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Forum topic by woodworkerforchrist posted 05-22-2013 05:58 PM 2060 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


05-22-2013 05:58 PM

Ok so I think I want to focus on getting some ideas and plans for building and selling bunkbeds more in the future since its a bigger item to sell, its always a need, its pretty basic, and people already asking me for them!. I have so many ideas from others and my own, almost to many haha! Thanks ya”ll for all the advice and ideas! I have some basic questions.

For basic pine bunkbeds:

Whats best?

2×4 or 2×6 or 4×4 for corner posts?
Corner post faced on ends or sides?
1×4 or 1×6 for slats?
Screws, lag screws, or carriage bolts to attach corners to frames?
Ideal heights: Bunkbeds, loftbeds, etc?
Is it best to have 4 basic pieces; 2 ends and 2 frames?
Should they be built to hold mattress and boxsprings?
Staining, sealing, or leave natural?
Round over corner post tops?
Ladders just built into ends instead of seperate?
Ends notched into corners?
Safety rails (1x or 2x)?
Bed frames put together as one piece?
Pricing? (I’ve seen $150-$500 for basic pine bunkbeds!)?

I’m getting excited wish I could just stay home and try this haha! Thanks again for all the info! Hope I can contribute someday!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta


18 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1892 posts in 1887 days


#1 posted 05-22-2013 06:51 PM

I have a friend that has requested I build a pair of bunk beds for their lake house. So far I have resisted. Why, you ask.

Well…
1) This would be a new project which would require good, easy to follow plans.
2) My shop isn’t designed for large projects.
3) Main reason – I am worried that it may cause an accident which could lead to injury. I don’t want to be held liable.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View pmayer's profile

pmayer

574 posts in 1721 days


#2 posted 05-22-2013 10:07 PM

As MT suggests, this is a high liability item, so I would give that some consideration. Having said that, here are my thoughts on your questions:

2×4 or 2×6 for corner posts?
I like 2×6 posts for the additional stability and greater strength at the joints due to larger fastening area.

Corners on ends or sides?
I’m not sure what you mean here.

1×4 or 1×6 for slats?
Either way is fine here.

Screws, lag screws, or carriage bolts to attach corners to frames?
I prefer carriage bolts, and if I were selling these I wouldn’t consider screws or lag screws. As soon as you disassemble and reassemble one time you will have problems.

Ideal heights: Bunkbeds, loftbeds, etc?
This depends on the height of the ceiling and the mattress.

Is it best to have 4 basic pieces; 2 ends and 2 frames?
Build the end pieces as solid units if you can. If you will be shipping these you will have to make this knock-down, but if local delivery/pickup then you should be able to assemble as solid units which will give you better peace of mind. Build each end piece so that it essentially looks like a ladder, then bolt your rails into position and lay the slats across.

Should they be built to hold mattress and boxsprings?
Unless there is really high ceilings you normally won’t have room for a box spring.

Staining, sealing, or leave natural?

Customer preference I’d say. Paint is nice on these too.

Round over corner post tops?
Yes. Round over everything. It doesn’t take long and makes it much nicer looking IMO. It also makes it easier to paint or stain, and will minimize potential for slivers.

Ladders just built into ends instead of seperate?
If you build the ends as ladders that works well and saves a lot of space in the bedroo, but then they will be straight vertical and more challenging to climb. My daughter doesn’t have a problem with that but some kids might.

Ends notched into corners?
If by ends you mean the ladder steps, then I say yes, It takes a little extra time but it looks nicer IMO and adds a lot of strength.

Safety rails?
Yes, absolutely!

Pricing? (I’ve seen $150-$500 for basic pine bunkbeds!)?
This depends on your design, materials, and competition in your area. I would try to come up with a niche rather than trying to compete head to head with the broader open market. If you are building a commodity and need to price it as low as $150, you will never make money at this. You won’t be able to build them as quickly or as cheaply as you might think going into it. If you can find some unique angle, however, and there is a unique marketing angle to everything if you put enough creativity to work, then you will have a much better business model.

A couple other things I would consider:

- Sell a “loft only” item for kids in their own bedroom who just want more space and don’t need a lower bunk. Instead of the lower bunk you just build in a desk platform or some storage bins or whatever.
- Build in a recessed cup holder into the safety rail so the kid can have a water up there.
- Make the top of the safety rail wide and flat (like a horizontal 1×4 or so) so they can use it as a shelf to hold reading materials, etc.
- Design these in a way that they are easy to attach to a wall, and tell your customers this is a must-do procedure. This will enhance the safety, stability and longevity of the bed. You might even sell an installation and delivery service to go along with it which could be more profitable than the bed business itself.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#3 posted 05-22-2013 10:52 PM

Thank you for the great info!

This is how I have been building them:
And this isnt the best design;) !

2- 2×4 bed frames with 2×2 cleats for the 1×6 slats.
Then I just attach 4- 2×4 corners with carriage bolts.
Then 4- 2×4 supports(ladders) on both ends.
Then 1×6 pine safety rails on one side and end.

So when I take it to the customer I have to bedframes,
and the rest in pieces to assemble there.
It sounds like having the ends already assembled is better,
and then attach the rails and slats at the customers?
So would I need bracket hangers mounted on ends for the rails?

Thanks again everone!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

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pmayer

574 posts in 1721 days


#4 posted 05-23-2013 12:19 AM

I would take it to the customer with the end panels assembled and bed rails and slats loose. I would then use carriage bolts to attach the bed rails to the 2×6 posts. The 2×6 posts run so that the 6” width is parallel with the bed rails, so no brackets are needed for this joint. Then screw the slats in place. You could just set them in place, but I like to screw them down for an upper bunk If you plan to set them in loose, then I would use 1×6 rather than 1×4 so they will lock into position better. You don’t want a board falling out onto the sleeper in the lower bunk.

On the bed rails, I would use 2×6 rails rather than 2×4. I am not an engineer, but to me a 2×4 seems a little flimsy for a bed rail.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

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huff

2804 posts in 1941 days


#5 posted 05-23-2013 12:35 AM

Check with Lumber Jock, Nate22; He builds bunk beds as part of his business.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#6 posted 05-24-2013 09:08 PM

Thanks for all the great info! So looking at all the options ideas advice and my own thoughts this what I am thinkin I might try to start with a basic pine bunkbed. I think I may go with 2×6 cornerposts, with 2×4 end supports(ladders) screwed from behind-pocket screws? or notched in, 2×6 rails with 2×2 cleats, thinking about 2×4’s for slats-seen a few like that but is that overkill? otherwise 1×6’s space 4” max?, corners attached to rails with 2 carriage bolts each, 2×4’s for safety rails or maybe just 1×4’s, Really looking at safety too. 10” safety rails above mattress, 3” space max between safety rails, 10” minimum space between end supports, all boards sanded well before assembly. Is $250 to much for a basic pine bunkbed like this? Add extra for paint or stain, and if loft; desk shelf, headboard shelf, shelves, clothes hanger, hat racks, storage bins, etc etc etc. Delivery and set-up free within 30 miles, custom orders welcome but extra $. So what do ya’ll think?

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

View nate22's profile

nate22

424 posts in 1531 days


#7 posted 05-26-2013 12:41 PM

Hi woodworkerforchrist,

It looks like you got a lot of ideas and advice. The way your talking you could actually do good with it. I have told you some things already but here is my options on your questions.

2×4’s or 2×6’s or 4×4’s for corner post.

I would use 2×6’s I used 2×4’s when I started out what a desaster. They weren’t sturdy and I keep getting dissatisfied customers. So that when I switch to 2×6’s what a difference it made.

Corner posts faced on ends or sides;

I’m not sure what you mean for this exactly.

1×4’s or 1×6’s for slats

I use 1×4’s for me there just as sturdy as 1×6’s. you can use whatever you like though your making them.

Screws, lag screws, or carriage bolts to attach corners to frames.

Out of these three I would us carriage bolts. I used them when I first started three years ago but I don’t anymore. I use bed brackets now. They work a lot better and a lot more sturdier. And like someone else said if your going to sell them or even if you weren’t lag screws and screws won’t be as tight after taking them apart a couple of times.

Ideal heighth for bunk beds and lofts

For me I have one standard heighth and then if the customer wants it taller or shorter then I make it that way. I make mine 6 foot high. But it’s up to you IMO I would have a standard height.

Is it best to have 4 basic pieces 2ends and 2 frames

If it were me I would have have 8 pieces 4 ends and 4 frames ( rails). I say this because you want to make them to where they can be separated into two twin beds. And it will be just as sturdy if it is in 2 pieces or 4 pieces. Because you will get a lot of people asking if they can be separated into two beds.

Should they be built to hold mattresses and box springs

All you need for them is the mattress you don’t need the box spring. No matter what the heighth of the walls are.

Staining, sealing, or leave natural

I would offer staining and painted for options. And sealing it is a must. I put polyurethane on all of my beds. That protects the wood. And I would have the option of leaving it unfinished or natural or having it natural but only have polyurethane put on it. I have had a few customers ask me that.

Round over corner post tops

Yes I would round those over and all the other edges to. It looks nicer and the customer is happier to.

Ladders built into ends or seperate

The style your doing you want the ladders built into ends. For mine the come out on the side. But it just depends on what style you make.

Ends notched into corners

If it were me I would dole pin the boards for the ladder into the corner pieces or legs. It gives it a nicer look and the isn’t screws for kids to catch the fingers on or there close. It takes a little longer but you will have a happier customer espically the moms.

Safety rails

Yes absolutely. And I would use 1×4’s for the rails. I used 2×4’s when I started and they were to bulky.

Bed frames put together as one piece

I would take it either 4 pieces or 8 pieces depending on how you make it. You don’t want to take it put together because you won’t get it in people’s houses. I do that and it takes me about 15 minutes to put mine together.

Pricing (I’ve seen anywhere from $150 to $500 for basic bunk beds)

It depends on your design and material. Before you sell anymore sit down add up your cost for material, your hardware like screws sandpaper and whatever else you use to put them together with. The take that total and add delivery and setup if you choose to setup then add labor and that will be your total.

For example:

Material. $250
Other: $75
Labor: $150
Delivery: $50

Total: $525

This is just a example so don’t go by the numbers.
And if you go to cheap no one will buy them. They will think its not made very well and not good quality.

Some other suggestions is take pictures of everything you make build up a portfolio. And the most important thing of all is test every bed before you take them out of your shop. With mine I will put them together stand in the middle and shack them if they are loose then the bed doesn’t leave my shop and if it is sturdy it does. This way you don’t have problems done the road with it.

That’s my ideas and oppoins though.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#8 posted 05-26-2013 02:04 PM

Thanks for all the great advice! What I meant by which way to face the corners is should the board be faced the long way (run with the rails) or run with the ends? Its sounds like with the rails is best. I never price things high enough. I need to get better at that. I always wanna give people a god deal. Thinking around $300 to start since a basic pine. But want to make it a really nice bunk. Thanks again for all the onfo!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#9 posted 05-26-2013 02:12 PM

Thanks again Nate!!!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

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nate22

424 posts in 1531 days


#10 posted 05-26-2013 08:15 PM

No problem Marty. I am going to post some pictures of my beds and you can get a idea.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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nate22

424 posts in 1531 days


#11 posted 05-26-2013 08:27 PM

Here are the pictures. The first one is of the side rails I use a 2×6 with a 2×2 screwed to it for the slats to sit on. The second picture is one of the top rails with the safety rails screwed to it. And I put plugs over the screws so no one can see them or get scratch on them. The third piece is one of my end pieces I make. And the last picture is a bed bracket I use to attach the side rails to the end. Hope these help and give you some ideas.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#12 posted 05-26-2013 10:21 PM

Looks great Nate!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

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Whiskers

389 posts in 682 days


#13 posted 05-26-2013 10:34 PM

Hartville tool is currently giving away a fairly nice set of bunkbed plans with every order. If you need a couple router bits or some other tool that might be another reason to get a order in to them at present.

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woodworkerforchrist

124 posts in 513 days


#14 posted 05-30-2013 02:48 PM

Thanks agan for all the info and advice!! I think I finally have put together a design I want to start with for my bunk beds. Gonna be 2×6 ends with 2×4 rungs, 2×6 rails with 1×4 slats, 1×4 upper safety rails, and many optional accesories. All pine for now. Still wondering if I should use 4×4 pine for corner posts instead of 2×6, might try both. 4×4 seems better if I go with the stackable bunks. Does $300 seem alright to try to sell them at? This will be a really nice basic sturdy pine bunkbed. I think I have all the safety concerns covered. Hope to build 1 complete bunkbed every Saturday for now. Please pray that God will open doors that I can be able to start making these and begin to sell them and eventually have enough business so that I could do this full time from home as my family needs me at home more. thanks again guys!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

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redSLED

687 posts in 548 days


#15 posted 05-30-2013 03:13 PM

Staining, sealing, or leave natural?—> Leave this decision for your customers so they also get a “custom finish” for their money. Peoples’ ideas of interior decor will mostly dictate their colour, finish and sheen choices – and has a lot less to do with what wood or piece it is (no matter what you think). But of course make recommendations when they are clueless.

Best of luck with your designs and revenue!

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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