Simple Cherry Bed Frame

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Project by Dorje posted 03-18-2008 03:56 AM 14498 views 44 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finished up this Cherry (queen) platform bed yesterday…Poplar is the secondary wood. There is no headboard, I might eventually build one, but right now we wanted the platform. So, the two leg assemblies are pretty much the same. Legs are 2 1/2” square from solid 12/4 stock. Rails and stretchers are 1 1/4 thick, 6” wide and 8” wide, respectively. The stretchers join with the legs via mortise and tenon joints drawbored with walnut pins. Each tenon was notched in the middle, and cut into two separate tenons to allow room for expansion and contraction, versus, one 6” wide tenon.

This all took more time than I thought it would from the get go (story of our lives, eh?), but came together fairly well. I used this type of fastener to connect the rails to the legs:

Here are the mortises for the fasteners in the legs and ends of the rails:

Although, you don’t have to use a center rail and leg on a queen, I decided to do it because I used 3/4” stock for the slats.

I used this type of center rail hardware to make assembly dissassembly easy:

Here’s what that looks like installed on my bed:

And, the center leg; I used a 1” dowel to give the screw from above some long grain to hold onto. I used this same technique at the ends of the rails (though that took three at each end):

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

26 comments so far

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4924 days

#1 posted 03-18-2008 03:58 AM

Very cool bed. I love the grain pattern on the footboard. Good job.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 5148 days

#2 posted 03-18-2008 04:00 AM

Looks great Dorje, I used the same rail hardware on the boatbed. Love the cherry, really warm looking, what finish did you use?

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5154 days

#3 posted 03-18-2008 04:03 AM

I used Tried and True oil varnish – It’s really thick, so I heat it up and it’s a tad bit easier to apply. I really like the stuff…and low to no VOCs…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 5271 days

#4 posted 03-18-2008 04:08 AM

Wow, nicely done! Now that you have the base done, you just have to do the headboard now :).

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5483 days

#5 posted 03-18-2008 04:11 AM

looks very nice, you did a great job.
a bed frame is on my list of projects.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 4941 days

#6 posted 03-18-2008 04:13 AM

Very nice! Great pics, too. I have a few questions:

1. With your split tenons, do you have 2 mortises or just one? How big is the gap between the tenons?
2. When drawboring, is there a tiny bit of space left at the end of the tenon (the top), between it and the bottom of the mortise? I think I’ll never really get drawboring (the mechanics of it) until I try it out. I understand the principle of it.
3. How are your cleats attached to the stretchers? We’ve had bed issues here in Malaysia (maybe cuz we’re so big compared to Malaysians?) that I’ve always been paranoid about understrength cleats/stretchers. In fact, when I built my son’s bed, the cleats are secured to the side stretchers with glue and about 30 screws! Ha! A sheet of 3/4” plywood sits on top of it, and I could probably jump up and down on it with no effect.

Thanks for sharing!

-- Eric at

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4979 days

#7 posted 03-18-2008 04:17 AM

Hi Dorje,

This is a nice bed. You can’t go wrong with cherry. I love the wood. The tapered legs lighten the bed and the walnut pins add a nice detail to the piece.

I have been assigned a bed (along with numerous other projects that are all #1) so I may borrow a few of your ideas if you don’t mind.

thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5137 days

#8 posted 03-18-2008 04:59 AM

Hey Dorje;

You’re doing some really fine work. The workmanship is superb, as is your attention to detail.



-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 5223 days

#9 posted 03-18-2008 05:06 AM

Dorje that’s a beautiful bed. The cherry is really nice and the finish just makies it look even better. That head and foot board will only make it better.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Tom Adamski's profile

Tom Adamski

306 posts in 4928 days

#10 posted 03-18-2008 05:28 AM

The simplicity is great. It brings out the quality of the craftsmanship. I too use the Tried and True, but never thought about heating it up… the stuff is as thick as maple syrup…
Thanks for the tip.


-- Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsman can hide his mistakes.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4074 posts in 5221 days

#11 posted 03-18-2008 05:58 AM

The wood is really splendid, the finish is warm and beautiful, and it will only age to a better and more mellow hue. I agree with Scott about the leg conformation, and like the subtle chamfer at the top of the legs. How did you mortise in the hardware on the long rails?. It’s got to be tough to secure that long a timber and work endgrain.
Really looks good, Dorje.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 5154 days

#12 posted 03-18-2008 06:20 AM

Eric- It’s just one big mortise. Splitting the tenons was an along-the-way decision. The twin tenons are pinned right in the center of each of them. I think I cut out 1” between the two. Also, if I understand the question re: the space at the end of the tenon…then, yes, the mortise is about 1/16”-1/8” deeper than the length of the tenon. That would be standard practice, whether you draw bore or not. The cleats were affixed like yours! Glue and screws!

Scott – most of my ideas are not really mine, just a composite of borrowed ideas…

Douglas – I can’t recall exactly how I did it! It was a couple months ago now, but I know that I routed out the mortise on the end grain with the rails in the face vise, the ends pointing up at me at an angle. I think I used the plunge router with a fence to waste the bulk of the mortise to the right depth and cut out the rest with a chisel. Getting the right depth so the rails would lock into the legs and close up tight took a little fussing around with test mortises.

Thanks for all the comments guys!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5145 days

#13 posted 03-18-2008 06:58 AM

Very nice simple clean lines. Great contruction.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Tony's profile


995 posts in 5187 days

#14 posted 03-18-2008 09:50 AM

Thank for posting this – it has given me some inspiration on a project I am currently working on.

Simple clean lines, but nice detail – a winner

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 4899 days

#15 posted 03-18-2008 06:17 PM

I don’t remember seeing the cross dowel technique to avoid screwing into endgrain before. Hopefully I will remember that trick next time I have that issue. Great looking bed. Thanks for posting.

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

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