3/4" Pine Lumber for Full Bed Frame Enough?

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Forum topic by SteveHas posted 01-21-2014 04:16 PM 11257 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2331 days

01-21-2014 04:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bed frame wood pine 34 big box store stock paint cheap platform

Hi, to all.

I am fairly new to the lumberjocks site. Recently I decided to join because I have gained a lot of good knowledge from browsing and I felt maybe I can give input in some areas here.

But my question for everyone is – Is 3/4” Pine strong enough based on my design below to support a full size mattress? For a child and possibly occasional adult.
The frame will be a platform design with slats very close together for full support.
Panels are to be 1/2” birch plywood glued to provide rigidity.
And the side rails are 5.5” wide with the top cap/ knee support(toddler) dado’d together for a partial beam construction.

Project is to be painted as well.

Any input would be great. Thank you!

But major setback is money and 3/4” pine is cheap.

12 replies so far

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2757 days

#1 posted 01-21-2014 05:05 PM

I would use something a bit sturdier then 3/4 inch pine if I were you. Why not use just a slightly higher then construction grade 2×4’s or 2×6’s for the rails and headboard? Still quite cheap and you won’t have to worry about the rails and headboard sagging over time. Mathias Wandel has excellent free plans for a bed built from 2×4’s. For his single bed he said he spent 30$ on materials.

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2806 days

#2 posted 01-21-2014 05:13 PM

As long as it’s going to be painted, why not add (glue & screw) a 2×6 to each side of the side rails, inside where they aren’t visible?


What Wally said.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View SteveHas's profile


11 posts in 2331 days

#3 posted 01-21-2014 05:15 PM

I didn’t want to make the frame look bulky, but I looked over the link and I forgot Mathias had built that frame.

I might go with something in the 5/4 range. I searched craigslist right after I posted the post and found a local selling some 5/4 pine. Hopefully I can keep it at 1 1/8” after planning it.

Thank you for the input.

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 4096 days

#4 posted 01-21-2014 10:38 PM

5/4 or heavier poplar would be my vote. It is stronger than pine, no knots, takes paint nicely and not very expensive. Don’t know where you are located, but a local sawmill might be able to help you out. Whatever your final decision on wood, keep it thicker than 3/4”.

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

352 posts in 2839 days

#5 posted 01-22-2014 12:35 AM

+1 that 3/4 is probably too thin
+1 that poplar is cheap, strong and good looking
+1 a local lumbermill will be 50% to 60% cheaper than the same board at the borg

If you have access to a planer and jointer, you can buy rough lumber. Rough cherry at a local lumberyard is the same price as finished furniture grade pine at home depot in my area.

If you don’t have a lot of furniture building experience, and you’ve never built a bed before it’s not a bad idea to start with a plan. There is no shame in it. Many of the best craftsman here started with plans, and graduated to their own designs later.

Best of luck.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 2460 days

#6 posted 01-22-2014 12:39 AM

Double up a couple of pcs of 3/4 shop birch or maple ply.

View bondogaposis's profile


5735 posts in 3084 days

#7 posted 01-22-2014 12:42 AM

I think it will be fine given that the rail will be dadoed into the top ledge. That will add a lot of lateral support which would otherwise be lacking in 3/4” pine.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3408 days

#8 posted 01-22-2014 04:24 AM

I just move a king size “purchased” headboard and footboard. It had 1×8 rails. I think the rails were probably a full inch. If I were going to use the top cap on the rail I think I would use some plywood. Get a good paint grade plywood and the top cap will cover the edge plies. I doesn’t take as much as most think. The bed I first mentioned had what appeared to be cherry but I think it was actually popular.

View SteveHas's profile


11 posts in 2331 days

#9 posted 01-22-2014 12:58 PM

Thanks everyone for the input!

Opinions vary, but I will go back to the drawing board and see what I can do to “beef” up the structure of the frame.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3019 days

#10 posted 01-22-2014 01:12 PM

If you use the correct joinery, pine or even cedar would work fine. For the long runs on the side, I’d glue up a couple cedar 5/4 and screw them to the frame and the slats. It will be light weight and very rigid.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3791 days

#11 posted 01-22-2014 01:31 PM

How about a completely different idea. You can go to a thrift store and find a steel bed frame for less than $20.00 all day long. That would give you a base that would be solid and sturdy, then use the 3/4 wood to make the headboard and footboard and, you could even attach side runners as you have pictured to the metal rails easily enough. You get the strength you need, the look you want and, you can use the lower cost lumber. Plus, if you ever move, you get a bed that will be easy to disassemble and move. Just a thought.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2803 days

#12 posted 01-22-2014 07:40 PM

im with Doc, building a bed frame is fun and all, but if you can get a metal frame cheap or free it frees up your lumber to get more creative. Make a fancy pine headboard or somehting.

If you go this route then borg 3/4 pine will be fine, because the metal frame is doing the work. If not, then beef it up. All if the suggestions here are good, if it were me and it had to be all wood (sometimes it does) Id go with utility grade 2x SPF lumber to keep the cost down, and go with the flaws in the wood like knots rather then fight them.

I am working on a medicine cabinet, making it from shop grade spruce ply. Birch would be a lot nicer but the GF wants the rustic look.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

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