Clubhouse bed build

Submitted by donberry on Fri, 01/11/2013 - 18:56

This is the first wood project I have made in years. Just got my wood shop built and this was the first project - thank you Ana. It ended up taking me way longer than expected. It was the first time I have ever used the Minwax custom color stain and quickly discovered after trying to stain one side why many say it is best for smaller projects. I quickly learned for a large project like this, it is best to do the boards before they are assembled.
It is pretty much the stock build, tho I did deviate some and added a couple of things. First, as i was doing this project by myself, I discovered that just flipping a wall over to add the trim is not as easy as it sounds. At that point in the build, the only thing holding the walls together is the bottom trim piece so it is very flimsy. To make it easier to flip over myself, plus maybe add some extra stability, I ran a 1x4 along the entire back wall about half way up. I believe it really helped with the stability and still can't be seen.
I also added 1x4's on the inside of the front walls from the edge by the 2x4 leg to the doorway - one above the windows and one below the windows, on each side. I just wanted to make it as stable as possible as I built it for my 3 year old grandson and I knew his 5 year old sister would be jumping around in there with him. It didn;t take any room away from the inside and really helped make it sturdy.
One other thing i sort of changed was the ladder. I do not know why as the trim piece was right at spec according to the plans, but the 38" ladder came up about 3 1/2" too short, so I ended up having to cut another one at 41 1/2". Also, especially as it was for a 3 year old, I thought it was a really big drop to the first rung when they were getting out of bed, so I added a 4th step. With 3, my grandson would have had to climb into the bed and when he was getting out, would have had to hang over and find the rung, this way he just walks right up. Keeping it at the 8" apart, the 4th step fit perfectly.
You can't really see the legs in the picture, but on the front legs, instead of using bolts going thru both legs, I put in threaded inserts on the front wall legs, that way you do not see any bolts on those legs. I also used the threaded inserts to mount the ladder.
It ended up costing a small fortune as I used #1 grade wood. I was originally going to stain it something along the lines of early american, but after spending hours trying to find decent wood at both of the big box lumber yards, even buying #1 grade I could not find enough good wood where the grain patterns were similar. I tried 4 various stains on some test pieces, was not happy with any of them, so then went with the Minwax Custom color charcoal gray, and I am glad I did. It has a bluish tint to it and looks just about right for a little boy.
Also, instead of adding the top trim piece to the back of the back wall, I put it on the front where it could be seen, plus it made it easier to hide the boards not lining up perfectly.
After it was all complete, I then applied 3 coats of brush on poly, sanding between each coat. I really wanted to finish it off by then wet sanding it and rubbing it out, but I did not think my grandson really wanted to wait any longer while I waited for the poly to cure, so instead I sanded it down one more time with 220 grit and then applied the wipe on poly.
In my opinion, it was Jaime from That's My Letter idea of the window frames that really sets it off. It looked kind of plain until I added the windows. For framing the windows, I just went ahead and sort of did it like a real window. The only difference was I was a little worried about my grandson maybe hitting his head on the window sill, so I turned them around and the window sill is on the outside. I didn't think it thru as i was thinking he could set some stuff on them, like his thomas train or something, but that obviously wouldn't work as everything would fall off when he opened the window.
For the red, I just used latex paint, apple red, then stained over it with the charcoal gray.
And then to finish it all off, the last thing I added was a 16' LED rope light. I just ran it along both sides and the entire front. I do need to put a switch on it so he can turn it on and off and not have to have his dad plug it in. I will just add it to the back of the wall where you can't see it, that way he can just flip the switch.
Biggest thing is I can't thank Ana (and jaime) enough. The grandkids love it. It isn't as nice as many would have done, but I am very happy with it and I forgot how much I like doing projects like this, tho this particular one took me a looooooooong time.
I still need to make him a sign and we are thinking about putting up a bell in the space in the top of the wall.

Built from Plan(s)
Estimated Cost
$500 + - but I used #1 wood. Mucgh cheaper if you can find decent #2
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Type of Wood
#1 pine
Finish Used
Minwax custom color, minwax brush on poly, minwax wipe on poly, apple red latex paint
Recommended Skill Level


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