Baltic Birch Japanese Tatami Bed.

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Project by Linh posted 09-06-2017 10:57 PM 12801 views 7 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When our daughters got older, we had to build a king-sized custom bed. Most beds we saw were too “platform” like, which sat too close to the floor. So we decided to make ours about 12.5” high to allow for extra storage beneath. If you don’t want the storage, make the legs shorter!

We used Japanese woodworking techniques and style but incorporated the fine lines of modern baltic birch plywood. Once laminated, there was no need for metal hardware. We didn’t include a headboard because the kids used our old one as an artificial diving platform. You can easily make one by modifying the head rail. We also chamfered the edges to make sure they couldn’t hurt themselves on the piece. For the inner supports, we used through dowels and the corners squared itself by half-lap combinations. Finally, the platform at the foot of the bed acts as a base for the kids to climb onto the bed itself.

We don’t have a working woodshop at the time, so most of these pieces had to be rushed from one friend to another, in order to use their tools. Even with this inconvenience, most of the hard half-lap cuts were made using a Japanese saw. They are great for fine and accurate cuts. Overall, we’re really quite pleased with the results, the amount of sleep we get each night, and the ample storage we now have.

6 comments so far

View swirt's profile


6107 posts in 4025 days

#1 posted 09-07-2017 02:19 AM

Interesting effect building on the baltic birch layers. Looks cool.

-- Galootish log blog,

View builtinbkyn's profile


3027 posts in 1993 days

#2 posted 09-07-2017 03:26 AM

I really like your design and the craftsmanship. The connections create a beautiful detail. Nice work!

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View oldnovice's profile


7702 posts in 4421 days

#3 posted 09-07-2017 05:09 AM

I like the design along with the construction method as it is just beautiful and obviously functional!
A very good project.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3919 days

#4 posted 09-07-2017 04:22 PM

You did a nice job on this bed.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5150 days

#5 posted 09-07-2017 04:37 PM

Well done.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View 2fewtools's profile


4 posts in 1334 days

#6 posted 09-11-2017 04:57 AM

I really like the lines and the joinery on this piece, good job! I might be stealing some concepts if nothing else!

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