Build an Entire Guest Bedroom Suite
In keeping with my philosophy that every 3rd semester should be dedicated to review, this semester is all about the projects. Let’s take our skills and just build stuff.
Last year the membership voted and decided that we would build a guest bedroom suite. I say specifically a “guest” bedroom suite because typically this does not include a chest of drawers. Those can be a major project with a lot of lumber and parts and from a time perspective and financial perspective it isn’t feasible to add that into the mix. So we will cover the other elements of the guest bedroom.
Before I joined The Hand Tool School, I was confused and overwhelmed with all the free woodworking material online. I needed a structured program that would walk me through the process of building something by hand from the very beginning at whatever pace I desired. The Hand Tool School provides me a very detailed step-by-step curriculum. The projects draw on skills taught in the lessons and are detailed and entertaining. But in addition to the great video instruction, Shannon and School community are always available to answer any questions I have. It is a perfect match for what I needed.
Member Since 2014
Work at Your Own Pace
What makes the lesson in The Hand Tool School so effective is that they never go away. When you buy a semester you have lifetime access to the material. No need to worry about cramming in all the content before access goes away or how much it will cost you in monthly fees to get through all the material. And there is A LOT of material in Semester 6.
Unlike brick and mortar classes, there is no start time and no need to take vacation time or travel to a location. With The Hand Tool School you can work at 2 AM in your own shop, with your own tools, and stark naked! I advise some protective footwear at least.
Moreover, I think that being able to stop and rewind, or skip to a specific section makes this type of learning even more effective than the whirlwind, fire hose feeding that comes from trying to cram 6 months of instruction into a week long class. The projects built in semester 6 represent the culmination of the 5 previous semesters from basic milling and joinery to more advanced skills like turning, carving, and veneering.
I also up the ante on the project format with even more detail in a quick and easy chapter format making it easy to build along and reference exactly the video you need. Finally I include an in depth "Process Document" with each build that is similar to a magazine format giving details on every step that you can take to the shop as use as your build companion.
Projects & Tools
- Low Post Bed
- Blanket Chest
- Wall Mirror
- Side Table
- Tool List
Short Post Bed
This low post bed design derives from a Southern colonial idea with “neat and plain” that also is reminiscent of Shaker lines yet it includes subtle decorative touches that dress it up too and harken to the Sheraton style. It is a queen sized bed but I will discuss the designs changes that may be encountered when matching other sizes as well as construction surrounding the use of a box spring and without. We will strengthen our milling skills but up the ante with long bed rails and a wide headboard. It is entirely constructed using mortise and tenon construction and the introduction of bed bolts so the bed can be disassembled and moved. I’m still deciding whether to turn the posts or go with a pencil post design but I will cover both construction methods during the build.
What better place to sit and put on your shoes or place your guest’s luggage than a blanket chest at the foot of the bed. This design is taken directly from Pennsylvania 18th century style but dialed back to a more rural take. Higher style versions of this would have used more mouldings and ogee feet along with Mahogany and locking hardware. Our design will be simpler and in Cherry to match the rest of the suite. Dust off your dovetail saw as this classic design is all about the dovetailed corners. Breadboard ends on the top add a mortise and tenon challenge and the decorative plinth is the perfect place to show off our moulding and curve cutting skills with an elegant bracket foot and moulding.
Chippendale Wall Mirror
What guest room isn’t complete with a mirror for your guest to use to ensure they are pretty each morning. Since my first visit to Colonial Williamsburg I have wanted to build one of these mirrors. Some are quite large and others really small. My design will settle somewhere in the middle so it doesn’t make too strong a statement in the room. Using very little stock, a mirror is a great opportunity to practice mortise and tenon joinery and air tight miter joints. I’ll throw in some delicate curves and fretwork detail and some creative moulding work just for fun. A mirror in any colonial room would have shown great wealth and often the frame would be very ornate. This style comes directly from Southern Colonial America.
This can be made singly or as a pair to flank the bed. This piece is the anomaly in our bedroom suite. Again drawing from the Sheraton style this table has plenty of storage and an impossibly delicate leg. We will shape bow front drawers and match it to the top. Then cap it off with a delicate string inlay for a little interest.
The asymmetrical 3 drawer arrangement draws from Shaker built in furniture and the work of Garret Hack. There are several challenges inside to support this arrangement that will be reminiscent of a full blown chest of drawers project. It is much higher style than the other pieces but also a study in editing your own design so that we can blend the colonial contemporary theme of the rest of the room with some more ornate stylings without making this little piece stick out.
Semester 6 Required Tools
Since this is a review semester, there are no new required tools. This does assume you have the Semester 1 & 2 tool kits for typical milling and joinery as well as curve cutting and refinement. In addition we will be turning elements so the Semester 5 tool kit and a lathe will be required. The carving gouges from the Semester 4 kit will come in handy but most work can be done with a typical bench chisel.
An Unmatched Learning Experience
I firmly believe that if you follow each lesson, do the practice exercises, and build the projects you will be a better woodworker at the end of it. I think that dedicating 4-6 months to get through all the lessons and projects is a reasonable goal as well.
Of course I'll be here every step of the way answering your questions. Ask any of my students, I'm always ready to help.
What I appreciate most is Shannon's humble approach and the community he has created. He uses his mistakes as lessons in learning. Shannon willingly asks for feedback, always responds thoughtfully to our questions, and supports us through out struggles. I really feel like I'm part of a special group.
I knew I was among friends when I watched Shannon build a table while wearing a "Steal Your Face" Grateful Dead t-shirt. So happy to be a part of this school!
Member Since 2014
But there is also a community of your peers waiting for you to share your triumphs, project pictures, and to help you when you have troubles. If you are struggling with a technique or project, many of them are building the same thing or have already built it and can offer advice.