Plank set on bed

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Forum topic by stuartlittle posted 06-07-2016 05:20 PM 647 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 888 days

06-07-2016 05:20 PM

Hello Everyone,

I have absolutely no experience in carpentry and need your opinion.

My brother’s work involves lot of traveling and she has to stay in hotels in different cities. Most of the hotels have very soft mattress where you just get sink in. He has a persistent lower back problem which has aggravated in recent months.

I dont know if there is anything in the market but I thought making a folding plank set which can be put over the bed.
That is, when folded appear to be 3 planks stacked but when opened would become a flat surface (planks horizontally placed).
Plank set would have 3 planks of dimensions 24 inches X 24 inches X 0.5 inch (thickness) each.

My question to you all is how I can join these planks? Are door hinges the best solution? I checked them the other day in Home Depot but found that hinges open more than 180 degrees. If I use hinges, the plank set when opened wont be 180 degrees flat. Because of weight two planks will make more than 180 degrees which will not be good for lower back. Is there any way I can make this plank set absolutely 180 degrees.

Thank you.

8 replies so far

View geekwoodworker's profile


378 posts in 1629 days

#1 posted 06-07-2016 07:44 PM

Use fabric glued to the boards.

View Lazyman's profile


2556 posts in 1556 days

#2 posted 06-07-2016 09:09 PM

Piano hinge might work. They have a low profile.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View brtech's profile


1046 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 06-07-2016 09:12 PM

Use fabric glued to the boards.

- geekwoodworker

This is actually a very good suggestion, although may need a bit more explanation. You need something strong, but relatively thin. It can cover the entire assembly. You want to glue the fabric onto the boards with no space between them. They will then fold in, but not out. You may have to alternate the side the fabric is on so that it folds up the way you want it to.

View brtech's profile


1046 posts in 3092 days

#4 posted 06-07-2016 09:37 PM

Also realize that although the hinge opens more than 180 degrees, you can mount the hinge so that there is no space between the sections when it is open. It will still fold, but when it’s open, the edges of the boards will be touching one another tightly, and there won’t be any bending. We don’t usually mount hinges that way, but you can do it.

Now, if you really want it flat, then use piece of extruded aluminum trapped in some “Z” shaped aluminum or steel holders so you can slide the extrusion back into the end boards when traveling and cross the gap when sleeping.

View Hookedin's profile


13 posts in 2035 days

#5 posted 06-07-2016 10:42 PM

Not to dissuade you from trying to make something, but wouldn’t a simpler solution be for him to move the sheets and blankets to the floor? Folding the blanket over a couple of times might give him all the “mattress” he needs.

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1414 posts in 1899 days

#6 posted 06-07-2016 10:46 PM

I would use 3/4” ply. Whatever hinge you use, piano hinge would be my choice, when you install them, hinge two pieces together, flip the assembly and attach the last piece. When done, it should fold into a 2 1/4” thick assembly. You can get 5/8” x 72” piano hinge at most hardware outlets. The 5/8” I mentioned in reality would be a hinge 1 1/4” when opened because of the fold. (hope I said that right).......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2466 days

#7 posted 06-07-2016 11:37 PM

I would get a Thermarest pad and sleep on the floor. Carrying a folding pine contraption around from room to room seems silly.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1622 days

#8 posted 06-08-2016 12:02 AM

How is he to get that on & off the plane? $75 to check it as a bag? As a 2’x2’x2” carryon that won’t go under the seat or in the overhead? Try accordion slats in fabric that will fold like a car windshield shade.


-- Madmark -

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