This will be number four. Our three beautiful and maddening children are currently 4 (John), 2 1/2 (Lily), and 1 (Thomas). When he or she is born this December, they will be 4, 3, 1, and newborn – 4 under 5. We just found out last week, and at this point pregnancy is sort of old hat. My sister is due soon with her 6th, and she always says that she gets pregnant faster with each pregnancy, meaning that the symptoms start showing up sooner, as if her body is saying, “Oh, pregnancy? I know how to do that!” The worst part of pregnancy for my wife is sleeping – her back just gets all out of whack, and our mattress isn’t helping. We’d like to get a new mattress, but we want our next bed to be a King. So “I’ll build us a bed someday so we can get a more comfortable mattress” has just turned into, “I’m building a bed!”
We like this bed, called the Riverside Craftsman Bed. For the life of me, I can’t seem to get the interwebs to tell me where the thing is made, by whom, or out of what. I’m guessing Poplar core with Oak Veneer, questionable joinery, made somewhere between China and whatever country has just started to come into the industrial age and has the cheapest labor. Anyway, I’ll be following the design pretty closely, with the most obvious difference being the lumber and joinery. The slats will be resawn from 4/4 Walnut and bookmatched with the best grain I can find at the center.
Amazon sells it for $1350. Based on my calculations and pricing from a few places around town, I can get the rough lumber in Walnut for under $500, maybe less if I can keep the waste to a minimum.
The one big question I have is how to join the rails to the headboard and footboard.
- Movable 1-4 times over the next 60 years.
- Sturdy and doesn’t rack.
- Durable – able to withstand my kids’ abuse.
I’m guessing that the two ways to make a bed sturdy are to make the rails wide (tall): 8-10 inches, and to join them tightly to the posts. I’m a big fan of building projects that have no metal included, but I’m open to bed bolts or zip bolts if they’re the best solution. I like traditional exposed joinery, but I don’t have a ton of experience with it. I’m currently thinking about double through tenons with 5/8” or 3/4” drawbored pegs. I figure that if we ever need to move, I can put a screw in the pegs, use it to pull them out, then just cut and install new pegs to reassemble. But will the drawbored holes give over time and cease to be as strong a joint? This bed will need to stand up to 20 years worth of kids running and jumping onto it, Saturday morning pile-ups, and all manner of other abuse associated with having a family of 6 (or more?), then still be sturdy for another 30 or 40 years of peacetime. I’m looking for the best solution – not the cheapest or easiest.
Have you built a sturdy bed? How did you join the rails?
I’ve never built a project this big or complex, so other resources or ideas are more than welcome!
-- "Those who are not dissatisfied will never make any progress" - Dr. Shigeo Shingo