The image to the right shows the ‘Aztec’ style bed shortly after delivered (also see the Armoire and Dresser that complete the set) The Aztec name came about to describe the deep bass relief geometric carvings that dominate the design.
The design was adapted from bits and pieces of numerous drawings that were drawn by the clients artist friend. i havent looked at the old drawings in awhile, but I believe the posts on
this piece were 5″ square.
The headboard is a 2¼” thick solid lumber slab that has a 1″ thick tennon that rides in a very tight, polished and lubricated mortise with ½” of expansion allowance. The reason for the slippery joint was to eliminate the inevitable ticking or poping sounds the panel would make as it expanded or contracted with variations in relative humidity. The headboard is only allowed to expand upwards, and is held together and allowed to slip via a large engineered slip joint hidden behind the large arrow shaped recess on the side of the headboard posts near the top.
The footboard has a similar slip joint configuration, albeit smaller, that is hidden behind large 2″ diameter buttons located near the top and bottom as this panel as it is fixed in the middle and expands both ways. The side rails are connected with oversized versions of standard bed rail hardware that were fabricated by a local blacksmith. I think they were at least a foot tall, and the motises for them can be seen in the image below. There were four hooks on each.
The posts on this piece had to be solid to accept the large tennons and hidden slip joints. They were too large fto cut to length on any machine I had at the time, so I had to do all of the cross
cuts by hand.
The carvings were created several different ways. some of the depth was achieved by carving then adding meat around the carved area, some was created using a router mounted on a shop-made gantry jig that I could float over the the piece, plunging the router bit where needed.
Two sizes of spoon gouges were used to carve the deepest field, and a combination of carving knives, v-grooves, and pick were used to create the zillions ov lines and other patterns.
The large orb was almost completely rounded on the table saw, then finished with a socket slick and belt sander.
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