how to extreme

Build Your Own Bed

Construction How-To, Finish Carpentry, Projects March 17, 2014 Sonia


This rustic-style bed is a new piece of furniture I made from some very old materials.

By Matt Weber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandmother owns a house built sometime in the 1940s which has been in our family for decades. The house was formerly used as a residence, then as a barn and finally just for storage. It was recently slated for demolition, so I decided to rob it of its usable materials. The interior walls were clad with tongue-and-groove pine that had a rich, distressed quality. This slow-growth pine has tightly spaced rings for a warm, detailed character that enhances its dimensional stability, so the boards stay straighter and the grain is less likely to check than much of the lumber available today.

I reclaimed old ¾” tongue-and-grove pine from a house built in the 1940’s.

I reclaimed old ¾” tongue-and-grove pine from a house built in the 1940’s.

I pulled the boards off the wall studs using a couple of heavy- duty pry bars, including a Gutster Demo Bar typically used for deck demolition.

I gave the old boards a quick, light wash to remove decades of loose dirt, and then allowed them to dry in the sun immediately afterward.

I gave the old boards a quick, light wash to remove decades of loose dirt, and then allowed them to dry in the sun immediately afterward.

I was collecting the boards to make the bed’s headboard for my three-year-old son. Not only did this beautiful wood have that distinct character, but I liked the idea of repurposing a memento of my family’s history in a project for our next generation. I guess I’m sentimental.

A strap clamp from Bessey Tools held the posts together while I sanded the ends even.

A strap clamp from Bessey Tools held the posts together while I sanded the ends even.

A Bosch 12” gliding miter saw made it easy to cut the 6x6 bed posts.

A Bosch 12” gliding miter saw made it easy to cut the 6×6 bed posts.

Here’s how I built the bed.

Bed Frame

I used new lumber for the bed frame, since it would basically be invisible beneath the bedding. Plus, I needed the supporting strength of 2x lumber, and the T&G boards were only 3/4-in.thick.

I adjusted the blade of a circular saw to cut along the notch lines.

I adjusted the blade of a circular saw to cut along the notch lines.

The notches in the bed posts were marked with a speed Square, allowing 3-1/2” of each 2x4 to set inside the post.

The notches in the bed posts were marked with a speed Square, allowing 3-1/2” of each 2×4 to set inside the post.

For my design I cut the bed posts from an 8-ft. 6×6 and notched each one to receive the 2×4 bed rails. You’ll need seven 8-ft. 2x4s; four for the rails and three for the cross-members.

The round shape of the blade can’t complete the square cuts, so I finished off the notches with a hammer and wood chisel.

The round shape of the blade can’t complete the square cuts, so I finished off the notches with a hammer and wood chisel.

First, carefully cut the 6×6 as square as possible into four equal posts, measuring the height you prefer for the bed frame (minus the thickness of the plywood top). My posts were 11 inches high. A 12-in. sliding miter saw is ideal for cutting the 6×6, but you can get the job done with a circ saw if you finish the cut with a hand saw or recip saw.

This photo illustrates the orientation of the notches to accept the bed rails.

This photo illustrates the orientation of the notches to accept the bed rails.