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Murphy bed and shelves - plywood behemoth

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Project by Sandra posted 04-01-2018 07:38 PM 1024 views 1 time favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I told my son last year that I’d build him a Murphy bed and I finished it yesterday.

This project is more construction than craftsmanship without a doubt.

The plans for the bed portion came with the hardware which I bought online from Lee Valley. I had no plans for the shelves and drawers. The last picture in the sequence is the online image I was copying.

How I would have liked to have built the bed portion:
Maple with a light finish, panels that I joined myself

How I actually built it:
The hardware plans called for plywood so that’s what I used. My son wanted dark wood, so the whole project (other than a bit of trim) is stained plywood.

How I would have like to have built the shelves and drawers:
Leisurely take my time and learn new joinery. Dovetails, box joints etc

How I actually built them:
Pocket holes. Quick and solid so that I could finish the project before my son grows up

Lessons learned:

I used a lot of math to get the shelves lined up with the bed trim and evenly spaced etc etc. I did take my time on this and it paid off. 8×4 sheets of plywood are NOT easy for me to manage, so I had the major cuts made at the store and a measurement mistake at home would have cost me at least another trip to town and another sheet of plywood ($$) I also bought a Kreg circular saw guide and it worked great for ripping the sheets down for drawers.

Drawers – I’ve cobbled together drawers in my shop and built box-jointed drawers for my workbench but I was dreading the drawers in this project because of the number of them and the fact that I was working without plans. I was going to frame out the drawer fronts, but decided that would be too busy, so I did flat plywood drawer fronts. I finished the edges by sanding and staining and I like the look.

The drawers went together much easier than I expected, but I did struggle with the measurements and placement of the drawer slides. Thankfully nobody was around to hear my language.

So my son is thrilled which counts for a lot. The color is not my taste and there are mistakes that bug only me, but I’m pleased overall with the outcome.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.





22 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29786 posts in 2454 days


#1 posted 04-01-2018 07:49 PM

Impressive build. Looks well done.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

7207 posts in 2191 days


#2 posted 04-01-2018 07:52 PM

Thanks. I don’t want to see anymore plywood for awhile however.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5545 posts in 2525 days


#3 posted 04-01-2018 07:52 PM

Nice work, as you said a large project.

How I actually built them:
Pocket holes. Quick and solid so that I could finish the project before my son grows up

- Sandra

I can relate to this.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View BB1's profile

BB1

1167 posts in 964 days


#4 posted 04-01-2018 08:08 PM

In the midst of building a murphy bed with two side units for shelves…definitely can relate!!


Thanks. I don t want to see anymore plywood for awhile however.

- Sandra


View Sandra's profile

Sandra

7207 posts in 2191 days


#5 posted 04-01-2018 08:18 PM

Looking forward to seeing it.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Festus56's profile

Festus56

3268 posts in 1344 days


#6 posted 04-01-2018 08:27 PM

Looks great Sandra. That is a big undertaking for a one person shop. And the boy will get to enjoy it for some time also !!

-- Mark -- Really we're not crazy, just "Limited Editions" -- http://www.jmh-limited-editions.com/home.html --

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8340 posts in 2444 days


#7 posted 04-01-2018 08:57 PM

This was a BIG undertaking. Great job pulling it off… and yes… done before they grow up counts for a lot.

I sure wish I had one of these when I was a kid. Who needs to make your bed when you can just flip it up and hide it :^)

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2735 posts in 2383 days


#8 posted 04-01-2018 09:10 PM

Sandy, congratulations on a job well done. I applaud your decisions to concentrate on product rather than process. Learn those fine details when you are working on a smaller scale and don’t have a kid’s needs to satisfy. .

I am a little confused about how this works. Does the plywood “front” lie flat on the floor?

How do you pull it down?

-- Big Al in IN

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

32061 posts in 2982 days


#9 posted 04-01-2018 09:31 PM

This is a very nice Murphy bed and it turned out so nicely.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles, http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

View boxcarmarty's profile

boxcarmarty

16522 posts in 2476 days


#10 posted 04-01-2018 09:39 PM

Sandra, it looks amazing from way down here…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3008 posts in 1973 days


#11 posted 04-01-2018 10:48 PM

Very nicely done.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

7207 posts in 2191 days


#12 posted 04-01-2018 11:54 PM

Thanks folks

Big Al – when you pull the bed down, there is a rail that flips down at the end of the bed that serves as legs. I’ll see if I can post a better picture.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

7207 posts in 2191 days


#13 posted 04-01-2018 11:58 PM

Like this:

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3647 posts in 2367 days


#14 posted 04-02-2018 12:16 AM

Nice functional project, Sandra! I likely would have made similar construction choices.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Andy Ponder's profile

Andy Ponder

242 posts in 1823 days


#15 posted 04-02-2018 12:39 AM

Excellent job Sandra. You did yourself proud.

I’ve not attempted a Murphry bed, but have heard they are quite an undertaking.

-- AP--I thought growing old would take longer.

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