Rock-Climbing, Raised Bunk Bed

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Project by bobkberg posted 03-21-2011 04:01 AM 4487 views 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

This was an interesting project. Daughter home from college realizes that the room she grew up in is too small now. So she asked if we could raise her bed to be an upper bunk – BUT – keep the space below it open for her desk and other stuff. To top it off, she doesn’t want a ladder to get up, she wants a rock-climbing wall.

First step was to carefully measure the existing bed and make panels (OSB) and supports to fit underneath the original with the same profile. The ends were dadoed and glued.

The back side was more interesting (read challenging). I finally decided to use those knock-down furniture fasteners (photo #4). Drilling and aligning them was touchy to say the least, but the bed is very rigid on the back side. Note: The end (dadoed and glued) OSB panels are 1/2”. The back side is 3/4” OSB.

To make it rigid on the open side, I decided to use 2X6’s cut to fit diagonally (photo 3 and face-on photo 2). Using HUMONGOUS deck screws and counter-boring deeply, allowed me to fasten the lower end onto the extended legs, and to fasten the upper end into the original bed frame with 3 each #10 screws.

The climbing wall was the last piece. I used 3/8” cabinet grade birch plywood so that it would fit within the bed posts, but at the same time would be very strong. I stapled/glued an upside-down “J” on one end, making sure that the joint was in shear for maximum strength. Four 3/8” flathead screws hold the climbing wall to the OSB on the back side – secured by T-Nuts to make sure that the board wasn’t going anywhere.

To hold the “rock” climibing holds, my daughter marked out an offset grid with 8” separation. These were then drilled and 3/8” T-Nuts driven in to the back side. The whole board was sealed with sanding sealer and rubbed down with steel wool.

I left out the pictures of all of us climbing up. One other note: I only worked on it when she did – so it took about 8 months to complete.

One note for anyone who wants to do anything similar. Some of the holds we bought were designed to be fastened with drywall-style screws, not 3/8” bolts – which is the standard for commercial rock-climbing places for easy moving around. So I used up 2 each 3/4” hole saws, and a 3/4” forstner bit re-drilling the holes to take bolts and washers. The holds are made of a mixture of sand and resin and utterly destroyed those bits – especially the hole saws.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

1 comment so far

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568 posts in 3550 days

#1 posted 03-21-2011 04:29 AM

What a great idea…bet my kids would love it. Where did you get the rocks?

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