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Forum topic by Douglas Krueger posted 02-14-2010 03:44 PM 4636 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Douglas Krueger

396 posts in 3191 days


02-14-2010 03:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am about to venture into a new project of building our new son a heirloom bedroom set. The hope is that I can complete the project by the time he grows into it. Seeing that he is only 7 weeks old, time is still on my side.

In am effort to keep my soul and projects as near to 100% wood as I can, is there any known method of fabricating a strong and long lasting wood connector for bed rails. The selected wood is Thai Pradue which is relatively hard, similar to maple. Initial thoughts were using some type of over sized vertical sliding dovetail. The vertical strength of the joint should be sufficient but I have reservations about the lateral strength if the foot-board was moved Independent of the headboard.

Any ideas or leads would be appreciated

-- I can so I wood but why are my learning curves always circles


3 replies so far

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2536 days


#1 posted 02-14-2010 06:15 PM

I agree that sliding dovetails would be a little risky due to the stress of lateral movement. This might be a good time to let your common sensical mind overrule your wood loving soul and use some metal brackets. – lol

We had an antique spool bed that dated from the 1890’s that had cast iron “hooks” in the rails connecting to cast iron plates in the head and foot board posts, so using metal wouldn’t be a betrayal of authenticity. Metal connection hardware is easy to find.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View Douglas Krueger's profile

Douglas Krueger

396 posts in 3191 days


#2 posted 02-15-2010 05:08 PM

Sawkerf,

Thanks for the advice, I too have seen antique beds with metal connectors and agree it would not betray the authenticity. Being an engineer, it is more about rising to the challenge of design, which in my case has a tendency to preclude common sense.

After more thought and sketches, I am now considering attaching thick (1/2-3/4”)splines with beveled sides on both sides of the side rail and creating a ‘pocket for the splined side rail to drop into. This would greatly strengthen the joint against lateral motion. Will build a mock up to test the idea and if it works will then have to figure out how to blend the joints into the bed design for aesthetics.

-- I can so I wood but why are my learning curves always circles

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2536 days


#3 posted 02-15-2010 05:28 PM

I’m an engineer too, and that’s one reason I suggested the metal connectors. They’re a “tried and true” solution to a problem that must have existed for a long time before they were invented. It took me a few years, but I finally realized that reinventing the wheel was usually an exercise in futility. – lol

As I see it, the length of the rails provides a substantial moment arm which will cause a relatively small lateral movement of the footboard to generate major stresses at the headboard connection – along the weak axis of the connection.

If it were me, I would focus on hiding the metal connectors and making the rest of the bed so pretty that nobody would ever notice them. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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