Loft Bed (OP College Style) #1: Introduction...

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Blog entry by VeganThug posted 10-30-2009 12:47 AM 10282 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Loft Bed (OP College Style) series Part 2: Got Wood?.. »

about a year ago, i moved into a dorm room sized studio. i immediately began conjuring up thoughts of a loft bed to give me more space to set up a small computer building area. i haven’t tried a wood project since middle school (i’m a world saver, not a carpenter), but having someone else do it is not in the budget, plus it could end up poorly done. the only thing worse than buying/making a cheap piece of junk is buying/making an expensive piece of junk. after searching for images, i found a design that i liked. i consulted with someone versed in carpentry who happened to live in my previous residence. he gave me some tips on the design. after a few surprise unrelated expenses and some social distractions, i’m finally ready to commit the hours necessary to complete the project by the end of the year (i’m eying mid november).

this project has many constraints. i want it to cost about $500 total (including any new tools that i purchase). ideally, any new tools i buy will fit in my single tool box. i also want to minimize the environmental impact for myself and the planet. by using more hand tools, i use less electricity, which is in short supply in many impoverished regions, which is where i plan on going to in the distant future. hand tools also help to stave off lazyindolentmonkeyitis which plagues most americans these days.

my budget is as follows (some items have already been bought):

  • $187 2 gallons sansin purity sealer (bought)
  • $48 – anant smoothing plane (bought)
  • $3 – plastic tri-square (bought)
  • $11 – home depot course/fine sharpening stone (bought)
  • $0 – rotting scrap wood for workbench (received)
  • $9 – workbench ($7 for polyurethene) (bought)
  • $2 – bungee cords (bought)
  • $8 – 5 sheets each of p800 and 2000 grit from walmart (bought)
  • $2 – 3 blankets of 3m sandblaster brand paper, p80 and 400 grit (bought)
  • $31 – 1000/6000 japanese stone from woodstock by way of (bought)
  • $9 – wood chisel/rasp combo (bought)
  • $3 – hammer (bought)
  • $26 – pipe clamps and 2 18” pipes (bought)
  • $1 – foam brush (bought)
  • $1 – large foam brush
  • $17 – drill bits
  • $16 – gas to drive to the other side of island for wood
  • $119 – wood (kiln dried hem fir):

    2×6x8 (2@4.64): $10
    2×4x8 (9@1.97): $18
    2×6x10 (3@6.18): $19
    2×4x10 (6@4.33): $26
    2×6x12 (2@7.61): $16
    15/32×4x8 (plywood): $12
    1×2x8 cedar furring (6@2.66): $18

  • $21 – bolts: 5/16×4 (package of 50 hot dipped galvanized)
  • $16 – nuts: 5/16 (box of 100 galvanized)
  • $24 – washers:

    5/16 Lock (35): $10 (25 galvanized for $4.96)

    5/16 (70@0.20): $14 (galvanized)

  • $49 – screws:

    3 1/2 (34): $10 (box of 57) #8?

    2 1/2 (36): $9 (for 84) #8?

    1 or 1 1/4 (8): $4 wait for keyhole brackets

    1 (48): $24 ($.48 for each stainless screw) #8?

    M4, 12mm: $2 (hex cap?)

  • $15 – keyhole hangers (10)

    $617 – subtotal

  • $150 – used, clean full mattress

    $767 – total

obviously, i’m well over budget. i should save some on the hardware with bulk purchases. i’ll also probably buy the zinc plated hardware, which will then likely get a massage with petroleum jelly before final installation. the mattress doesn’t really count because i originally assumed i would use the twin mattress in my furnished studio. after i decided to get my own mattress, i also decided to make the bed bigger. after some temporary delusions of grandeur involving a 6’x9’ loft space for a 12’x9 room, i settled on a full size loft (6’x4.5’). they’re hard to see, but here are the diagrams:

Diagram Front

Diagram Back

Diagram Head and Foot

Diagram Top and Bottom

the base design is from they offer a lot of free info, which is very helpful. sure i could have paid $10 for their plans, but that would have been too easy, plus a few custom modifications can end up changing every measurement, plus i’m very stingy with my money (yes, i realize that the $200 for the tree-hugger sealer may seem contradictory to the ‘stingy’ statement). i plan on modifying the first design with the ladder from the second picture:

Loftbed Template

Loftbed Ladder

i should have started this blog earlier, but i wanted to get my design in order as well as my parts list. i already built the workbench, but i don’t have any pictures yet. i do have a couple before pics of the workbench:

Bench Pieces

Bench Bottom

i also have had some unpleasant experiences with sansin (the company that makes the sealer). maybe i’ll review the product (although, i can only offer a newbie prospective).

i’m starting the blog mostly for myself. it also may be beneficial to someone starting out. maybe they can avoid the mistakes that i made/will make. it may also be interesting because i plan on hand planing the construction grade lumber, which i already know will be relatively time consuming. i’m also testing the hand planing advice given on numerous websites. i want to know if the advice they give is really necessary for someone who just wants to do a nice job, but nothing that would be considered fine woodwork.

i not asking anything of anyone except to notify me if something that i’m doing is inherently unsafe. even if the project is ascetically disgraceful, if it’s safe, then i’ll be content. i’ve spent hours upon hours of internet research, so i’ve methodically evaluated and scrutinized seemingly every detail. i’m sure the friendly people on this forum will offer much advice. when i first signed up, there were like ten messages from people welcoming me to the forum before i even introduced myself. i’m reminded of the line, “it’s quiet.”“yeah, too quiet.” everyone seems to be a little too friendly. i’m keeping a sharp eye.

finally, i heard a voice in my head that said, “if you grow it, they will come.” i realized that to properly build a wood project, one must play the role of a craftsman. i don’t have any flannel shirts or a tool belt, but i can grow an ‘old man river’ beard. it’s a scientific fact that each day of scruff adds to the skill level of a woodworker. even though beards are less sanitary, i can’t defy the voices in my head:

Early Scruff

-- don't be offended if i'm a little brash; it's only because i...on second thought, be offended.

2 comments so far

View CoolDavion's profile


434 posts in 3786 days

#1 posted 10-30-2009 02:51 AM

Best of luck to you.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3539 days

#2 posted 11-01-2009 07:43 AM

Look forward to your progress

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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