Bunk Bed Build #1: Glueing up and milling the legs

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Blog entry by Mauricio posted 07-07-2013 06:11 AM 2949 reads 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bunk Bed Build series Part 2: Cutting the Legs, Prep Rails, Cut Mortices »

Hello friends, I invite you to join me on my newest adventure. I’m building some bunk beds for the kids. I contemplating buying them but after going to pottery barn kids and seeing pine bunk beds for $1,400 I talked the ol’ lady into letting me make them. I mean they even had planner tear out in them and everything to give them that rustic look. I can do better than that!

So here is the plan:

The wood is HD 2×6’s. I bought some plans online just to validate what I was planning on doing. All the wood in these plans calls for 1.5”X5.5” lumber which is perfect for what you can get at HD. Besides the leg glue ups it should all just be smoothing and joinery.

So I bought a lot of the wood on Father’s day (not enough) and it’s been mellowing out in the shop since then.

So about 3 days ago I started to get to work. Its been sweet because the wife has given me some free time during the day to get it done. Usually I only work when the kids are in bed but my 5 yr old has been sleeping on his new mattress on the floor until I get this done.

So far progress has been pretty good

After cross cutting the boards on the chop saw I put a straight edge on each board.

I stopped doing this after remembering that it’s not really necessary on the band saw, that saved me a step.

So I just ripped them to rough width on the BS.

After face jointing with the #5 1/2 I glued them up.
Super Dave spike dog in action here! This came in so handy for this operation.

Boards that didnt sit flat on my bench were actually rocking and pushing my brass dogs down into the bench so the spike dog was the answer.

Thanks Dave!

Because I don’t have a huge number of clamps I glued the legs up two at a time. This let me glue up 4 legs a day so it took me two days.

Once out of the clamps I squared up two adjacent sides in preparation for running them through the planner.

Squigglies mark the square faces.

The band saw got them close to final dimension. Thanks to Michael Fortunes advise on FWW I’ve got my band saw working pretty well so it only took a couple of passes through the planner to get them to final dimension.

After a couple of days of this the shavings are starting to get out of control! LOL

So it’s been 3 or so days of fun work and I now I bask in the glow of the perfectly square pine legs.

The fruits of my labor are sweet! This is actually pretty attractive wood after its been planed. I’m not sure if that comes across in the pictures.

I’ll tell you guys, I’ve been battling with myself for at least a year about getting a power jointer but I just cant pull the trigger. I kind of enjoy the jointing process, I’m getting faster at it, and it probably only added a day to this big project. I think I’m going to keep holding out. I mean who doesn’t need a little more exercise? I know I do.

Thanks for following along and for your support. The rest of the project should be downhill from here (knock on wood)

Hopefully this inspires others to tackle this project.

Questions and comments are welcome.


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

21 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7669 posts in 3168 days

#1 posted 07-07-2013 09:23 AM

Very inspirig Mauricio and a great read. That bed is going to be awesome!

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8543 posts in 2308 days

#2 posted 07-07-2013 09:44 AM

Well done brother. Thanks for taking the time to share with us. More and more I am appreciating the hand tool approach you take. Isn’t pine just made to plane?

Power jointer? I have been jointing more by hand. Especially face jointing thinner stock. I like having the option. Just today I started to joint the edge of a long piece of white oak. No joke, the grain switched directions 5 times. I took it over to the power jointer and moved on. Depends on my mood. Depends on the wood;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16093 posts in 2944 days

#3 posted 07-07-2013 10:27 AM

Great blog, Maur, and fine progress to date. The pic does show the legs looking mighty fine after your handwork. Remember, that’s the ‘average’ wood your planes were meant to work up best.

Looking forward to the next installment, so keep ‘em coming!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don W's profile

Don W

19132 posts in 2893 days

#4 posted 07-07-2013 11:39 AM

Thanks for taking us along. I’d never sell my jointer, but I think I’d need another supper deal if I ever needed another. I could certainly live without one.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View bondogaposis's profile


5323 posts in 2677 days

#5 posted 07-07-2013 12:05 PM

You’ve some great progress, your boys are gonna love the bunks.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View terryR's profile


7471 posts in 2634 days

#6 posted 07-07-2013 02:00 PM

Nice looking work, Mauricio! Yes, we all need more exercise than a new jointer.
What a great collection of shavings on the shop floor, too! :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Mosquito's profile


9710 posts in 2618 days

#7 posted 07-07-2013 02:34 PM

Very nice work going on here Mauricio!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View BBF's profile


144 posts in 2165 days

#8 posted 07-07-2013 02:45 PM

Nice work. Don’t forget to let the boys “help out” years later they will be telling their friends that they built their bed.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View Mauricio's profile


7160 posts in 3477 days

#9 posted 07-07-2013 03:03 PM

Thanks for all the comments folks.

Red, it is very nice to plane, the knots can be tricky but no problem to cut through unless I try to take too deep of a cut.

I keep trying to sell my wife on pretty wood but everything the wife likes is pine with that blotchy brown finish you see at Pier One, Works Market etc. so why fight it. And the cost is nice to.

Smitty, very true, I think I’ll be making a lot more things out this pine in the future. In particular some shop furniture I was planning on making out of plywood.

I’d like a jointer but the other issue is that it might be a tight fit in my shop. If I could live without my Table Saw I would be happy too but Im not ready for that yet.

Don, I hear you there, If I had one I probably wouldn’t get rid of it, but since I’ve been getting by without just fine, it has made it harder to make the jump.

Bondo, Terry, & Mos, thanks for the encouragement!

BBF, good call, I’ll have to figure out how to get them involved so they feel like part of the process.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View JayT's profile


6131 posts in 2537 days

#10 posted 07-07-2013 05:38 PM

Looking good, Mauricio. Getting the boys involved is a great idea.

-- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View luv2learn's profile


2924 posts in 2629 days

#11 posted 07-07-2013 11:49 PM

Mauricio, I will bet there are more bunk beds made from pine than any other wood :). You are setting a great example for those two little helpers of yours. Keep it up dad!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View ShaneA's profile


7076 posts in 2924 days

#12 posted 07-07-2013 11:59 PM

So you will be staining or painting the finished product? The beds will be stackable? You should be far ahead of the $1400 bed, so does that mean new shop gear for you?

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 2704 days

#13 posted 07-08-2013 02:04 AM



View lysdexic's profile


5291 posts in 2949 days

#14 posted 07-08-2013 02:16 AM

Awesome Mauricio. Did you make the sketch up plan as well?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View Mauricio's profile


7160 posts in 3477 days

#15 posted 07-08-2013 01:42 PM

Scott, thanks, I didn’t build the sketch up model from scratch, I found something on 3D warehouse that was close and then tweaked some of the details.

Gracias por las ideas Kova.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

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