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Forum topic by leftcoaster posted 02-27-2016 01:25 PM 632 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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220 posts in 899 days

02-27-2016 01:25 PM

I like the plans for this bed

But he uses pocket screws and glue to connect the side rails with the head and foot board. That would prevent disassembly.

What’s a better option? Half lap on the legs to the depth of the rails and then screws? Bed hanger hardware?

I don’t have any plans to move it in the foreseeable, but moving an assembled frame up the stairs is a hassle all on its own. Yes, I could assemble on site.


Also, do pocket screws for the slats seem acceptable or should I choose something more elegant?

10 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1879 days

#1 posted 02-27-2016 02:15 PM

For this bed which has very large timbers I used mortise and tenon. The 4×8 rails had tenons on each end and the headboard and footboard had mortises. I used some 1×1 angle to make brackets which I then also mortised into the rails and ends. Large lag screws went thru the brackets to hold the mortise and tenons together. I mortised the brackets so they wouldn’t interfere with the mattress. Worked great.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View joey502's profile


537 posts in 1541 days

#2 posted 02-27-2016 02:47 PM

Pockets screws will not hold up to the racking forces a bed sees. Knock down hardware designed for attaching bed rails to the head/ footboard are a great option.

I do not feel pocket screws are a good option for assembly on the head and footboard either. Beds see all kinds of force, none of which a pocket hole joint will fair well against. The twisting when people flop down, roll around and get busy will pull the screws out. Gluing endgrain to long grain before the screws are applied will not add much strength. Endgrain does not glue well.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3154 days

#3 posted 02-27-2016 02:58 PM

Buy some quality bed rail mounting hardware. It’s very strong, and makes for a knockdown assembly

-- Gerry,

View bearkatwood's profile


1592 posts in 1034 days

#4 posted 02-27-2016 02:59 PM

I have built a few beds and always go for this one unless I am using through bolts.

-- Brian Noel

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#5 posted 02-27-2016 03:04 PM

I agree with the previous folks use mortise and tenon joinery or even counter sunk holes with screws and plugs for the joinery ,is better than pocket screws.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View jbay's profile


2333 posts in 922 days

#6 posted 02-27-2016 03:14 PM

I would go with the tried and true hardware Brian mentioned above.
If you don’t mind the hardware being on the inside I made a waterbed frame and joined the pieces using 1 1/2” aluminum angle. worked great and was fast and easy and strong. The cushion will hide the hardware.

View leftcoaster's profile


220 posts in 899 days

#7 posted 02-27-2016 03:53 PM

OK, so mortise and tenon for the headboard pieces and rocker hardware for the knockdown rail assembly.

Bill, your bed is beautiful. How do you safely cut tenons on a long, heavy board like those rails?

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1879 days

#8 posted 02-27-2016 05:21 PM

I cut the shoulder cut with a circular saw running against a guide. Then I cleaned out the rest with a router and straight bit. For the mortise I used a forstner bit and the squared it up with chisels. The tenons were only 1” long. They just needed to support the weight. The brackets keep the tenons in the mortises. You could do it other ways. You could do it all with a router and a jig. It would be easier to make round cornered mortises and then round the corners of they tenon than to do the opposite. Thanks on the bed. I built that for my cousin from all yellow pine.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View runswithscissors's profile


2764 posts in 2048 days

#9 posted 02-27-2016 09:41 PM

All Yellow Pine? A guy I knew in the army came from there.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1879 days

#10 posted 02-27-2016 10:03 PM

Not Al. All.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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