I'm modifying an existing pine bed frame to make it into a high bed. Three corners will be bolted to the walls and I intend to replace the fourth leg with a long piece of timber. I have the opportunity to get some 4" green peeled birch poles about the right size. I like how they look, and the price is great, but I'm wondering if it's possible to sensibly join the birch to the pine.

If I was using dried timber I'd just screw through the leg into the side rail and into the headboard with something like M8 coach screws (which is how the existing legs are attached). Will this work with the green birch? Is it possible to make this joint at all? I've never worked with green wood before. I know the birch will shrink radially, but I could just tighten the screws regularly to account for this. I'd be more worried about cracking from the screw holes.

(As you have probably picked up, this is not fine cabinet making here - rustic and quirky is the name of the game)

  • sounds to me like it should work. keeping it in the house the a large part of the drying can happen fairly quickly, but yes, very good chance it will crack as it dries.
    – bowlturner
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 3:58
  • 1
    "Will this work with the green birch?" Short answer is no, for a given definition of no; this is more of a 'Can I get away with...?' than a 'Will this work?' "I've never worked with green wood before." Prime opportunity to look up the ways that green woodworking is done :-) Focus esp. on the joinery methods. So then, A, do you have to use the birch for this? and B, if you do really want to use these poles can you wait a while before starting the project? I would highly advise waiting if feasible, and how one of/all of the poles dry may make you very glad that you did......
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 7:51
  • Note if drying the birch, no matter if it's some weeks or >1 year: seal the end grain as soon as you can. Best thing for this purpose on a small scale is molten wax (any kind, even melted out from tea lights if that's all you can get your hands on quickly). Last time I did it that's what I used; previously I melted the cheapest dinner candles from Ikea or Flying Tiger. If you don't have a gas cooker you can do this directly on a ring if you're careful, but if you want to err on the side of caution do it in a bowl over simmering water like all the guides suggest.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 7:56


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