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Forum topic by mabaza posted 07-16-2014 12:13 AM 517 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mabaza

3 posts in 99 days


07-16-2014 12:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plans

I’m putting together a simple bed frame for my son (plans attached). The bed will be carrying a full size mattress (no box spring). I’d like to make the side rails out of 3/4” maple but am concerned that this won’t be strong enough. I don’t own a bandsaw, so my only other option is glue up 2 pieces for a total thickness of 1 1/2 ”.

What’s the verdict?


11 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2595 posts in 1039 days


#1 posted 07-16-2014 12:31 AM

How will the mattress be supported?

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5349 posts in 1287 days


#2 posted 07-16-2014 12:44 AM

How are the rails joined to the head/footboard?

What will be the width of the rails?

We will need a bit more info.

View japie's profile

japie

11 posts in 100 days


#3 posted 07-16-2014 12:51 AM

Split it out by the possible failure modes. I’ll mention IKEA twice; their beds are typically not something to aspire to for durability; they like particleboard just a bit too much for that. But construction-wise, if assembled correctly, they’re actually excellent. Clearly, IKEA has given a lot of thought making a strong bed construction without requiring a lot of extra material, and if you are familiar with their designs, it can be a useful reference for known-good constructions.

Anyway, these are the main things to prevent, it would seem:

  1. Rails sagging down. This is resisted by wider boards, not thicker ones. A 3/4” board is perfectly able to carry an enormous amount of weight as long as it’s 6” wide and set on its side.
  2. Entire frame racking. You draw the bed as a rectangle, but it wants to be a parallelogram. If you have big posts at the corners, you may be able to make the connections stiff enough. Otherwise, you can cross-brace. If you don’t care about easy disassembly you can use the mattress support slats for bracing. IKEA uses flimsy metal cross-braces that add a surprising amount of strength because they only need to resist pulling, not buckling.
  3. Rails bending side-to-side. You don’t want the sides to bend outwards and the slats to fall through. Typically you have to glue some sort of runner to the rails for the slats to sit on and that’ll help a lot already with stiffening them. Using angle iron instead of wood helps even more. And of course, if you screw the slats to the rails, that pretty much takes care of it.
  4. Slats sagging. Presumably you’re going to support the mattress with a bunch of slats. Having those only supported on the very edges of a large bed is asking for trouble. It’ll work for a twin bed, but anything bigger and I’d want some support in the center. There’s no space there for wide boards, there, of course, and narrow boards, let alone boards laid flat, are useless. IKEA uses a steel runner in the middle, and they actually use the exact same (adjustable) one for enough different models that they sell it separately. Some bed designs have extra legs under the center support.
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mabaza

3 posts in 99 days


#4 posted 07-16-2014 01:17 AM

Hi guys,

Sorry for the lack of detail.

Bed will be supported with poplar slats (3/4”x 4” x 54”) in addition to a center board.

I plan on using this hardware to connect the rails to foot/headboard. Center board will be connected using this

Haven’t figured out how I will secure the slats yet; I’m leaning towards using spacers nailed into the runners attached to rails. However, I’m open to suggestions.

Rails will be 76” long and head/foot-board will be 55” wide.

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

103 posts in 265 days


#5 posted 07-16-2014 01:02 PM

Japie laid it out pretty well.

Attach a ledger strip of 3/4 X 1 1/2 flush along the bottom of the full length of each 6” tall rail.
Sit your slats on the ledger and attach at least every other slat with a flat head screw into the ledger.
This will keep the rails from spreading or twisting and help prevent the slats from sagging.

The ledger strip can also be doubled to 1 1/2 X 1 1/2 if you wish. Just makes it that much better.

Note, if your mattress is thin you might want the ledger to be taller (2 1/2 instead of 1 1/2) so the mattress won’t compress below the top of the rail when getting in or out of the bed.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2595 posts in 1039 days


#6 posted 07-16-2014 01:48 PM

Usually you don’t support a mattress w/o box springs on slats. Typically you would make a what is called a platform bed that is supported by a sheet of plywood. The ledger strips that Crank50 described are essential to give the side rails stability and the stiffness that you need to support a bed.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View horsch's profile

horsch

40 posts in 1353 days


#7 posted 07-16-2014 03:00 PM

If you aren’t familar with him, Allan Little AKA AskWoodMan, just finished posting a 52 video series on building a platform bed. Allan’s video series are alwways very detailed and helpfull. Even if yourdesign is a bit different I am sure there would be a lot you could learn from watching him. I haven’t watched the whole series, but I know his design uses a slat support for the mattress, so at a minimum you could see how that works. Good Luck

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1999 posts in 1919 days


#8 posted 07-16-2014 04:20 PM



If you aren t familar with him, Allan Little AKA AskWoodMan, just finished posting a 52 video series on building a platform bed. Allan s video series are alwways very detailed and helpfull. Even if yourdesign is a bit different I am sure there would be a lot you could learn from watching him. I haven t watched the whole series, but I know his design uses a slat support for the mattress, so at a minimum you could see how that works. Good Luck

- horsch

That’s pretty cool. I was going to suggest drawers for underneath but it looks like he has incorporated them into his design.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1429 posts in 1058 days


#9 posted 07-16-2014 04:38 PM

Mabaza, I just built a bed almost exactly like yours for my daughter, finished it in May. 3/4” maple will be plenty strong. Here are some things I did :

- Side rails were made from 3/4” cherry, 6” wide boards. I used this hardware from Rockler, looks to be similar to yours. I was a little skeptical about how solid it would feel, but it worked out just fine.
- I cut two 3/4”, 3” wide ledgers to run the length of the side rails, and clamped them together. Using a dado set, I made notches, spaced something like 2.5-3” apart, for the slats to set into. Cutting them clamped together insured both sides lined up, and made the process faster. Ledgers were secured to rails using glue and screws.
- I made 6” wide (or tall, depending on how you look at it) rails for the foot and head. They were fastened into the legs using drawbored/glued mortise and tenon.
- Legs were 2” square posts made from laminated 3/4, 1/2, 3/4 pieces of cherry. Before laminating, I used a dado blade to notch out the 1/2” piece, so when glued up, it was my mortise.
- My wife wanted a headboard with a decorative curve on top, and the plan is that my son will get this when my daughter outgrows it, so I made a replaceable headboard from 1/2” 2’x4’ MDF panel. I cut it to fit between the head posts, then cut the curve. I secured it to the post from behind with pocket screws through the MDF into the cherry posts (the bed was all painted in the end).
- Slats were made from 1×4 furring strips. I had to pick through the pile to find straight ones and ones without cracks/knots, but you can get two slats for a twin bed from one 96” strip, and a strip costs something like $1-2. The strips just set into the notches in the ledgers. I didn’t screw them in as they can’t move around out of the notches because the mattress is on top of them. One furring strip by itself is pretty weak, but when you stack 15-20 of them over the coarse of a twin size mattress, it works fine. We’ve had myself (230#) my wife (150#) and my daughter (25#) on this at the same time for story time on several occasions and it held up fine, no creaking or breaking or anything. I wouldn’t suggest letting a teenager use it as a trampoline, though.

As far as plywood vs slats, you can go either route. As long as the slats are closely spaced, the mattress will be fine. Slat beds are pretty common without box springs, and the slats actually provide airflow to the mattress to help cut down on bacteria/mold/etc growth.

P.S. I painted the cherry because my wife wanted it white, and I picked up about 125bdft of it for $80, so it was cheaper than pine.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View mabaza's profile

mabaza

3 posts in 99 days


#10 posted 07-17-2014 12:23 PM

Thanks for all the feedback guys. Very helpful. Another concern I had around using 3/4” rails was
that it would restrict me to using 1/2” screws to mount the rail hardware. Is that a valid concern?

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1429 posts in 1058 days


#11 posted 07-17-2014 12:49 PM

I don’t think so. The hardware bumps the overall depth out to a hair over 3/4”. I made a template for pre-drilling my hardware (just a piece of hardboard with the appropriate holes in it…clamped to the end of the rail for drilling). I pre-drilled just shy of going all the way through the rail, then used some linesman pliers to nip off about 1/16 from the tip of the screw. Most of the stress on those screws is going to be shear, as opposed to tension trying to pull the screw back out of the hole.

Note that your hardware doesn’t come with screws (niether did mine). I would suggest using a good wood screw from McFeelys or Rockler or somewhere other than Lowes/HD. After seeing the heads pop off those screws, I stopped using them. I like the Rockler dry-lube square drive screws.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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