Cherry Headboard & Bed Raising

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Project by Oldtool posted 10-08-2015 07:53 PM 2852 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My working parameters for this new headboard were: make one that matches the cherry chest in the spare room where this is to be located – my prior project located here , raise the bed a few inches, keep the new headboard as narrow as the old store bought unit & keep the bed no longer or wider than it was currently.

Since the existing bed was a simple angle iron type frame with short legs & rollers, I made a leg structure to fit at the foot where the cross member is located. I cut off all four short 7” legs and made this assembly & the headboard so as to raise the re-used rail to 12” off the floor.

Never having made anything this big on my lathe before, nor having practiced the skills needed, I made practice legs by gluing two 2 X 4s together for the 3” square blank, as shown in photos 3 and 6 above. When making the headboard posts, I used the full extension of my HF 40” lathe, where maximum turnings are actually limited to 38 1/2”.

Due to this 38” limit on turnings, and wanting a little higher headboard, I made the two finials separately with an included tenon. This location for separation allowed making the posts in two sections without having an obvious joint showing, using the juncture at the bottom of the finial.

My leg stock was cut from 9 quarter cherry, not wide enough for the 3” square posts, so after laminating two boards. I cut the legs out at a 45 deg. angle, putting the glue seam on a 90 deg corner of each post, avoiding a seam running down the middle of the sides. Photo 5 above shows this, as well as a section of the 9 Q lumber used.

The ellipse top of the headboard was drawn in a free tablet application called Geometry Pad, which I prior blogged about. The design I settled on is shown in photo 5 above. Using this APP, I then secured the coordinates of each point at 1” increments:

With these points, I plotted the ellipse on quadrille paper for the template:

Once the headboard was fabricated, mounting to the bed posts was with mortise & tenon, gluing only the center tenon, and pegging the top & bottom ones to allow for wood movement. The pegs at 2 3/4” were also draw bored for strength.

Finish includes Homestead Finishes TransFast cherry dye, so as to simulate as fast as possible the natural aging of the prior built chest on chest, and clear shellac.

Having completed the project, I can say that this method of raising the bed worked well, as the frame remains ridged and stable, and there are no problems of any type.

Thanks for viewing, and I hope some of my methods of work provide some assistance to you.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

9 comments so far

View recycle1943's profile


5483 posts in 2737 days

#1 posted 10-08-2015 11:19 PM

Well now, I will have to get to Gander Mountain and get a new set of binoculars if you raise the bar any higher. Well planned and great execution

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4262 days

#2 posted 10-09-2015 12:07 AM

That’s a very nice looking bed frame—thanks for sharing the project and the info!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View oldrivers's profile


2579 posts in 2681 days

#3 posted 10-09-2015 12:40 AM

Great work, wise planning the orientation of the leg stock makes for a great appearance, I also like the design of the floating head board. I love working with Cherry it works well and finishes great. You did wonderful job congratulations.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View BurlyBob's profile


8991 posts in 3380 days

#4 posted 10-09-2015 03:24 AM

Your bed is totally awesome.

View zaschaffer's profile


85 posts in 2579 days

#5 posted 10-09-2015 01:40 PM

Awesome work! You can’t go wrong with pegged mortises!

View CJIII's profile


157 posts in 2719 days

#6 posted 10-09-2015 11:58 PM

Nice looking bed!

-- Woodworking with Limited Tools

View Marcio Wilges's profile

Marcio Wilges

35 posts in 2412 days

#7 posted 10-12-2015 06:39 AM

Very simple and nice design to the bed here! The furniture removals team who helps you handle this piece had better be careful with your masterpiece!

-- Marcio Wilges @

View Ocelot's profile


3112 posts in 3753 days

#8 posted 07-18-2016 12:34 PM

Nice work. I’m fixing to make 2 toddler beds of cherry and was working on the design. Your handling of the 3 tennons answers my question. How is it holding up?

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View WOODCEPTUAL's profile


84 posts in 3013 days

#9 posted 10-16-2016 03:36 PM

Just gorgeous!!!!

-- The only difference between try and triumph is a little umph... and many a splinter in the hands! ;)

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