|Project by bobfromsanluis||posted 07-24-2016 01:46 PM||1340 views||3 times favorited||4 comments|
At the request of my son, I started a project for a loft bed; in searching the internet for plans, I came across the closest thing to what I wanted from Ana White, a decorator who had a pretty solid plan featuring some very good Sketch Up illustrations. I am a self-taught wood worker, but have never tackled a project like this where I would be using all hardwood. I am fortunate enough that we have a very good hardwood supplier in my town that sells whole boards only, 8 to 10 foot lengths, random widths, and as I learned, in either S3S (surfaced three sides) or HOM (hit or miss) defined as boards that may or may not have been run through a planer and/or a jointer, but are a little thicker if one needs that 15/16s for a 4/4 board.
I initially wanted to use birch, but when I went to purchase the wood, there was nothing wide enough for the mattress box part of the bed, so I choose some pretty decent looking red oak. This was also my first project where I milled everything myself, using my planer quite a lot, my jointer to a degree, and of course, the table saw on every board.
The legs were glued up, three boards stacked up to make the final thickness, and for both the head board and foot board, there was a section left out to form a sort of mortise, which you can see in the third photo of the head board. I used a wide spreader and really went through the glue, clamping everything like crazy, photo #2.
I modified the original plans to include a fifth leg so I could build the ladder as part of the frame, my concern being that the room this bed went into is pretty small, so even a little bit of the ladder’s legs sticking out too far would have an impact on the space of the room. The added advantage of the fifth leg though was to stiffen up the front railing since the support is incorporated as part of the full leg. The ladder was constructed with dados in the uprights instead of the individual pieces called for in the original plans, and since I was going to attach the ladder to the legs, I was able to fasten the treads in place with two 2” wood screws at each end. I had a very slight miscalculation on the width of the ladder, so in photo 5 you can see where I had to plane out some of the width of the legs to make everything fit well. Photo 4 shows my dry-fit assembly on my driveway, where I was able to drill the pilot holes for the screws needed to attach the longer pieces going between the footboard and headboard. By attaching these with mechanical fasteners only, the bed can be disassembled in the future if it ever needs to be removed from the room. I used a small round over bit in my palm router on every single exposed edge, but did not round over any place where a connection was going to be. I finished with 3 coats of polyurethane and then put it together in the room. I also attached the bed to studs in the wall with six inch lag bolts in two places; that was pretty unnerving to drill such a large hole in such nice looking wood, but it really made the bed much more stable, especially since the bottom of the mattress is a little over 60” off the floor (I have 9’ ceilings).
I have since made a bookshelf that is as deep as the ladder and legs are wide, facing out under the footboard, but also left a space behind the ladder treads so there was room for toes to overhang when climbing up or down. Two more bookshelves are planned, one to in the back, from the back of the end one to the headboard which will be stationary, and one to go in front of that one, and it will be on casters so it can be pulled out on occasion to access the back bookshelf. Allowing for a couple of mistakes in cuts and so on, I probably bought about $50 to $75 worth of wood that I shouldn’t have had to, so my real costs should have been closer to $300. Having a 4 day a week part-time job, I was able to make the original bed project in about 2 1/2 weeks.