As many of you probably know, Gina and I moved recently, so we’re still playing catch-up with furniture and other things we need but don’t yet have. Gina wanted a platform bed for her recently acquired queen mattress, but wanted something super strong. We’ve both experienced bed collapses due to the usual underbuilt Ikea slat designs, so she asked me to not mess around for this one. Also, finances are tight, and setting up the wood/metal shop is still on the to-do list, so a minimalist design that doesn’t require complicated tools was a requirement. Consequently, this is just the kind of thing that is likely to be useful to someone else in similar circumstances, so here goes!
My first design decision was to construct the bed entirely from 2 by 4 dimensional lumber (3.5″ x 1.5″ section). I designed everything in Geomagic Design — yes, I know, this isn’t anything I couldn’t have scribbled on the back of a sufficiently large envelope, but I am a creature of habit. Looking around Home Depot, we found some cheapish redwood that wasn’t too horribly knotty and went with that. This project needed nine 12 foot boards — we had them mitre sawed in half so we could get them to fit in the car easily.
All in all, the project was completed in less than a day. The wood cost just under $100, with another $12 for screws. I used square drive, 2.5″ long No. 6 wood screws — I would seriously recommend square or torx drive screws for this project because Philips or flat screws will be hell to use when you need a lot of them.
You can download the drawings below. Have at — this is open source woodworking! Locations of fasteners aren’t shown, so use your imagination. If in doubt, use more screws.
Drawings and cutting list for Gina’s bed (note — if you’re reading this on a service that strips out links, you can get the drawings by heading over to my main blog site (mageofmachines.com).
Just a word about the engineering side of the bed. It doesn’t need fancy construction — basically, the user’s weight is distributed via the slats onto the rails (joists) at each side, which sit directly on top of 2 by 4 feet that direct the force straight into the ground. No weight is borne on fasteners, except on the cross brace which isn’t critical anyway (it’s there mostly to make sure the bed stays square). Using 2 by 4 lumber for everything keeps things simple, but it’s overkill for the slats — most people use 1 by 3 or 1 by 4 slats which are nowhere near as strong. Certainly, when Gina sat on it there was no noticeable deflection. Constructed, it should weigh about 80 pounds if constructed from redwood — I’ve not weighed it, this was just calculated from the volume (courtesy the CAD system) multiplied by the standard density for North American redwood. Nerdy? Whoahyeah.
One other little design feature is the bed deliberately has a clear span underneath accessible from the sides — I intend making some slide out tray boxes to hold spare linens. I’ll post about them when I get that far.
It might be a little unclear from the drawing how the feet go together. Here’s an extra image from the CAD system (looking up at one of the foot assemblies from below) that makes it a bit more obvious:
Here, the extra ‘foot’ that isn’t in contact with the ground isn’t load-bearing, it’s just there to make it possible to align the feet with the bottom of the rails and secure everything in place. The feet are super solid, probably overkill, but hey, beds collapsing under you in the middle of the night aren’t a lot of fun, so…
Tools and materials:
- 17 six foot lengths of 4 by 2 lumber (I used redwood, anything will do)
- Lots and lots of 2.5″ No. 6 screws (with torx or square heads, you can thank me for that later)
- Electric drill/screwdriver
- No. 6 countersink bit
- No. 6 drill (for predrilling holes so the screws don’t cause cracking)
- Speed square/engineer’s square for marking out the lumber
- Tape measure
- Clamps, lots of clamps. You can never have too many clamps.
- Saw. Anything will do, but a miter saw is ideal. You will want to check that it is cutting good right angles in both axes, or it’ll bite you later when you get to assembly.
- A large framing square makes it easier to get the frame square. It’s not a big deal if you don’t have one.
- Cut the lumber to size, following the drawings. Use stops on the mitre saw so that all the ‘feet’ are exactly the same length.
- Assemble the legs as subassemblies first. This makes the bed go together quickly.
- Assemble the frame.
- Add the cross brace — you’ll want to pull the frame square as you screw it in place. Once that’s done, the frame becomes pretty rigid.
- Add the feet and screw them in place.
- Finally, add the slats. One screw in each end is enough.
- You’re done!
Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/
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