

The hardware is polished brass consisting of drop pulls, one small pull for the hood door and a larger one for the waist door, a set of overlay hinges for the waist door, and a special pair of hinges designed specifically for tall clock hood doors which allow the door to clear the deep arched inset. The 8-day Kieninger clock movement is cable wound and weight driven with a top mounted bell that strikes on the hour and half hour. It was purchased from Green Lake Clock Company.

Although the design is traditional and simple keeping with the Shaker influence, the construction, on the other hand, is not. This piece is constructed using hand cut dovetails and mortise & tenon  joinery which will last for hundreds of years to come. To see the various stages of construction, details of joinery and explanation of technique, click here.

Logo & Outline Layer Appears On Every Page In this post we will complete the template we started in Creating A Custom Shop Drawing Template With LayOut 2 – Part 1 of 2. If you haven’t read that post please do so before reading any further. Hopefully you saved your .layout file from part 1, but if you didn’t you can download mine and pick up from there. When we left off our template looked as the picture at left. Everything we had drawn resides on layer Logo & Outline which is visible on all pages and locked to protect it from changes.

Now we are going to create a Date Box layer. This layer will contain the date the drawing set was completed and my website and blog addresses. It also will appear on every page. Add this layer by clicking on the + symbol in the Layers dialog box. Layer 3 appears and is selected. Notice it is unlocked and has one sheet of paper in the Pages icon. Click the Pages icon to change it to four sheets of paper (appears on all pages). Make sure the Visible eye icon is dark (not grayed out). Do not lock it at this time. We want to make changes to it which we can do now since it is selected (active). Rename this layer to Date Box by right clicking on the layer name and choose Rename. Leave this layer selected before going any further.

Remember we have a tall and narrow box that is 6 1/4” by 1/4” through which the grid is visible on the left side of the sheet. We want to place the contents of the Date Box in that tall and narrow box. First we have to create the contents by following these steps carefully:

  1. In the Text Style dialog box click on the Align Center and Anchor Center icons in the Format tab. For Family, Typeface and Size choose Verdana, Regular and 8 pt.
  2. Using the “Text” tool, and with the aid of the grid, click-drag-release a text box with the dimensions 6 1/4” by 1/4”, however, create the box such that the long dimension is in the horizontal direction. Before doing anything else with your mouse, notice the blinking cursor in the box.
  3. Type the line of text immediately following this numerical list of instructions into the text box. Do not cut and paste this line of text unless you first paste it into Notepad and re-copy it to remove formatting. You will have to re-choose Align Center and Anchor Center if you do this.
  4. Between .com and Blog insert 9 more spaces. Between /blog and Date insert 9 more spaces. This spreads things out using the entire box.
  5. Go to the Window/Shape Style menu to open the dialog box. With the text box still selected click on the Fill button in the upper left hand corner of the Shape Style dialog box. The text box should now have a white background (assuming you didn’t change the color in the Fill color box next to the Fill button). Close the Shape Style box.
  6. With the “Select” tool deselect and reselect the text box. Hover the cursor over the center of the test box just over the blue dot until you get a rotate cursor as shown in the picture below.
  7. Rotate right by click-dragging the cursor approximately 90 degrees. Notice the measurement box at the bottom reads Angle and approximately minus 90 degrees. Release the cursor and type –90 into the Measurements box. The text box now runs vertically in the long axis.
  8. Hover over a corner of the selected text box until a curser with four opposing arrows appears and click-drag-release the text box into position. With the “Select” tool deselect the text box.
  9. Lock the Date Box layer by clicking on the Lock icon next to the layer’s name.

Website: Blog: Date: MM/DD/YYYY

Hover Near The Center Until The Rotate Cursor AppearsThe Date Box Contents Are Now Included In The Template Our template should now look like the picture at right. Notice that the Default layer is now selected and that you cannot change the Date Box text. The only layers that can be selected are unlocked layers. Since the Default layer is the only unlocked layer it is selected.

We are now going to customize the Cover Page. The cover page is the page that comes first in a shop drawing set. It informs the reader of the customer or client’s name, the project’s name, the customer or client’s address and provides a short project description. Of course this is all a matter of personal choice, but for the purpose of this tutorial, that is what we will use as the definition of the cover page.

Before creating the content of the cover page we need to create a Cover Page layer. Click the + sign in the Layers dialog box and change the name of the layer to Cover Page by right clicking Layer 4 and choosing Rename. Type Cover Page and enter or just bring your cursor to the drawing area. This time leave the Pages icon set to a single page since what we will include on the Cover Page layer will exist only on one page.

We need four text boxes to be placed in the lower right hand corner box that is now blank. They will be roughly the same size so we start in the upper left hand corner and with the “Text” tool click-drag- release a text box roughly one quarter the size of the open area. Type the following into the text box:

Prepared For:
First-name Last-Name

Prepared For: Text Box Using the Text Style dialog box select the first line of text and format it to: Family, Typeface and Size choose Verdana, Regular and 8 pt respectively. Select the second line of text and format it to: Family, Typeface and Size choose Verdana, Italic and 10 pt respectively. This will make the client’s name stand out a little. Your template should look like that at left.

Four Text Boxes Placed & Default Text Added We can use the same process to create three more text boxes or use the copy/paste method. If you use the copy/paste method be aware that you may paste the text box exactly on top of the one you copied. That is not a problem; just use the “Select” tool and the opposing four arrow move cursor to move the pasted text box into position. Either type into the text box, or change the text if you used the copy/paste method, such that it looks like that at right. Notice the Prepared For: and Project: text boxes make use of larger italic 10 pt text. The remaining two boxes use regular 8 pt text.

Completed Cover Page Layer Text Notice that the small red arrow is trying to tell us that one or more of the text boxes runs off the page. The Client Address: is the culprit in this case. I used the copy/paste method to place the text boxes so they are all the same size. Each can be customized based on its needs. Since the Prepared For: text box is never likely to use more than one line I can shorten its height and give that height to the Client Address: text box. The same is true for Project: and Project Description: In addition, Project description may need more width. We make these changes using the “Select” tool and the appropriate cursor to change the size of each box. Try to keep vertical and horizontal alignment of the starting point of each box. To keep the white area of the text boxes from covering part of the Logo & Outline lines you may need to turn off Grid Snap under the Arrange menu. This will allow analog placement of text box edges giving you more control. Turn it back on afterword. Having made these changes the Cover Page information should look like that at left.

Lock the Cover Page layer. In the Pages dialog box Page 1 is selected (it is the only page available at this point). Right click on it and choose Rename. Change the name to Cover Page. We now have a cover page template, but we also need and every page template for all the drawings that will go into the drawing set. In the Pages dialog box click the + sign to add a page. It will be named Page 2 by default. We are going to change this name to Inside Page the same way we renamed Page 1 to Cover Page. With that done and Inside Page selected, in the Layers dialog box make the Cover Page invisible by clicking on the eye icon to gray it out (it is not visible anyway because we created it on the Cover Page and made it appear only on that page with the single paper icon selection, but this is a good habit anyway).

In the Layers dialog box add a layer and call it Inside Page. Make it appear on all pages with the four page icon. Inside Page should now be selected in both the Pages dialog box and the Layers dialog box. Add one text box to the upper left hand corner of the open text area in the lower right. Insert the text:

Drawn By:
Drafter’s Name

Format the first line with Veranda Regular 8 pt text and the second line with Verdana Italic 10 pt text. Like before make this text box a little shorter and less tall to make room for other information. Again you may have to turn off Grid Snap under the Arrange menu. Turn it back on when you are done. Lock the Inside Page layer. Now the Default layer is selected as is the Inside Page in the Pages dialog box. What we just did held the assumption that the same person, Drafter’s Name, would draw the entire SketchUp model and create the shop drawings. With that assumption we fixed that information in the Inside Page layer and locked it.

To finish our template all we need it drawing title, drawing description and page number text boxes that will change on a page-by-page basis. This information we will put on the Default layer and we will leave it unlocked.

Create and place these text boxes using the same techniques as before and the following text:

Drawing Title:
Front View – Overall Dimensions



Completed Template Cover Page - Checkout The Dialog Box Contents Carefully For Correct Settings Note that the Drawing Title: is pretty specific. That is simply because my custom is to have a front view with overall dimensions as the first page after the cover page (page 2) in all my shop drawing sets. Description: is a place holder; it could be Scale:, or Note: or anything else the drafter desires. Since the Default layer remains unlocked it is changeable at any time. As mentioned, the first page inside the cover page is always P2 in my convention. It too can be changed at any time.

Completed Template Inside Page - Checkout The Dialog Box Contents Carefully For Correct Settings There is one last little detail before we can save this file as a template. We added and Inside Page layer and made it appear on all pages, but actually we want it to appear on all pages but the Cover Page. In the Pages dialog box select the Cover Page and make Inside Page layer invisible by graying out the eye icon. Before saving this file let’s be sure everything looks correct. In the picture at the upper right is the completed Cover Page template. Checkout the dialog boxes on the right for content to be sure your setting are the same. Do the same for the completed Inside Page template shown in the upper left picture.

If you are satisfied go to the File/Save As Template menu to open the Save As Template dialog box. In the Template Name box give the template a useful name, e.g. SRWW Letter Landscape. This tells me it is a Swamp Road Wood Works template for 8 1/2” x 11 paper in landscape orientation. If you wish this to be the default template when you open a new file select Default Templates under Template Folder (although there is one more step to make it the default template). To make this the default template, go to File/New From Template to open the Getting Started dialog box. Select your template from the list and check the Always use Selected Template check box. Click Open. A new untitled file is opened and ready to go.

If you had trouble along the way you can download my template file and peruse it to see what I did. This post completes Creating A Custom Shop Drawing Template With LayOut 2. However, stay tuned for Creating Shop Drawings With LayOut 2, which will explain how to use this template with a SketchUp model to create a shop drawing set.

A Shop Drawing Cover Sheet - Our Goal I recently purchased a Google SketchUp Pro license. A major difference between the free version of SketchUp and the Pro version is that LayOut 2 and Style Builder are included in the Pro version. Style Builder is an application that allows you to create your own drawing styles. I haven’t used it, and its not likely I will in the near future. Style Builder seems most suited to architects and marketing types.

LayOut 2 is another story. I have used it on a couple of projects to create shop drawings from my SketchUp models. LayOut 2 is a presentation package that can be used stand alone or tightly coupled with SketchUp. Using it stand alone you have many of the 2D drawing, lettering, labeling and dimensioning features of SketchUp. To create shop drawings I use it tightly coupled with SketchUp. In this two part post I will describe how to setup LayOut 2 for this purpose and I will walk us through how I created my own custom template for shop drawings. In subsequent posts I will demonstrate how to create the shop drawings themselves.

In The Window Menu Select These Dialog BoxesSee the figure above left, which shows a completed shop drawing cover sheet. The template we will create will look like this one. Use this for reference as we proceed. Follow along with me on your own system as we create my custom template. First we need to setup LayOut 2. Open LayOut 2 to a blank page using the File/New menu. In the Window menu select the Pages, Layers, SketchUp Model and Text Style dialog boxes. Click on the picture at right to see an enlargement showing these selections. I use these dialog boxes frequently and leave them open all the time. Notice in the upper right hand corner that these dialog boxes are placed in a Default Tray. LayOut 2 allows you to create a number of trays with different dialog boxes, sort of like a pallet.  If you wish you could go to Window/New Tray and open a tray called Tray 1 by default. You can label it anything you want. Check all the dialog boxes that you didn’t include in the Default Tray and choose Add. Now you have two trays that are selectable from tabs along the bottom; the Default Tray contains the dialog boxes you frequently use and Tray 1 has the remaining dialog boxes you seldom use. This may be a handy way to work, but it is all about personal preference. I don’t bother with anything besides the Default Tray. If I want another dialog box I just use the Window menu and temporarily open it in the Default Tray.

Paper Setup Dialog Box Is Accessed Through The File/ Document Setup Menu To define the paper size and orientation use the File/Document Setup menu. This command opens the Document Setup dialog box. and we choose the Paper selection. In the Paper section choose Letter (8.5 in x 11 in) from the drop down box and the Landscape radio button. The Print Paper Color check box will remain unchecked.

Check the Margins check box, and for Left, Right, Top and Bottom use 1/2”, 1/2”, 3/4” and 1 1/2” respectively. Leave the Print Margin Lines check box unchecked. The Margins Color is Light Gray. In the Rendering section we will select High for both Edit Quality and Output Quality, a personal preference choice. Your dialog box should look as that at left.

Grid Setup Dialog Box Is Accessed Through The File/ Document Setup Menu Next we will set up a grid which will aid us in placing SketchUp model scenes on our shop drawings. Using the File/Document Setup menu open the Document Setup dialog box. Select the Grid item. Check the Show Grid check box because we want the grid to show on our shop drawing pages as we create them. You can choose between a grid constructed of lines or points; personal preference again, but I suggest we choose the Lines radio button.

The grid can have major and minor grid lines with different colors. I am accustomed to one inch major grid lines with eight sub-divisions for the minor grid lines. That provides a 1/8” grid which is appropriate for furniture design in US customary units. If we were drawing in the metric system we might choose one centimeter for the major grid and five for the number of sub-divisions. Check both the Major Grid and Minor Grid check boxes, and enter 1” for the Major Grid and 8 Subdivisions for the Minor Grid. The colors are purely personal choice. I suggest Light Sky Blue for the Major Grid and Light Gray for the Minor Grid. To select a color click on the Color box and the Colors dialog box opens in the Default Tray. There are a number of options for choosing a color. You may use the color wheel, input a color in either RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or HSB (Hue, Saturation, Brightness), choose a gray or color from sliding scales or choose a color from a List. We will sue the latter. After choosing a color close the Colors dialog box to get back to our original dialog box choices for the Default Tray.

We will eventually choose the Clip grid to page margins check box, but for now leave it unchecked. Why we do this will become clear later. Leave the Print Grid and Draw grid check boxes unchecked because we don’t want the grid printed when we print our shop drawings, and we don’t want the grid obscuring our drawing while creating it. Click close to save these setup choices. Our blank page is now a sheet of grid paper.

The Template Boxes Are Roughed Out Now that we have grid paper to assist us in placing objects, we need to instruct LayOut 2 to use it. Using the Arrange menu click the bottom two menu items until they read Object Snap Off and Grid Snap On. We are now ready to begin drawing our custom template. Use the  “Lines” tool (pencil) to draw a rectangle  whose sides are 3/4” in from the top and 1/2” in from the sides and bottom. Note we using the “Lines” tool, not the “Rectangle” tool, and we draw individual (separate) lines to create this box. To make each line separate, after drawing each line press the Esc key. If we didn’t do this, or we were to use the “Rectangle” tool, we would cover my grid with a white face (though I could use the Shape Style dialog box to inhibit this) and the lines would be connected which would cause a problem later when rounding the lower corners.

Draw a horizontal line 1 1/2” up from the bottom and stopping 1/2” from each side thereby terminating on the sides of the box we just completed. This creates a box 1” high and 10” long. We now draw a vertical line to sub-divide this box into a 1” by 4” box on the left and a 1” by 6” box on the right. We need one more straight vertical line to complete our boxes. This one will be parallel to the left edge, 1/2” to its right and extend from the top horizontal line to the first horizontal line that is 1 1/2” up from the bottom edge. At this point our rough template should look exactly as the picture above left.

Use The Arcs Tool To Round The Lower Corners To complete the boxes that outline our template we will use the “Arcs” tool to round the bottom two corners. The arc will be one quarter of a circle with a radius of 1/4” (2 grids). Refer to the picture at left. Using the “Arcs” tool click on a grid center point (Point 1). Next click on the 90 degree radius point (Point 2). Lastly click on the second 90 degree radius point (Point 2). Now we have a rounded corner, but still have the original square corners. To fix this we simply select each line, one at a time, with the “Select” tool and move the endpoints back 1/4” (two grid points). After selecting a line with the “Select” tool, hover over an end point until the cursor turns to two opposing arrows. Click and drag the endpoint back 1/4” with the assist of grid snapping. Be careful not to move the entire line but just the endpoints.

Now we will place my Swamp Road Wood Works logo (click the hyperlink to download it). With the File/Insert menu open the Open dialog box and locate the logo file you just downloaded. Highlighting it click on Open. The logo now appears in the center of the page and is selected, indicated by the blue bounding box. The logo is too big and in the wrong position, but correcting these problems is easy. Hold the cursor over the logo until you see the cursor change to four opposing arrows. Click and drag the logo and place the upper left corner where it should be (refer to the picture at right below). Next hover with the cursor over the lower right hand corner until the cursor turns to two opposing arrows on a diagonal. Click and drag the corner, but while doing this hold the Shift key down as well. This forces the scaling to be uniform. Place this corner where it belongs. You may need to repeat moving the corners until you get the optimum placement and size. Be sure to use the Shift key to maintain the aspect ratio. While the logo is still selected use the Arrange/Send to Back menu command to place the logo behind the lines we have drawn. This is to ensure the logo doesn’t obscure any of the lines.

We placed the logo as far to the left in the 1” x 4” box as possible and made it use all of the 1” vertical space. This leaves an area to the right where we can place my contact information. With the “Text” tool, click on the upper right hand corner of the logo and drag to the lower right hand corner of the 1” x 4” box. In the Text Style dialog box located in the Default Tray, choose Verdana Regular 8pt text. Now type my address and contact information as follows:

Joseph P. Zeh
325 West Street
Worthington, MA 01098

(413) 238-0338

Getting the spacing right may require tricks like placing a blank line before may name to create a little spacing at the top.

Logo & Outline Layer Appears On Every Page Let’s go back to File/Document Setup and choose Grid again. Let’s check the Clip grid to page margins check box as we said we would eventually do. Now we have a page that looks like that at right.

So far we have had one page titled Page 1 and one layer called Default. They are shown in the Pages dialog box and Layers dialog box in the Default Tray. We are now going to add a layer called Logo & Outline. First add a layer by clicking the + sign in the Layers dialog box. A new layer is added call Layer 2, and it is selected indicated by the pencil to the left and the blue shading. Right click on Layer 2 and choose Rename. Type Logo & Outline and press Enter. With the Edit/Select All command select all the objects drawn so far. Note this outlines all objects in blue. Right click on any object and choose Move to Current Layer. This places all objects on the Logo & Outline layer.

Layers Dialog Icons - Visible, Locked & Appear On All Pages Everything we have drawn so far we will want to appear on every page of our shop drawings. We will never change what we have drawn so far unless my logo changes, I move, get a different telephone number or change my email address. These are all unlikely to happen in any foreseeable future – I hope. To protect this information from change and to force it to appear on every page of the shop drawing we will make it visible, locked and apply to all pages. We do this with the three little icons to the right of the layers name. Click until the little eye is dark (not grayed out), the lock is locked and there are four sheets of paper in the last icon. The eye indicates the layer is visible on the selected page, the locked lock means it can’t be changed and the four sheets indicates it applies to all pages (of course we only have one right now). Now that this layer is locked it can no longer be selected so the selected layer has become the Default layer. To select the Logo & Outline layer again you must first unlock it. Locked layers cannot be selected (active).

Before we end Part 1 let me point out a few things. The page margins chosen were designed such that there is room along the top to punch three ring binder holes. The page will be placed in the binder in the portrait position. The grid only appears in the working area (actually it also appears in the little strip in the left, but that will be fixed in the next post). The grid is there to help place objects in the shop drawings by giving us something visual to snap to, but will not be printed with the shop drawings.

Stay tuned and we will complete the template in Creating A Custom Shop Drawing Template With LayOut 2 – Part 2 of 2. In subsequent posts I will demonstrate how to place the SketchUp drawings in the shop drawing pages for printing.

Wood Movement Master Calculations For Expansion/Contraction Of Headboard Panel The Trundle Bed design is complete and with this post so will the Trundle Bed Design series be. The next Trundle Bed post will be Part 1 in the Trundle Bed Crafting series where we will chronicle the build of this bed. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and complete this post first before strapping on our shop belt. As always I will make plans for this project available to my readers on my Free Plans page.

Since the last post the only design decisions were that of choosing joinery and allowing for material expansion/contraction through seasonal changes. All panels in the bed will ride in a grove 1/2” deep by 1/4” wide. The panels must be sized to allow for seasonal expansion/contraction, and we would like the panels to be centered in the groves. To accomplish this I will use a relatively new product on the market called Space Balls. Space Balls are flexible polymer balls 0.260” in diameter to fit snuggly in a 1/4” grove. By placing a number of these all around a panel which is appropriately sized they assure the panel will always be centered, eliminate panel rattle and allow for smooth expansion/contraction. Space Balls can be purchased from a number of places, including on the internet from McFeely’s.

Expansion/Contraction Is Not An Absolute Constant Across The Panel The trick to using Space Balls and to sizing panels is to know precisely how much a panel will expand/contract over the course of a season. You have seen me make these calculations before using an application called Wood Movement Master from Kite Hill Software Inc. Unfortunately this application is no longer available and supported. So, while I will use it here, you can find similar free calculators via a search of the internet. If you want to do the calculations by hand see Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley, an excellent reference for almost anything wood.

CutList Plus 2009 Parts List Generated From SketchUp Via Cut List 4.0.7 The first picture left above shows the results of a calculation for the bed’s Headboard Panel. This panel is quite wide, 22 29/32”. The bed will reside on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, so I choose Massachusetts, Coastal as the “Ultimate furniture location” which specifies the seasonal extremes of Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). The species is Cherry which defines the shrinkage percentage. The other critical parameter is the type of lumber, flat sawn in this case. Flat sawn lumber expands/contracts about twice as fast as quarter sawn lumber in most hardwoods. In the lower right you can see the results. This panel will undergo a total change in width of 3/8” over the course of a season. If I cut the panel now it will be at its narrowest because this is just past the peak of the dry season in Massachusetts. Space Balls recommends that panels be undersized 3/8” overall. I suspect this is a typical number for the typical cabinet door panel width. I decided to undersize this panel by 1/2” overall, which is how I arrived at the 22 29/32” panel width. This should work quite nicely.

One other subtlety about this panel, it is not the same width across its length; therefore the expansion/contraction will not be the same absolute amount across its length. See the second picture on the right above. Most of the expansion will take place near the center of the top edge where it will place the most force on the Swan Necks. This is a place where the Swan Necks are not physically attached to anything and hence will act as a lever prying the joint at the Headboard Posts apart. This is another reason why it is important to get this calculation right, that is, to minimize that maximum force generated by expansion. It is also why I will use lag bolts and glue on this joint to make it as strong as possible.

Rough Lumber Materials Requirement Per CutList Plus Calculations. While we are on subtleties there is one more to consider. The width of the panel given is good if I cut it right now. If, on the other hand, I get lazy and don’t get around to cutting it until late summer I need to adjust the cutting width for the planned expansion. If I cut it just past the peak summer humidity I may want to cut it 3/8” wider, lest it be too narrow and create an unsightly gap next winter. It is important to keep expansion/contraction in mind throughout the course of a design and crafting of a piece. Wood is still alive even though it is cut and dried.

Finally we can generate a cut list. Thanks to Cut List 4.0.7 Ruby Script (see Cut List 4.0.7 Ruby Script Connects SketchUp & CutList Plus ) we can pass information directly from SketchUp to CutList Plus and generate a Parts List and Material Requirements as shown above left and right. The rough lumber calculations are based 20% waste, which may be optimistic for hardwood calculations. It should be adjusted for the individual work habits. In addition to the rough lumber requirements shown above, two sheets of 3/4” plywood are needed for the platforms.

Now that we have completed the design I will make the SketchUp model file, CutList Plus file and a complete shop drawings package in PDF format available on my Free Plans page. The shop drawings in PDF format are thanks to LayOut, a presentation package that comes with the professional version of SketchUp. Now it is time to go in the shop and build this puppy. I will see you next for Trundle Bed Crafting – Part 1.

The Final Finial Design Is Slimmer & Shorter Well, the last of the design decisions involving the look and functionality of the trundle bed is complete. Two changes were made. The finial has been redesigned and made slimmer and shorter. This gives it a somewhat more delicate look while remaining substantial enough to look at home with the rest of the bed.

The Trundle Has Been Modified To Lower One Side For Sleeping Comfort The second change was in the trundle itself. It originally had two faux drawer fronts, one on each side. The thinking was that if the trundle bed were placed in the middle of the room both sides of the bed would have the pull out drawer look. The problem is that the faux drawer front rises above the mattress and would make the bed feel like a hospital bed, not allowing the person sleeping in it to dangle their legs over the edge. I lowered one side to the height of the head and footboard. This doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it gives the sleeper one side to favor when dangling a leg.

The Swan-Neck's Overall Dimensions It is now time to turn our attention to joinery and shaping. I like to have a strategy for shaping before I go into the shop even though it may change significantly once I start. The most complex pieces to shape are the Swan-Necks, Headboard Panel and Finial, in that order. So I will start with the Swan-Neck. The first and most important thing to remember about the Swan-Neck is that there are two of them and they are mirror images of one another. The shop drawings that I have created show one Swan-Neck, the left one. The drawings are annotated in a number of places to remind the craftsman that there are two, and the second is the mirror image. I don’t know about you, but I have made several pairs of things and discovered during glue-up that they were the same and not mirrored. Be forewarned.

Swan-Neck Cross Section With Dimensions The first thing you notice when looking at the Swan-Neck’s overall dimensions in the picture above left is that the stock is 3 1/4” by 3” – very hefty. Immediately you wonder – “What kind of router bit or shaper cutter can handle this profile and how will one actually move the stock through the cut?”. I decided that it is best to make the Swan-Neck out of two layered pieces, and, after some research of router and shaper bits, use two router bits and one shaper cutter to do the shaping of the stock. The Swan-Neck S shape will be formed using the band saw and various sanders. Before moving on to the next picture notice the mortise cut in the bottom of the Swan-Neck to accept the Headboard Panel. This will be cut with a slot cutter. At the end of this blog I will list all of the router bits and shaper cutters required to shape the Swan-Neck.

Back Layer Of The Swan-Neck Looking at the Swan-Neck cross section picture above right you can more readily see how the two pieces will be shaped. The front, and smaller piece, is only 1” by 2 1/4”. This curve can be shaped with Freud Raised Panel Cutter #UP209 and the companion Rub Collar #RC101. This cut will want to be made in a number of passes, probably by lowering the blade with each pass.

The second piece of this two piece sandwich is 2 1/4” by 3”. I will use two router bits to form it. The first is a rabbet cut 1/4” by 1/4” using a rabbet bit. This will remove most of the material. Then, using a 1/4” cove bit, I can shape the remaining curve.

Front Layer Of The Swan-Neck Take a look at the Swan-Neck back piece pictured above left. You will see that it is cut from a piece of stock positioned such that the grain of the stock runs through the center line of the Swan-Neck S. This stock should be 2 1/4” thick and minimally 8 1/2” wide by 28” long. The longer the length, the better. This will provide the opportunity to slide the template up and down the length of the board to choose the best grain pattern.

Note also the mortise slot for receiving the Head Board Panel. The particular slot cutter I have chosen cuts a slot 1/2” deep. The Headboard and Footboard Panels are designed to have a 1/4” tenon. Hence there will be a 1/4” gap. This gap will be filled with Space Balls, a hard rubber like ball that will give as the panels expand/contract with seasonal changes. More on this in a later blog.

Also notice the annotation that suggests that cutting and shaping the ends of the Swan-Neck may be a hand cut and sanding operation rather than using router or shaper bits. This is to avoid tear out ruining the entire piece. Better safe then sorry.

A similar picture of the Swan-Neck front piece is shown above right. This time I will use a piece of stock 1” thick by minimally 8 1/2” wide by 28” long. Again, the longer the better so that I have a choice of best grain direction. Also, as with the back piece, the ends will likely be shaped by hand to avoid tear out ruining the whole piece.

I promised a list of the shapers and cutters I plan to use to shape the Swan-Neck. These can very well change as I begin working the wood, but at this moment here is the list:

Freud UP209 Raised Panel Cutter
Freud RC101 Rub Collar for UP209
CMT 835.502.11 Rabbeting Bit Set
CMT 837.722.11 1/4” Cove Bit
CMT 822.364.11B 1/4” Wide by 1/2” Deep Slot Cutter
Freud UP207 Raised Panel Cutter for the Headboard and Footboard Panels


If you don’t have a shaper you can use similar or equivalent router bits. But they will have large radii which will require slow cutting RPM and they may not cut as cleanly as a shaper cutter.

In the next blog in the Trundle Bed Design series I will cover the shaping of the Headboard and Footboard panels.

Sneak Preview – Possible LayOut Tutorial

A Sample Of A Shop Drawing In LayOut As I mentioned earlier I purchased a SketchUp 7 Pro license and I am using LayOut to generate my shop drawings for this project. When they are completed I will make them available to you from my Free Plans page. I am also thinking of (quite seriously thinking of) creating a tutorial series on how to use LayOut. If there is enough interest I will get to work on it. To see how much interest there is I have a polling question at the top of my blog page. Please vote whether you are interested or not.

Isometric View Of Bed & Trundle The Trundle Bed design is almost complete. The joinery still needs to be added to the SketchUp drawings and I am not happy with the finial design at the top of the headboard. Also, I may dress up the faux drawer fronts a little to make them stand out more. The overall dimensions are 4’ 6 1/8” tall by 6” 11” long by 3’ 10 1/2” wide. The trundle will accommodate a twin platform mattress of 39” wide by 75” long by 8” thick. As it stands now the bed will accommodate  a twin platform mattress or a combination mattress & box spring of 39” wide by 75” long by 12” thick. Because the bed sits over the trundle its platform is necessarily longer, just barely enough to squeeze an X-Long mattress of 39” wide by 80” long by 12” thick, but with no margin for slipping a fitted sheet over it. The design could easily be modified to accommodate a few inches of margin.

Isometric View With The Trundle Pulled Out The trundle rolls out on non-turning casters aligned to make rolling out and in easy. The faux front drawer pulls also help. I debated using knock-down hardware to assemble the trundle instead of glued dovetail joinery. It certainly would make moving this bed easier. But in the end I couldn’t bring myself to abandon hand cut dovetails on a piece of fine furniture for knock-down hardware. The movers will just have to suffer. The overall trundle dimensions are 3’ 7 3/8” wide by 6’ 6 1/2” long by 12 1/4” tall. The faux drawer front is cock beading 1/4” thick with a 1/8” radius bead. The swan-neck cap on the headboard is rather thick, 3 1/4” in cross section. I may need to dress up the drawer front with more substantial and decorative trim to provide balance of attention garnered by the bed and trundle.

The Headboard - Notice The Swan-Neck Profile The shaping of the swan-neck will be done on my shaper using shaper cutters. The profile shown is an estimate of what I desire. In reality I will have to research my inventory, and on-line, to see which cutters I need to approach my desired profile. I have already done this for the shaping of the panels. They will require a Freud UP207 Raised Panel Cutter. Since I don’t have one I will purchase it on-line for about $140 plus tax. Shaper bits are not cheap, but in order to get a larger cut on the raised panel, I need to use shaper cutters rather than router bits. The Freud UP207 is designed for 5/8” panels which is what I have used in this design.

An End View Showing The Headboard & Footboard I am not real happy with the finial design. Though the bed has a substantial look, the finial seems to be too large and not delicate enough. I have changed it numerous times and still have more work to do. it is possible I might eliminate it all together and replace it with a reading light. One of those old style desktop lamps with the thick shade, dark green on the outside and white on the inside, might look good mounted on the pedestal. Alternatively a bedside table style lamp with a decorative shade might also look good. I have to check with the boss.

In the next installment of this series I will show the joinery and explain why I chose the joinery I did. One of the reasons for leaving the joinery to last is so that I can get accurate measurements of various components and then calculate the expected expansion and contraction during the course of a year. This drives the choice of joinery. In addition, leaving the joinery to the end allows for easy changes in design. Once the joinery is added, changes are much more complicated and require more work. Stay tuned.

Trundle Bed Sketch Minus Joinery & Panels After reviewing the styles and design criteria with Willow a few decisions were made. First, she fell in love with the Swan Neck headboard style shown in the third picture in Trundle Bed Design – Part 1. The second decision required a quick budget analysis of the component parts that made up a trundle bed’s height. This was aided by a few SketchUp drawings like the one shown at left. The total height of the bed from floor to the top of the top mattress was 30”. That included two 12” thick mattresses. Thirty inches was too tall because it was 4” above the sill of the window it would reside next to. Reasoning that a trundle is seldom used except as guest overflow, and that futons are often 4” or less, we chose to reduce the allowance for the trundle mattress to 8”. It should be rather easy to find a very comfortable platform, single  mattress, that is 8” thick or less.

This trundle bed SketchUp drawing is incomplete. It has no joinery included, the headboard and footboard have no panels to hide the trundle, and the faux drawer fronts have no trim to form the false drawers. In addition, the shape of the Swan Neck profile is simply a quick selection of geometric shapes, but I haven’t done a search of the shaper bits available to create them, so they are subject to change. This drawing took little time to produce, but it is very helpful in viewing the concepts and determining dimensions. From here I can try a number of design options.

Trundle Sub-Assembly Showing Dovetail Joinery One quick piece of joinery, and joinery decision, is shown at right. In almost all my projects there is a good size helping of dovetail joints. My favorite joint, and one I love to produce by hand. All that is missing from the trundle sub-assembly is the trim that will provide the faux drawer front look. The platform is 3/4” plywood. I almost never use plywood in my projects, but this is an application that screams out for it. Plywood is strong, it is almost warp proof, takes a finish well and it is cheap. In this application it will not be seen, but fits all the criteria. So I reluctantly submit to its use.

X-Ray View Of The Trundle Sub-Assembly - Note Casters & Dovetail Joinery I am an avid SketchUp fan and use it for all if my drawings. You by now have probably seen my beginner and advanced SketchUp tutorials. One of the really helpful features of SketchUp is the one click X-Ray. The picture at left is the very same drawing shown right above but with the X-Ray Icon selected. In this view the casters are clearly visible as are the platform support pieces. This view is not only helpful to see hidden joinery and hardware, but it also aids in the drawing of components when it is necessary to attach a primitive drawing element to an otherwise invisible point. SketchUp also has a companion sectioning tool that helps to make slices though any plane, for example a cross section down the length of the bed if desired.

Trundle Bed Sans Trundle Sub-Assembly Another feature of SketchUp is its ability to define views. A view can be from any angle, distance or several drawing representation (e.g. Isometric or Perspective). This helps when dimensioning a drawing or showing sub-assemblies such as the trundle above. At right is the bed minus the trundle sub-assembly. The number of views that one can create are virtually limitless, even in the free version of SketchUp. Recently I purchased the Professional version which includes SketchUp LayOut, at full featured presentation package. As this project proceeds I will use LayOut to create professional looking shop drawings and describe how this is done in this blog series. So stay tuned.

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