Bed Project Phase 2

I started my storage bed project a short while ago.  Ok, it was nearly 2 years ago.  Still, I got another bit done.  The mattress sits on a plywood platform.  Wood strips form a lip around the edges and keep the box springs in place.  Those had been a set of short pine parts, but would now be full maple pieces.  The bottom face of the bed frame was plywood and an open hole.  That got covered with an easily removable maple cover.

I started this phase right after I finished the frame, but got side tracked.  I lost a lot of the photos.  The earliest thing I have is of the bottom cover getting ripped down to rough width.  I did that by hand.  No small amount of work!  Table saws are real time savers these days.

After that I went about flattening the massive board with a scrub plane which, according to my heart rate monitor, easily qualifies as cardio.  Scrubbed on the left half, untouched on the right in the picture below.


After a bit of time with my jack plane it was becoming flatter.  The maple always gives me tear out grain issues though.  A smoothing plane and card scraper fix most of up.

The bottom cover was the largest board I had ever worked by hand.  It was daunting, but starting to look good.


With the dimensions and finish all about right I could move on to adding a hand cutout feature.  I roughed with my chisel, then used a rasp and spoke shave to smooth it all out.



Glued washers to the back of the board held it firmly against magnets in the bed frame.  The issue is that this kind of board doesn’t like to be flat.  That gap is a little unsightly.


No need to panic, I can fix this and make it even better.  A piece of molding attached with pocket holes will stabilize the board a bit, cover up that gap, add a feature to keep the covered centered on the frame, and add some nice flair.  Below is that molding cut to size and fit checked on the bottom cover.  It would ultimately get some rounding on the router, but I forgot to capture that process.


Similarly, I didn’t get anything of my work on the side rails.  They got a groove to help alignment with the bed platform and some rounding on the router to ease contact with shins and knees.  I used the same waterlox varnish finish technique as on the rest of the bed.  I am really liking how that finish works!


I assembled the bottom cover once all the finish work was done.  It takes and ugly hole and makes it look like a great maple masterpiece.



The old pine temporary rails were removed and new maple ones installed.  I clipped the bottom two corners of the bed platform before installing the rails.  No real load is held there at the very edge, and my shins catch that.  Now the railing and platform are all more leg friendly.


Phase 3 is going to be making all the drawers that go underneath the bed.  I want them to be largely hand worked as well.  For this project I used a miter saw to cut things to length and a router to perform round overs.  Otherwise everything was done with hand tools.  Not necessary, but something I want to spend more time on.

Storage Bed Frame Phase 1

Storage is a premium in our house and rarely used bedroom items like blankets and extra pillows take up a lot of space.  I looked around for ideas and instead of trying to build a better chest of drawers than we currently have, I went for a new bed frame with storage.  I couldn’t find many good examples of bed frames that keep the boxsprings and provide a decent storage solution.  So I designed my own.

The frame is going to be in two halves that are joined by a narrow bit of plywood to tie the two together.  This makes each half narrower and lighter, and get it the right size for drawers.

Most of the body parts are made of plywood that will get covered in maple face framing.  I used pocket holes to aid in assembly and came back afterwards with screws from the other side to help with strength.  Each base has 3 cavities of the same size.  The ones closest to your head will have a false drawer front because our night stands sit too close for them to be useful.

The drawers are going to be big and heavy, so instead of messing with metal drawer slides I am just going to have them slide on the floor.  Each drawer cavity got some clean pine along the edges to help horizontally guide the eventual drawers.  Everything is recessed 6″ to prevent me from banging my foot on the corners like I always do with our metal bed frame.


The left and right half with drawers all needed face framing.  I hand planed all the surfaces, and went with waterlox varnish (a thinned tung oil) for the finish based on my lessons at the tampa woodworking show.  I am pretty sure I applied it too heavy, but I really like the results.

I did the same for two long sets of rail to go across the upper portion of the drawer area.  It isn’t a traditional way to do face framing, but it was much easier to do and will still look good.  Everything got strapped down with pocket hole screws.


With all the face work done I could finally assemble the whole lot.  Pocket holes around the edges will hold on the lip that keeps the box springs from falling off.  I screwed up a cut and had to do the center spanner in two pieces instead of one.  A few alignment instructions later and it was ready to install in the bedroom.


The installation went pretty well and after a few weeks of sleeping on the frame we are really happy.  The height is good, the frame is sturdy and no banged toes!


Currently I am using a few pieces of pine as the boarder to keep the box springs in place.  I need one across the head, because the boxsprings have slid up since we installed them.  The bedskirt ended up covering most everything.  I was going to be more decorative with the box spring trim, but now will probably keep it simple.  Phase 1 complete, phase 2 will be the trim and a piece to cover up the bottom face, and phase 3 will be the drawers.