Queen Size Captain's Bed

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Project by DakotaHeirlooms posted 06-29-2018 08:36 PM 974 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Over the years, I’ve made at least 6 “Captain’s Beds”: Two singles, two Queens, One Twin, and One King. Each had 3 drawers on each side. The following photo shows the last Queen

The twin was a joint effort between my son, then in Junior High, and me. 25 or so years later when we moved the twin from his childhood bedroom to his own home for his own seven year old son to use, we struggled: It wasn’t the weight, it was the bulk. The Mattress support (3/4” Cabinet Oak Plywood) was hard enough, but the “carcass” was a real struggle. We removed the drawers to lighten it up, and finally got it loaded in the trailer. With tongue in cheek, my son said “Dad, when you make the next one, make the carcass in two pieces.” I did: The next bed I made was another queen with the carcass in two sections, and moving the finished bed from the shop to the bedroom was a snap. We discussed making the mattress support section in two pieces, but decided not to.

The first five beds were the two singles, the twin, and one of the queens. I drew up the plans myself and begin cutting. My son, also a wood worker, decided he and his wife needed a King size bed. We decided that he would do the design work, I would cut out the pieces in my shop, and the two of us would assemble the bed in his shop. He used “Sketch Up” to draw the plans, using the last Queen as a guide. I didn’t like the cutting list that Sketch Up created, so I made my own using a spreadsheet.

When I cut out the pieces per the Cutting list, I purposely cut them a tad long: As a wise old Norwegian adage says, “Measure twice and cut once, but it’s a lot easier to cut a little more off than it is to add a little more back on”

When I added in a waste factor of 20%, the board feet (Oak only) required was 90 board feet.

I used my SawStop table saw to rip the boards, my Dewalt Surface Planer to clean them up and surface the edges. Since many of the pieces were the same size, I set up some temporary “jigs” with my Miter Saw. I “cleaned up” the ends with my ShopSmith Sanding Disc to ensure a smooth 90 degree and consistent length.

Since I never learned how to spell Mortise and Tenon and don’t want to spend a lot of money for a Domino, I do a lot of doweling and biscuiting: My ShopSmith does great both as as a “Horizontal Drill Press” (with a little help on the longer pieces) and as a “Vertical Drill Press”,.

During the cut and fit together process, I used “Dowel Centers”.

Note how each piece is marked with its cutting list number.

The following photo shows the two carcass sections assembled side by side on my moveable work bench. The process worked better with the carcasses upside down.

Two sheets of ¾” Cabinet Oak plywood were cut into two equal size pieces. Dadoes were routed in each of the four “edges”. A piece of Oak trim (2” x 1/8” from the local Home Center) was glued and screwed to hide the biscuited seam between the two pieces of plywood.

Once the carcasses were completed, the drawers were made. The sides and backs are 5/8” Oak, and the bottom is 1/4” Cabinet Oak plywood. I used side mounted full extension glides.

I used Watco Danish Oil Medium Walnut stain and Pratt and Lambert 38 H17 Satin Varnish (I buy it the gallon for the price of 3 quarts).

If a thinner or (thicker) mattress is used, it’s a simple process to adapt the cutting list.

The final photo shows the real Boss of the Household on her new bed.

-- Harry Sorenson Dakota Heirlooms

3 comments so far

View DakotaHeirlooms's profile


14 posts in 1783 days

#1 posted 06-29-2018 08:59 PM

Re: I use Pratt and Lambert 38 H17 Satin: My local distributor they couldn’t get it in gallons – I called the company and they E-Mailed me a stock number for H17 in a gallon can: They went to their distributor who said no, my Distributor forwarded the E-Mail that I had received, and Voila!. I now buy my varnish by the gallon at a cost around $62/gallon versus $25 or so per quart. P&L can’t ship the Dull or Gloss by the gallon, but they recommend if you need multiple coats and want a glossy finish, apply a couple coats of Satin, then a coat of Gloss (or dull)

-- Harry Sorenson Dakota Heirlooms

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3217 days

#2 posted 06-30-2018 02:08 AM

I am so motivated to start working on mine. Yours looks fantastic. Thanks for the details and drawings.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3674 days

#3 posted 06-30-2018 11:53 AM

You have done a wonderful job on this captains bed. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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