Faux timber framed platform bed

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Forum topic by DoctorJ posted 08-20-2011 04:27 AM 2234 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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48 posts in 3399 days

08-20-2011 04:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question timber frame platform bed

I need some advice on a timber framing project.

After noodling around looking at platform bed plans, I’m about to embark on an adventure to build a queen size bed using some roughly 4×4 birch timbers that I have stored in my basement. It seems like a timber framing approach using bridle joints in the corners might work nicely. Then it occurred to me that I could simultaneously dress it up a bit and also have an integral shelf for the slatting if I approached this a bit differently.

My idea is to square up the wood, rip each timber into thirds and then reglue the slices after cutting the pieces to length to fashion bridle joints at the corners. In the sides the center slices (the meat in the sandwich) would be offset laterally by about 3/4” to make a shelf for the bed slats on the inside and a place to glue in a decorative contrasting wood strip on the outside. I also plan to incorporate a center rail to suppport the slatting.

Finally, to get the bed up off the floor, I thought I’d use about 6” long pieces of the same 4×4 timbers stood upright to make legs that will be pinned into the bridle joints using metal rods or with bolts in threaded inserts. I hope to do the whole thing without using any glue (other than in the reglued timbers).

This thing will be a monster from a weight standpoint. I am a bit concerned about the stabilty of the legs (or the whole thing for that matter). Any advice or insights would be most welcome.

PS – I posted a similar post in the design area a week ago but got no replies – I hope it’s OK to repost this way.

4 replies so far

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10477 posts in 3851 days

#1 posted 08-20-2011 04:54 AM

What’s the load going to be on the frame?

I build my workbench with threaded rods and butt joints. Each stretcher
has a groove in each edge in which the rod sits. The rods go through holes
in the legs and I just tighten the nuts on the ends. This design allows
disassembly, but also the tuning-out of loosening of the structure.

Bed bolts are the same general idea, but the continuous threaded
rod is really robust.

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48 posts in 3399 days

#2 posted 08-20-2011 02:15 PM


Beyond the weight of the timbers, the slatting weighs about 40 pounds, the mattress probably 50 pounds and the human occupants could weigh up to 400 pounds. Conservatively, I think you could expect a limit of 500 pounds in total added weight.

The threaded rod idea is interesting. I’m guessing that in the workbench application the leg is wider than the stretcher so the rod hole is set back a bit from the leg’s edge (maybe an inch or so?)

If I understand how this works, it seems like I would need 2 rods on each side to prevent twisting(?). How deep is the channel for the rods?

Thanks for the response.


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10477 posts in 3851 days

#3 posted 08-20-2011 05:13 PM

I used stretchers about 9” wide on the bench x about 1.25” wide. I used
construction lumber so the legs were milled 1×10 I think and the legs (it’s
a trestle bench on the bottom with 4 legs and 2 trestle feet but no top
trestle) were milled down from 4×4s, so I think I more or less centered the
stretchers on the legs. The rods are 1/4” and I think the groove is only
about 3/8” deep, just enough to get the rods out of the way.

I got the idea from a workbench kit sold by Lee Valley:,41637

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48 posts in 3399 days

#4 posted 08-20-2011 11:29 PM

Thanks – based on your comments and realizing the challenge of handling the long timbers, I think I’ll only use the timbers for the legs and use dimensional lumber for the sides, ends and center beam, connecting them with threaded rods or bed bolts. This will be waaaay easier than monkeying around with long timbers. I can cut some shallow dados in the legs to capture the sides and ends; this will give a bit more mechanical strength and avoid any twisting compared to a simple butt joint.

Thanks so much for jumping in!

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