King-size bed frame and headboard

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Project by Woodbutchery posted 09-07-2014 01:41 PM 2070 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently finished the largest project, to date, that I’ve had the pleasure of designing, building, and putting together.

The concept:

A bed frame to finally get our king-size bed off the floor along with a headboard. My wife does most conceptual designing of elements within our house. My job is to bring it into reality. We have fun with those roles.

What I came up with was four panels. I would use plywood for the base, with 2×6 rails, one on each side and one in the middle, to support the slats, and from there, the box spring and mattress. The headboard was a simple design, two stiles holding six boards.

The wood in our bedroom is stained a very dark brown. The only way the wood grain comes through is from light reflecting off the texture, so for three of the four base panels I used 3/4” (23/32”) maple plywood, with the fourth (head) panel made from cabinet grade pine ply, all stained dark brown, with 1/2” edging on the top portion of the panels. The headboard boards are poplar, again stained dark brown, 7 1/2” wide with a 1/2” separation. The headboard stiles are pine, left unstained to blend in with the walls. A cap was built for the corners of the foot of the bed to prevent shin scrapage.

The assembly:

As you can see from the second picture, the middle rail is supported by matching blocks of wood on the head and foot panels. I’m a big fella, so I over-build things that will need to support my weight. The rails are 2×6 ripped down to 5 1/2”. Using some math skills I determined where to pre-drill the holes for the headboard stiles and used a drill bit with countersink. I found that the countersink didn’t quite go deep enough, hence the third picture where I’m drilling the countersink another half inch deeper. At the bottom of the stile you will notice a one inch dado. This was my wife’s brilliance in allowing a space for electric cords to use the outlet behind the headboard. Rather than being right up against the wall, the frame was designed for the side panels to project past the head panels by 2” to allow room for cords coming from the electrical outlet. The dado matches a notch in the side panels to allow the cords to exit from the bottom potion of the frame. My wife is pretty smart. I get points for marrying her. ;-)

Pictures 4 and 5 are the assembly of the headboard. We used some scrap 1/2” plywood for spacers between the boards, and assembly went fairly smoothly, especially with the use of clamps to hold the boards in place while applying the screws. Not pictured was the attachment of the stiles to the frame, which are attached via screws to both the side panels and the head panel. Picture 6 is the Kitty Approval Seal.

I am very pleased with the whole process that led up to the end of the project. Sketchup is a useful tool for helping to determine design elements and getting a feel for how the final project will look. For me it’s fairly simple to use, with models available for various and sundry hardware items that might be needed to add to the model.

Built in the new spirit of “it’s an adventure” vs. “what am I going to screw up”, it was fun to get the parts ready, even when I had a major screw up and cut the head panel of the frame a full 6” too short. Thanks to research from the Lumberjocks page, someone had mentioned that you can get a strong bond between plywood and a regular piece of wood along the ply, so I took a 3/4” strip of maple, glued it to the shortened panel, then glued the cutoff to the maple strip. After giving an appropriate cure time, I tested the bond and it was a good strong bond.

Once all the pieces were ready, the assembly went well, with the countersink issue being the only unexpected within the assembly, and that was easily fixed. A couple of close friends came over to help with the assembly and a hearty meal. Much fun was had putting it together.

It was a very satisfying feeling to see all the pieces come together and to hear happy noises from everyone as the bed was assembled. The reality fit the concept. It is nice having the mattresses off the floor, and there is no indication of stress on the panels or the slats. I had planned on screwing the middle slat to the side rails to prevent any bowing, but so far I’ve seen no indicator of the wood moving at all. If it happens down the road, I still have my plan B.

Thanks for looking. Comments and critiques are always welcome.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

2 comments so far

View mmh's profile


3697 posts in 4971 days

#1 posted 09-07-2014 01:59 PM

Nice project and great team work! My husband and I make our canes, sometimes we collaborate and sometimes we make the entire piece solo, depends on the project and time frame. We like working together and the feedback from another person is helpful too, as you may not view a project from all angles and one of those could work better for you.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1935 posts in 4921 days

#2 posted 09-07-2014 09:42 PM

Nice bed and design!! Love your calico kitty!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

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