Bed rails...Lag bolts?

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 06-13-2013 11:49 AM 6115 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2562 days

06-13-2013 11:49 AM

Are Lag-bolts screwed into the end-grain of bed rails a good method for attaching them? It seems llike I have seen and heard of this being done…but it doesn’t seem to fit the fact that most people consider screwing into end-grain to be an inferior joint.

Would such a joint get weak over time, especially if it was dis-assembled a few times? Tendancy to strip-out?

(I’m assuming here that a proper pilot hole was drilled).

Would it be better to inset a cross-grained dowel on the inside of the bed rail for the lag to grab onto? or just plan a different type of joint altogether?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

7 replies so far

View scotsman9's profile


134 posts in 2066 days

#1 posted 06-13-2013 12:07 PM

Bed bolts and bed frame hardware are relatively inexpensive. e.g.,40842,41269

-- Just a man and his opinion.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2754 days

#2 posted 06-13-2013 12:37 PM

It would weaken over time. +1 for bed bolts.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3148 days

#3 posted 06-13-2013 05:43 PM

The cross dowels would be much better than end grain. That’s how I attached the short stretchers on my work bench and they have held tight for 3 years now. I used 1-1/4” diameter maple dowels.

But bed bolts are probably better, or at least as good and a lot easier.

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3300 days

#4 posted 07-02-2013 12:22 AM

Spend the big money for bed bolts. Lag bolts will strip out in end grain. If you go with lag bolts, definitely put a cross grain dowel in.

Depending on the thickness of your rails, you might be able to inset a dowel from the inside of the rail and not have it show from the outside of the bed.

-- Tony -

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5108 posts in 4138 days

#5 posted 07-02-2013 12:51 AM

Bed bolts for sure.


View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3825 days

#6 posted 07-02-2013 07:48 AM


Confirmats might be better.

You can use standard carriage bolts and square nuts
but drilling a hole in the back of the rail for access to
each nut. I’d leave 1/4” of material after drilling and
with 1/4” carriage bolts 3/4” rails seems to thin -
I’d go with 7/8” plus which generally means getting
good 5/4 stock for an 80” rail.

An alternative is tension rods running 2 to a rail in
grooves. My workbench is built this way, more or
less (got the idea from Lee Valley), and it’s the most
solid joinery under racking you can ask for.

View sprucegum's profile


324 posts in 2175 days

#7 posted 07-02-2013 02:23 PM

I have used the method described by Loren incorporated with a tendon on the end of the rail inserted into a mortise in the post. A very solid method. I used 8/4 for the rail planed to 6/4 with a 1”x4” tendon.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

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