Four Poster for a Willow Bed




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by Ernest Thompson Seton 

How to Make a "Four-Poster" for a Willow Bed

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For complete equipment for the willow bed, you need a "four-poster."

Get four posts of soft, strong wood, each about 4 inches thick, two of them 24 inches long and two of them 30 inches; five poles, 7 feet long and about 3 inches thick; four poles about 3 feet long and 3 inches thick, flattened for a few aches at each end; a block of heart wood of either pin oak or white oak, 6 inches long, of which you make 18 pegs 3/8 inch thick and 6 inches long. For tools you need a saw, ''sharp hatchet, a good knife, a turning brace with a 1-inch it and a Y2-inch bit.

Ten inches from the ground in each of the posts, make a hole 3 inches by 1 inch, by boring 3 holes with an inch augur and clearing them out. (Fig. 1, AA.) At right angles to these in the same posts, but 4 inches from the ground, make a 2-inch hole (Fig. 2, BB), and 4 inches from the top (Fig. 2, CC), make another 2-inch hole; that is, three holes in each post, the middle one at right angles to the other two. Into the top and bottom holes (CC and BB), fit the flattened ends of the 3-inch poles (DE), so that the posts are 3 feet apart measured on the outside. Secure them at each joint with an oak pin driven through.

Put the head boards together in the same fashion. Into the holes AA, fit the side poles by flattening the ends. The more tightly they fit, the more steady the bed. One pin at each joint is enough.

On the lower cross piece (E), at each end are rested the three smaller poles. They may rest in slots, or be pegged in, or even tied on. If flattened and well-pegged, they help to brace the bed.

In general, the better the joints, the better the bed. Square shoulders on the mortises will make it steady. If wobbly, angle braces of naturally bent wood may be pegged on the underside of the side poles and against the posts, as indicated by the dotted lines. Rawhide braces across the angles are sometimes used.

The oak pins, after they are shaped, should be dried in heat strong enough to scorch their tips. This makes them very hard, and such will drive into soft wood without a preliminary augur hole. It is from its use in this way that pin oak got its name.

The willow bed rests on the side poles. The under poles 4 inches lower (UP) are to support the rods if they sag more than is safe when all the weight chances to rest on one place.

Now the frame of the "four-poster" is finished, and it is ready to receive the willow bed, unless you wish to decorate it. Carvings on the posts are good, also circles and squares of color. But whatever is done in this line, should be of the simplest style. Beware of realistic pictures or flower paintings, and do not decorate it on the parts that are never seen.

 The Birch Bark Roll 






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Last modified: October 15, 2016.