Bunk Beds in Maple and Purpleheart

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 04-26-2019 03:56 PM 1713 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed and built these bunkbeds for my two boys. I received a lot of helpful advice from the LJ community, especially the swap folks, thank you all!
Posts are 2.5”x2.5” hard maple; everything else started as 1×6 or 1×4 nominal (hard maple and purpleheart).
Construction is full mortise-and-tenon, with 2” tenons on the short horizontal pieces and through tenons on the stretchers.
The purpleheart crosspieces are shaped with gentle arcs to prevent a boxy look.
Knockdown is accomplished by means of two 1/2” dowels securing each through tenon. The ladder is bolted on with threaded inserts; the guardrails are secured with 3/16” steel flat bar, bolted to T-nuts embedded into the rails.
All edges are rounded over. Finish is spar urethane, wiped on 50/50 with MS.

For the thru tenons, I chose to round the tenons to fit the mortises instead of square the mortises to fit the tenons. I drilled a scrap of steel and filed a scraper with the appropriate radius to help with this.

The bed is rock solid, with no racking at all.
Mattress supports are pine 1×6, and are screwed to the runners for safety.
When the kids are older, I will remove the ladder and guardrails and cut the posts to make two twin beds.
My original plan was stackable bunks, but a wise LJ advised making the posts one piece and sawing into two beds when the time comes.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

11 comments so far

View HokieKen's profile


17908 posts in 2256 days

#1 posted 04-26-2019 04:50 PM

Nicely done John. They came out great and your clients obviously approve :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7677 posts in 1700 days

#2 posted 04-26-2019 04:53 PM

Good job, John. Looks like happy customers!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Lazyman's profile


7133 posts in 2505 days

#3 posted 04-26-2019 05:01 PM

Nicely done! That one will be a family heirloom.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View EarlS's profile


4550 posts in 3466 days

#4 posted 04-26-2019 05:50 PM

Looks like there is plenty of room for everyone. Good looking design with safety issues well considered as well. The rounded edges will help not only with kids banging into them and getting bruises but they will also be less likely to get dinged and splinter.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Hawaiilad's profile


3379 posts in 4139 days

#5 posted 04-26-2019 07:50 PM

Great looking bunk bed build

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View GR8HUNTER's profile


8532 posts in 1830 days

#6 posted 04-26-2019 09:36 PM

WOW the bunks came out very nice looks like very happy sleepers GREAT JOB :<)))))))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View jeffswildwood's profile


4909 posts in 3095 days

#7 posted 04-26-2019 11:13 PM

Super job John. I followed your build and know you put a lot of work into it. It came out great!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View AJ1104's profile


1322 posts in 2777 days

#8 posted 04-27-2019 01:37 AM

Nice job with your design and build. I really like the curved Purple Heart. Very classy.

-- AJ

View Delete's profile


439 posts in 1490 days

#9 posted 04-27-2019 02:43 AM

Looking real nice, the small fry should be real happy with that. Like your planing ahead and purpleheart accents.

View KimAccurso's profile


511 posts in 1258 days

#10 posted 04-27-2019 12:07 PM

Definitely heirloom bunk beds! Nicest set I’ve ever seen for sure. Love the purple heart accents.

-- Kim - imperfection is the pursuit of perfection

View JohnMcClure's profile


1285 posts in 1758 days

#11 posted 04-29-2019 10:36 AM

Thank you all for the kind comments!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

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