Pine and Cedar Bed

  • Advertise with us
Project by jstudebaker posted 02-13-2015 02:18 AM 2277 views 13 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My latest project (assigned by my wife and coincidentally finished on her birthday) is a pine framed bed with cedar slats.

The dimensions were based on a queen-sized futon mattress we already had, and a vacuum cleaner. (My wife insisted on being able to quickly vacuum under the bed without using any hose attachments.)

I took inspiration for the design from a number of sources.

The interlocking boards at the foot came from lumberjocks, Nitreug (, Criskmb5150 (, and silverhalo ( Thanks guys!

The headboard design came from building adirondack chairs last summer, with Greene and Greene to thank for the plug details on the headboard and cloud-lifts on the rails, and Roy Underhill to thank for the wedged dovetail tenon that connects the side rail to the headboard.

The entire bed goes together and comes apart in minutes, with nothing but a mallet. The sides end in a half-dovetailed tenon which fits into a mortise in the headboard. The dovetail is completed by a wedge that is hammered in from the back. The footboard is then inserted into slots in the feet (which are attached permanently to the side rails). Then a center rail is inserted and cedar slats are laid over that.

My main worry was that the frame might be squeaky, since no assembly hardware is used and all the pieces just lock together like a puzzle. It does squeak a little bit, but no more than the bedframe we purchased from a futon store years ago. In fact, it’s a lot more solid than the store-bought frame.

It’s also a lot cheaper! Since I am still a beginner, I didn’t want to risk using a bunch of mahogany on an experimental design, so I made it out of $90 worth of home-store lumber:

three 8’ 2×12s, two 8’ 2×4s in pine

Slats and Headboard rails:
Eight 12’ 5/4×4s in cedar

The finish was my first try at french polishing with garnet shellac.

As usual, all done with hand tools.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and, more importantly, so is my wife.

Thanks again, LJs, for the inspiration.


11 comments so far

View ronniebo's profile


129 posts in 3023 days

#1 posted 02-13-2015 05:17 AM

Oh Dear,
You have done great work here BUT
I hate to be the wet blanket here BUT—make sure you have great insurance cover on your knees.
It is amazing how hard those corners are in the middle of the night.
The word of hard won experience.
Cheers from Hobart

View jstudebaker's profile


7 posts in 1558 days

#2 posted 02-13-2015 05:32 AM

Yeah, I do worry about knees…my wife’s more than mine as she’s prone to banging into things.

I did my best to take off the really sharp edges but those corners still look scary (cue the theme from “Jaws”).

I could maybe shave them off without losing too much joint strength but…I like they way they look. Reminds me of some of the joinery I’ve seen on Asian temples.

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2229 days

#3 posted 02-13-2015 06:34 AM

Looks great! I love the joinery, and I’ve often thought about building a tatami style bed with similar joints. I’ve seen the frame like this in an asian furniture store where the joints have no over-hang, so I’m sure there’s a way to make it knee friendly.

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View majuvla's profile


14355 posts in 3226 days

#4 posted 02-13-2015 07:03 AM

I like those corner joints.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View jstudebaker's profile


7 posts in 1558 days

#5 posted 02-13-2015 03:48 PM

Thanks guys. I’m going to leave the corner joints and risk it, I think.

I think that, in hardwood, under normal stress, the joint overhang is probably not necessary.

However, when removing the foot rail to dismantle the bed, if one was to pull up higher on one side, it might split the end off the other joint in a weaker wood like pine.

View Bud_3's profile


888 posts in 1582 days

#6 posted 02-13-2015 10:32 PM

Very meticulous.Bravissimo!

-- Personality and character of a man is like wood,you must polish it to shine.....

View Nitreug's profile


41 posts in 1955 days

#7 posted 02-13-2015 11:07 PM

Well Done! I really like your take on the headboard. I might even have to modify mine to add a slight angle like your’s. And thanks for the shout-out!

View jstudebaker's profile


7 posts in 1558 days

#8 posted 02-13-2015 11:34 PM

Sure thing! Thanks for the great idea. I really like how that joint gives an Asian look to the bedframe.

View NormG's profile


6435 posts in 3362 days

#9 posted 02-14-2015 05:43 AM

You have a beautiful completed bed here, love all the details

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View tyvekboy's profile


1891 posts in 3371 days

#10 posted 02-15-2015 05:07 PM

If you decide to shorten the overhang you can strengthen that smaller overhanging piece by drilling a half inch hole from top to bottom through (not with) the grain and then gluing in a hardwood dowel. Even if it were made of hardwood I would do the same just to make sure that piece didn’t break off.

Drill the hole first and glue in the dowel BEFORE making it shorter.

Hope that helps.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View jstudebaker's profile


7 posts in 1558 days

#11 posted 02-15-2015 05:35 PM

That’s a good solution, tyvekboy. Thanks. Wife hasn’t banged a knee yet, but if it happens more than twice, I’ll definitely use your idea.

Well…let’s say more than eight times…

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics