Building a Bed

Honing my building skills by making a bed.

This is one of those projects I’ve been thinking about for years. In addition to providing my daughter with a bigger bed when she became old enough, I wanted to test my collection of tools and skills from doing smaller projects. I have been trying to get to a place where I can dream up ideas and create the physical and digital pieces I see in my head. (Think an arduino inside a wood box)

This became a priority this year as my daughter started asking for a twin sized bed, so I started taking this effort seriously around May/June. Project Notes

I decided to create a “bunk bed” with only a top bunk and space underneath for playing, reading, etc.

I also wanted to make the entire thing out of 2X4s with the ability to take it apart for easy movement (else risk having to build it in her room).

More Project Notes

After a lot of thought and test cuts, I also decided I wanted to make it possible to install the bed lower instead of higher. This way, it she doesn’t like the bunk bed she can have a regular bed with high posts. In addition, this means that in the future it could be converted into a proper bunk bed if need be.

Making bed posts

Making the posts took a long time as I really over engineered them. I started with standard 2X4s found at home depot. Try as I might to pick straight ones, inevitably there was some warping. I spent a lot of time trying to clean them up to make them perfect. I built a tapering jig to cut two square sides so that I could then square up the other sides. This was a LOT of work, a LOT of saw dust, and I ended up having to buy a couple of things I didn’t have before. (feather board, hold downs, saw blade cleaner, sander, etc, etc).

I learned a lot from the process so I don’t regret doing any of that work. But ultimately I learned one lesson the hard way: just pay a little more and get nicer wood from a lumbar yard. So that is what I did for the ladder rungs and found them straight enough that all I needed to do was sand them.

All of the pieces laid out

With all 4 posts glued and screwed and all the ladder rungs cut, I did a quick build to check the measurements and confirm things are looking good.

One end complete

A good look at the pre-build.

I have now moved onto the slow and painful task of sanding EVERYTHING. This part has been more work than I thought it would be. I’ve also come to realize that my dust collection method is sub-optimal.

For now though, I plan to muscle through the rest of sanding and get everything glued and screwed back together.

I plan to finish the wood with linseed oil. Hopefully I should have pictures of the final results in a couple of weeks before Christmas.

Edward Romano Written by:

I dabble in, and occasionally obsess over, technology and problems that bug me