Trundle Bed

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Project by PurpLev posted 07-12-2008 07:06 AM 4200 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So we decided to get our daughter her first bed. hurray!!

We thought a trundle bed would be the best solution, as it includes an extra mattress that we can use for guests/friends that sleep over. we looked around for beds that we liked, and the price ranges were at the $500-$600.

I figured I can build one for half the cost. and so it began.

The Posts
while driving around town one evening, I spotted some birch boards (mostly 3/4”x2-1/4”, and some 3-1/4”x3-1/4”) I immediately slammed on the brakes, put the car in reverse.. pulled over, and hauled those boards on my roof rack – I had some perfect Posts there!

I took the sizes of the boards I just got, and started designing a bed using Sketchup (one of my favorite tools in my arsenal). The initial design was based on the boards I had just picked up, and a frame+panel headboard/footboard – you can see it in this Blog.

I had then come about a headboard and footboard that were originally for a baby-crib, and were the width of a full size bed. since my bed is planned to be a twin size bed. I figured I can trim those down, and use the extra length of material to form some tenons that I can fit into my posts material. And so I did.

since the headboard and footboard were already fully assembeled and glued, it made it a bit difficult to cut them to size proportionally, and square to each other, especially since they had curves on the top part and didnt have any straight lines to be able to square anything to. But with the help of hand tools, a bit of patience, and a good amount of desire – the job was done!

The Rails
OK, so this is where money started coming out.. but not for long. I wanted the rails to be of exact size (1”x6”) and color (to match the birch posts) so I went to the local lumber yard, and picked up some hard maple. gotta love that maple! with a single coat of natural stain, and 3 coats of Poly, it matched the birch posts on the money!

The Slats
For the slats I opted to go with birch plywood 3/4” that I had laying around. I like the fact that the ply doesnt change with seasons, so it will not push and pull on the bed construction. Since plywood is somewhat more flexible then solid wood, I had the slats rather wide (9” each) and 1” apart from one another. not sure if thats an acceptable thing in the bed-making industry, but hey – I had it, and it fits perfectly, and seems to hold very well.

Total Cost and Labor
Mostly recycled materials!
Total money out of pocket is about half than what I’d planned for, and a quarter of what we would pay if we bought a similar bed from the store. plus, I was loving every minute of making this bed.

99% hand tools work (japanese saw, chisels, and hand planes) since working with the already assembled pieces took some precision work, but I love doing that- very zen like work.

All Mortise and Tenons. the Rails are not glued, but tightened with bed bolts, and the protection-rail is just floating in the mortises, and can be taken out later on.

And Best Part is:
Telling your daughter that you build a custom bed just for her – priceless!

hope you like it, I know I do.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

14 comments so far

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3964 days

#1 posted 07-12-2008 01:08 PM

PurpLev, I love the style! This is a beautiful bed and your daughter will cherish it. Thanks for the post, the story, and the blog.

-- Martin, Kansas

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4008 days

#2 posted 07-12-2008 01:25 PM

Nice looking bed. Thank you for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4459 days

#3 posted 07-12-2008 02:57 PM

Fantastic job from the mostly-recycled materials. I love the style!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4220 days

#4 posted 07-12-2008 03:33 PM

Hi Lev;

Now I know not to go to the lumber yard.

Just drive around until I find the right size piece laying around somewhere.

I cut really save a bundle doing it that way.

Ah, with my luck all the pieces would be too long!

Very nice bed. Great workmanship.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4540 days

#5 posted 07-12-2008 06:17 PM

Very nice, I hardly ever pass up a piece of wood on the highway.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 4045 days

#6 posted 07-12-2008 07:43 PM

An excellent piece of furniture. The bed looks so attaractive and your daughter will love it and get a very sound sleep in this bed. The cost of bed is the result of your hard labour and determination. Thanks for the detailed post.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3889 days

#7 posted 07-12-2008 08:52 PM

Thanx everyone!

Lee – Better too long than too short …always.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 4014 days

#8 posted 07-13-2008 01:46 AM

Nice looking bed. You did a great job on it. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 3957 days

#9 posted 07-28-2008 07:13 PM

Nice looking bed.a great job

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Grumpy's profile


24838 posts in 4091 days

#10 posted 08-05-2008 12:05 AM

Great job at the right price. Good luck in the contest.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3913 days

#11 posted 05-13-2009 03:09 AM

Nice Bed.

View a1Jim's profile


117420 posts in 3818 days

#12 posted 05-13-2009 03:14 AM

good job looks great

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View oakwood's profile


327 posts in 2310 days

#13 posted 11-29-2012 08:39 PM

Nice job on the bed. I made a similar one years ago but I like yours much better. Thank you for answering my forum topic concerning postings. I realize now that I was doing it all wrong. All the best and keep building.

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3889 days

#14 posted 11-29-2012 08:52 PM

oakwood – Thank you for the comment. you weren’t doing anything wrong , just nothing right either ;) (I’m joking). jokes aside – you simply needed to figure out the LJ website and how to post comments nothing more nothing less. Welcome aboard!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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