"We will probably like to buy more furniture in the future and will be back in touch." Caroline, Surrey
How do you get this beautiful hand carved English made oak four poster bed, into one of the guest rooms of this wonderful 13th century Sussex manor house?
It's easy we hear you say, it all comes apart. Quite correct. In fact, they always did, even in the 1400's. But coming apart into normally manageable pieces is one thing, getting those components up a very tight spiral stairs is quite another.
Of course the bed could be made so it comes completely apart, in much the same way as it was before being assembled in the workshop, right down each linenfold panel, for example. Although not impossible, that option is rather impractical.
What we normally do, is separate the posts from the surrounding framework. The side and end mattress rails shouldn't pose any problems, but you still have to be careful with the larger area panelled sections. The tester ceiling we usually split in half and the headboard panelled part normally separates away from the long horizontal pillow panel and lower rail. This leaves three large panelled sections which, under most circumstances, we can successfully negotiate around most domestic obstructions.
However, tight oak spiral staircases, like the above, are not normal domestic obstructions.
So, to make sure we don't end up with a possible embarrassing situation, we worked out the size of the largest panelled section, made a mock up (a sheet of chipboard will do) and tested it (or get it tested if too far away) on site. In this particular case, the largest section was the headboard panelling, as it usually is, and no, it wouldn't go up the stairs!
The fact is, it did almost go, but needed to be just a shade smaller. Here's how we did it. We made the both the top rail and bottom rail of the panelling to each be in two parts, but in such a way that it was impossible to detect the join once assembled. The split was made right at the edge of the moulded part of the two rails. See the following diagrams and photos.
Cad drawing showing the normally one piece panelled headboard section split into three components. The bulk of the top rail is separate from the narrow remaining part, which is permanently mortised and tenoned into the main panelled section. This is repeated for the bottom rail.
Cad drawing showing the tongue and groove joint between the two sections of top rail and bottom rail, with the split occurring right at the edge of the moulded section, making it impossible to spot, when assembled.
The following photographs show how the headboard assembly breaks down into five sections. When they're all bolted together, the narrow tenons of the rails attached to the panelled section, are trapped by the main rails, in the post mortise holes.
All five components of the headboard assembly can be easily maneuvered up around the spiral staircase. Just to make sure, before anything was made, we tested the re-sized chipboard mock-up on site. This time success!
See how the joint is disguised on both rails, and how the narrow tenon is trapped by the larger one, once it's in the post mortise hole and bolted up securely.
The rather out of place and too narrow Victorian 'Tudor Revival' bed, which our client wanted to replace with something more befitting this stunning stone windowed and oak beamed guest bedroom.
Below is the complete bed, successfully carried up the tight staircase and assembled here in the guest bedroom. The 14th century style bespoke oak chest was also commissioned by our client, to store the metal window shutters, when not in use.
To see the full size photos, in our 'Inspiration' collection, click:
Tudor style oak four poster bed in 13th century manor house and
15th and 16th century style oak furniture in manor house
To view the bed on our product pages, with dimensions, options more photos and prices, click:
Four poster bed early Tudor style
As well as clever technical and workshop solutions, we love to add the personal touch wherever possible. In this magnificent manor house, we found a host of details that we could incorporate into the bed, making it unique to our clients home.
Details for our highly skilled master carver to incorporate onto the square knops on the four posts of the bed (yes, this bed genuinely has four identifiable posts). Some of the devices were captured from architectural details around the house and the remaining ones are Medieval woodworking details taken from our own reference books.
How some of the designs were transposed on to the headboard posts.
For a geographical personal touch, we came across a symbol relating to the local church and reproduced it on the headboard top rail. You can see more detail photos of this bed and close up photos of numerous other pieces we've made for clients all over the world, here: Period style oak furniture up close.
Subtle local church symbol on the linenfold carved bed headboard, with parchemin panelled tester ceiling above.
To discuss a special period style piece you have in mind, or a particular challenge that requires our expertise (or both for that matter), do get in touch.
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