Saturday, April 28, 2012

Building A Bed: The Project I'm Almost Finished With

Buy A Bed?  Why?  I Can Build That

It took a little convincing but I was able to talk my wife into letting me build a bed for our son.  The plan was/is to build him a bunk bed but because of time constraints, I just built him the bottom half for now.


I looked up several bunk beds and bunk bed plans.  Then in the end I came up with my own plans/design, inspired by a design I liked.  Specifically the one you see here.

There weren't any plans available for this bed, so I just figured it out on my own.  They're not pretty but they make sense to me.

As you'll be able to see by the finished product, I didn't add the vertical 2x4 board in the middle of the head/footboard.
Materials List

I'm proud to say that I was thurough enough with my materials list that I didn't HAVE to buy any extras after I made the initial purchases.  I spent an approximate total of $250.  That includes the stain, varnish, some new drill bits, my work-gloves, and eye protection.
Just the Bottom Bunk
2x4x10 (2) $7.40
2x6x8 (3) $25.14
4x4x8 (2) $15.84
4x8 Plywood (1) $17.50
1x4x8 (2) $8.50
2x1x8 (12) $20.04
2x2x8 (2) $3.04
Wood Panel (2) $23.90
¼” 6” Lag Screws + washers (24) $19.68
5/16”6” Lag Screws + washers (8) $7.76
¼” Wood Dowels (8) $1.98 (1 pack)
½” Wood dowels (4) $1.98
3” Deck screws (12)
2” Deck screws (48)
Finishing nails (20)
Estimated total cost $200 (as of 2012)

Both Top and Bottom
2x4x10 (10) $37.00
1x3x6 (2) $9.00
2x6x8 (6) $26.28
4x4x8 (4) $31.68
4x8 Plywood (2) $35.00
1x4x8 (4) $17.00
2x1x8 (24) $40.08
Wood Panel (4) $35.85
¼” 6” Lag Screws + washers (58) $47.56
5/16”6” Lag Screws + washers (16) $15.52
¼” Wood Dowels (16) $4.00 (2 packs)
½” Wood dowels (4) $1.98
Hook things (2)?
3” Deck screws (24)
2 ½” Deck screws (10)
2” Deck screws (96)
Finishing nails (40) $3.00
Estimated total cost $350.00 (as of 2012)

This was the plan before I built.  I learned that there really isn't a need for the larger lag screws.  Use them if you want though.

My Design

I used 4x4's for the posts because I wanted it to be really sturdy.  In the end it also added some character to it.  Slight splits in the wood give it a more rustic feel but I feel the integrity of the structure is still there.
I used 2x6's for the beams because I wanted it to be sturdy.
2x1's are used for the bed slats with a 3/4 plywood sheet over that.  We won't need a boxspring so the design is more ideal for an eventual bunk-bed.

Bead board sheets were used for the headboard/footboard.  I could have used grooved pieces a bead board but they were more expensive a would have taken a little more to get to the exact right size.  Looking back now I wish I would have because it would have made the back side a little nicer.

I made them identical for a couple of reasons.  It made it easier to build, it was just a matter of following a pattern and repeating that.  I also just liked the look.  I wanted the beadboard to make it a little nicer looking than your average bunk bed.  If you wanted to save some money/time, you could do my exact headboard/footboard without the 2x4 across the bottom and the beadboard panels.  To turn the bed into a bunk bed, I'll just drill dowell holes into the middle of the 4x4 posts on top of the head/footboards and on the bottom of the top bunk. 

I ended up with a very sturdy bed, one I feel an adult man could use safely.

I will eventually be able to add a trundle bed that will slide out from underneath, and a top bunk. 

I had access to a great woodshop, but because of the limited amount I could get in this woodshop, I had to focus on building just the bottom bunk for now.
I did a couple of things to make building a little easier.
After cutting one length, I used that as my measuring stick.  The reason being, I didn't need every piece to be exactly X long.  I needed particular pieces to be just as long as each other.

When I cut, I tried to leave a little extra wood on.  I was then able to take this off with a planer/edger or sander to get it to the right size.

For drilling I created a template rather than measure out exactly where I wanted each hole. 

In the end the tools I used were: Miter Saw, Table Saw (though if you use a box spring and don't use beadboard panels you wouldn't need one), Drill Press, Router, Planer, Edger, and a Power Sander.  I also used lots of clamps.  My new wood working theory: you can never have enough clamps.

This is what the pre-stained, nearly finished bed looks like

I chose a stain with a bit of red to it.  I forgot to stir the stain and was about half-way done when I noticed the headboard was brown, and the rest of the bed I had stained was red.  I waited for it to dry, sanded off the red, and restained it.  I added one coat of satin varnish (I thought the other options were too shiny).

The white piece of wood is the sheet of plywood.
Just Waiting On Bedding

Once we have the bedding, we'll buy the mattress.  I'll take off the side beams (rails) and haul everything up to my son's room where I'll put it all together, complete with head/footboards, beams, the slats you saw in my pre-staining pic, and the sheet of plywood that will replace a boxspring. 

I've already received several compliments from neighbors that have seen it sitting in my garage.  I want to put it together now but have decided to wait until the bedding arrives.  That way we'll be able to celebrate the brand-new, newly completed bed.

Estimated time it took me to build (includes shopping/cutting/constructing/staining): 30 hours

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