Princess Daybed for Daughter #8: 99% done, now scrap it and start over... help?

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Blog entry by JohnMcClure posted 07-29-2018 04:23 PM 3504 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Shaping and Glueup Part 8 of Princess Daybed for Daughter series Part 9: Project Complete! »

I built this bed. It still needs the ball finials on the posts, but I think it’s beautiful:

The trouble is, I foolishly assumed extra space around the mattress would be a good idea. Too tight would have been a much better idea:

Two inches too long, and just over an inch too wide. Now that’s the first problem; the second problem is, the whole bed – due to both the oversize mistake, AND the design choice to have thick posts that stick out proud of the rails – it’s just too big for the room. There’s a window on one wall, and if the bed is anywhere nearby it partially blocks the window; there’s a dresser opposite the window, and… well… you’d just have to be there. It’s a tiny room.

If I hadn’t made it oversized, the design would still be pretty big for the room – but we would just deal with it.
Since it’s oversized anyway, rebuilding it would also give me the opportunity to change the design and lose the thick posts. So I lose a couple inches by right-sizing, and a couple more inches by re-designing, and the net result is an equally beautiful bed that also fits the room – maybe.
Or, maybe a daybed is going to overpower the room no matter what – so I should instead switch to a standard bed design with a headboard and small footboard.

As I see it, I have three choices:
A) Keep what I’ve made, and use foam to fill in the gaps around the mattress. Too big, but we can deal with it grudgingly.
B) Redesign a new daybed that fits tight and has slender posts.
C) Design a standard bed with headboard and footboard.

For B and C, I’m also concerned about the joinery. I have oak I can use for the posts, but I’m concerned about using very short tenons on a rail with a long lever arm.

Feel free to weigh in with suggestions on this. We’re really frustrated – and it’s painful to let such a beautiful piece of furniture go for what feels like nitpicking. And we expect our daughter within 4 weeks, so time is of the essence!

Some notes on the joinery: All the panel rails are 3.5”x1.5” SYP with tenons that are 1.75” long, 1/2” thick and 3” wide. The front rail is 3/4” thick red oak, with full-thickness tenon. The end panels are glued into the posts. The long rails are secured into the posts with dowels for knockdown. That’s why I could try to salvage the main headboard but would lose everything else.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

4 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile


13541 posts in 3346 days

#1 posted 07-29-2018 06:12 PM

Sell it and build another. If you get enough to pay for materials you’ll be flush.

-- Rick M,

View Rich's profile (online now)


6385 posts in 1556 days

#2 posted 07-29-2018 07:06 PM

You could check prices for a custom mattress that fits snugly.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View oldguy2's profile


309 posts in 2394 days

#3 posted 07-31-2018 02:23 PM

Hi. Great project. I like the keep it idea. How old is this daughter? seems like you made it for a certain age child.

View JohnMcClure's profile


1133 posts in 1607 days

#4 posted 08-01-2018 02:33 AM

Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I also received a lot of help in the forum – so big thanks to LJs for seeing this as a minor setback rather than a complete disaster, which is how I saw it when I first put that mattress down!

We went back and forth over what to do – add padded bolsters around the mattress; scrap the project and start over; cut down and rejoin the individual pieces; scrap most of it and rebuild with a more delicate style; salvage the main headboard and reincarnate as a standard bed…
After several days of deliberation, SWMBO has OKed keeping the bed, for now, with padded bolsters or an oversize mattress. Since the bed really is too big for the room, we’ve agreed that whenever inspiration strikes again, I will design a new, regular-style bed that will take up less space in the room; but that can be much farther down the road. We have way bigger fish to fry in the meantime!

My mother has offered to make padded bolsters or get an oversize mattress (she knows foam people). Woodknack, I think with those bolsters this will be sellable when the time comes – and I suspect I can get a bit better than just material cost (wishful thinking?)

Oldguy2, she is two. Thanks for asking.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

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