Platform Bed - No Overhang, Nails or Screws

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Project by Ray Friddle posted 08-15-2011 02:49 AM 10716 views 34 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We upgraded to a King size mattress and wanted a low-profile platform bed so the little ones could lay on it and not be far off the ground. Also, we wanted to have minimal overhang of the wood platform to eliminate the chance of the kids bumping themselves on the edges and corners (as well as our shins).

The entire construction is traditional joints. Mortise and tenon joints hold all the pieces of the platform together and the base is held together with dovetail joints. Which, by the way, this is a great and simple project for practicing your mortise and tenon joints for two reasons: First, I had to make about 30 of them for the platform, which gives a good dose of learning through mistakes. Second, they are all hidden underneath the mattress, so if you mess one or five up – who cares. Four small blocks of wood are glued under two of the cross beams (seen in the last photo), which are situated to prevent the platform from sliding side to side on the base. The whole bed can be disassembled for bringing down the hallway and setting up in the room, or for moving later. The last photo is all the parts in the shop resting over saw horses.

The mattress is pretty heavy, so laying it over the final structure essentially fixes everything in place. Oh, and I almost forgot, the bill for the wood came to only $46. The base is 2×6 fir, the platform borders are 1X4 pine, and the cross beams are 1×2.5 furring strips. I sanded and planed the edges of all the boards to round them off and prevent snagging on the mattress.

It works great so far. When we lie down we zonk out pretty quick!

-- Ray

18 comments so far

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3265 days

#1 posted 08-15-2011 04:11 AM

This is an ideal project. $46 of wood, maybe 46 hours of work and perhaps 46 years of service because of that work. Nicely done and I especially like the four angled blocks supporting the ends.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1560 posts in 4749 days

#2 posted 08-15-2011 03:05 PM

Wow! Great platform!

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View Armand's profile


234 posts in 3678 days

#3 posted 08-16-2011 03:10 AM

The construction looks solid, very nice looking bed platform (Liked it in my Facebook).

-- My Master is Mankind's Greatest Carpenter.

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4660 days

#4 posted 08-16-2011 03:14 AM


I love it

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Ray Friddle's profile

Ray Friddle

87 posts in 3797 days

#5 posted 08-16-2011 10:08 AM

Thanks guys. Ya, it is surprisingly sturdy considering the little amount of material I actually used. I was nervous until I laid the mattress down. The mattress distributes your weight over the boards, so you really get a solid feel when you lay on it.

-- Ray

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3460 days

#6 posted 08-18-2011 10:58 PM

Spring mattress? I wonder how well this would work with a memory foam mattress.. The weight tends to be distributed at the bottom less..

Cool work. I’m in the market (aka commissioned by my wife to build one as my next project)

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3460 days

#7 posted 08-18-2011 11:02 PM

I like ViPond’s math! And I agree. This is a great project. I bought one of these for a queen sized bed. We won’t talk about what I paid.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Ray Friddle's profile

Ray Friddle

87 posts in 3797 days

#8 posted 08-19-2011 01:30 AM

Dan- Yes, spring mattress. It is actually a mattress that is designed to work with, or without, a supporting boxspring. In other words, the mattress is top-side comfy, under-side semi-rigid. You might be a little more wary of the support issues with a memory foam if it doesn’t have some sort of built in support on the underside. I see a lot of folks using a complete board for the platform as opposed to the crossbeams which may work better in your case. Good luck!

-- Ray

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3962 days

#9 posted 09-15-2011 08:43 PM

Love the way this is built. Too bad there a matress covering all your hard work.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View JTDino's profile


10 posts in 3188 days

#10 posted 11-29-2011 06:17 PM


Question for you. I’m preparing to make a bed with a different style headboard, but would like the base/platform to follow your low-profile, minimal-overhang/invisible design. Can you tell me what the distance is between the 2×6 base boards and the edge of the platform? In other words, how deep in from the mattress/platform edge is the base inset/recessed?


View Ray Friddle's profile

Ray Friddle

87 posts in 3797 days

#11 posted 11-30-2011 07:47 AM

Hi JT-
It’s roughly 1 foot recessed on the sides and foot, and flush at the head. That was my plan anyway, but after all was complete it probably came out slightly a little more than that. The platform itself is recessed 1 inch from the edge of the mattress. This way if you bump against it you only feel mattress. You’d like it recessed enough that you can walk or stand next to it without your toes hitting the base, but not so deep that you can’t get a vacuum far enough under there every now and then.

-- Ray

View JTDino's profile


10 posts in 3188 days

#12 posted 11-30-2011 02:32 PM

Ray – thanks for the info. I drew up some rough plans, and just eyeballing your pictures above I guessed at the distance and drew w/a 1-foot recess there, so that’s perfect! I did plan to recess the platform itself, but hadn’t guessed at that distance yet. I’ll be using a foam-type mattress (and am going to make the platform out of full ply boards rather than slats), and was concerned that even a slight recess around the edge would cause the mattress to sag around the edges. However, a 1/2 to 1-inch recess should probably be OK, even w/a foam mattress.

And believe me, I’m looking forward to having pictures to post! This will be my first project, and I’m still in the process of acquiring tools, so unfortunately it may be a while. Thanks again!


View Ray Friddle's profile

Ray Friddle

87 posts in 3797 days

#13 posted 11-30-2011 06:01 PM

Hey JTP-
Ya I think 1 to 1/2 inch will give you the cushion edge you want without too much sag. Something I found out by accident is how well the mattress distributes the weight on the platform. So when I was building it I would step on the edges of the platform and they would warp and bend slightly, but once the mattress was laid on top it was like increasing the thickness of the platform by 1 1/2 feet. I don’t know how firm/flexible your foam mattress is however, so individual results may vary :D
Good luck!

-- Ray

View JTDino's profile


10 posts in 3188 days

#14 posted 11-30-2011 10:26 PM

Thanks again Ray, and I hope you don’t mind me picking your brain from time to time. Unfortunately, I will stray from your nail-less/screw-less design and fasten the corners w/brackets since I would like to have the ability to easily disassemble and reassemble the bed when the time comes to move it. I’m also considering making the platform in two pieces that will be butted up against each other when in place, again so that it can be broken down into smaller components for easier moving.


View JTDino's profile


10 posts in 3188 days

#15 posted 12-17-2011 06:38 PM

So I’m assuming the platform is not attached/fixed to the base at all? The weight of the platform itself and the mattress is enough to keep it from, say, tilting if you sit close to the edge?

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