Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Well here it is finally in the mostly complete state. It is as complete as it will get until I get the rest of the stuff along that wall designed, built and installed. As that time, I will probably add some crown molding or something along the top to disguise the wires and finish out the look.
Overall I am pleased with the entire process and don't regret it but there are some things I learned that I would do differently. It was certainly worth the effort and cost savings of doing it myself over buying a prefab kit that I just assemble on site. It was however not without its problems that I'm not sure how I will deal with right yet. First the problems.
In order to get the strength necessary, the sides of the bed platform and the cabinet needed to be made out of plywood. With many laminated layers in different directions, it is much stronger than any solid wood you can buy. However, when working with large panels of it, it is more flimsy than solid wood and so warping can be an issue. When I was building that cabinetry for the office side, all the panels are small enough it isn't a problem. However, with these long panels, it was a problem. Although not really noticeable, the panel that spans the top of the cabinet and the one on the right side are both bowed inward creating slight rubs as the bed raised and lowers. With the top, I solved it by shimming up each side of the cabinet, screwing the top panel to the wall in the middle of the panel and then unshimming the side and allowing them to sag back down. It didn't help as much as I had hoped but it was enough to create a slight gap. The right panel however doesn't have a ready solution. I'm hoping that perhaps when I build my book shelves on that side that I can suck that side of it against the shelf sides and create the proper gap that I'm looking for. Neither rub however really is a detriment to operation of the cabinet so it really isn't something I will lose sleep over.
As for the thing I would do differently, when I was tossing this idea around in my head, I thought I would like reading lights in the cabinets. I bought a kit that was made for cabinet lighting and dropped some wires from the ceiling. When I went to finally install the kit, I realized that it was designed to actually plug into an outlet along the floor. I could have installed an outlet there had I known and thus not had wires poking up that I now have to disguise, but I didn't. I also installed a switch on the wall to control those reading lights but the kit came with a knob that dims the lights and the lights always default into the dimmest (i.e. off) mode rendering the switch useless. With the switch on, you can touch the dimming knob to adjust the brightness of the light and turn it off without leaving bed so I guess it is more convenient in that sense. It also means one can't accidentally switch the reading lights on with the bed closed and forget about them since they default to the off condition. These are LED and don't produce much heat but with other bulbs, it could create a fire hazard.
I'm pleased with the result and am currently working on designing plans for the cabinet which will go in the corner on the left side of the Murphy bed. It will act as a tiny closet/dresser/nightstand for guests using the Murphy bed. More on that in future posts I'm sure.