So this story starts with a visit from my parents shortly after purchasing my house the year I bought it. That year I bought a mattress but nothing else so they had the luxurious opportunity to live like a college student with a mattress directly on the floor. I made the silly promise that their next visit I would have a bed frame (hopefully one that I would build on my own).
I’ll give you one guess what I did not have when my old man visited the following Christmas. Well this year my whole family is coming to visit for the holidays and I fear my mother would not be as easy going as my dad was to sleep essentially on the floor so go ahead and scroll down to see how I went from Mattress on the floor to what I consider a pretty decent looking bed frame (for a first piece of furniture)
I knew I wanted a simple bed out of plywood since that’s what I had laying around. I came up with some quick measurements in my head and came up with a cut list.
This cut list turned into a nested design on some free software I found referenced in youtube. Just a note some of these measurements are incorrect but we will get to that later.
I decided to not double check my measurements and just go for it because I’m the type to procrastinate for two years on a project when I come up with an excuse. So let’s start all the cutting.
As you can see I used a combination of my skill saw and table saw to get all my cuts in according to the cut list. Overall went pretty smoothly.
Here you can see my wood pile stacking up. Now you can see in my cut diagram that one sheet of plywood was only going to be for 6 slats so I held off on those while I debated other options.
After the cuts were all done it was time to start assembling the part of the frame that will eventually hold some drawers. But for now is just some storage spots.
First part of the box was getting all of my parts pulled out of the stack and making sure the alignment fit up with how I pictured it in my head and determining where the pocket holes would go.
My box is made of a top and bottom that are the same size, two sides sized the same, a center divider, and a back panel.
When doing pocket holes don’t forget to set the drill bit for the proper depth stop as well as choosing the proper length screws. To deep of a stop and you could drill through not giving enough material to prevent popping a screw through. And you don’t want it so shallow that the screw won’t secure properly.
I managed to drill some extra pocket holes along one side after I hand a brain fart and getting into the monotonous act of drilling repetitively I ended up with my top and bottom panels having one side with pocket holes that were not needed. Fortunately these parts are not seen when the mattress is in place so I wasn’t concerned.
Pretty much everything went together well. I did determine that I could really use a few more clamps to keep things a bit more solidly in position as the panels tend to move just a bit when you screw in using pockets system.
After the box was built the next step was to lay everything out and determine my best way to secure my side pieces to the cabinet box; you know, since I did not determine this before hand 😮
I was pretty happy upon first glance everything seemed to look good. THEN I decided lets take some quick measurements and found what you get when you try to run all the numbers in your head without properly scratching down your ideas.
So as you can see above I did something wrong, and that something is forgetting to account for either 3/4″ additional length needed on each side OR 1-1/2″ added to the length of the back panel. At this point I had put in a pretty long day getting to this point and decided I needed to take a break for the day and make sure I chose the easiest solution to move forward with.
So the following (project) day, I went back out in the shop and took a quick measurement and found that the end of my side panel was at 80″ (the length of a queen size mattress) This meant a very easy solution was to trim my back panel down in height as well as my middle support in length therefore allowing the back panel to slide in between the sides but losing the back height to trap the mattress in the frame. As I was planning for the bed to go against the wall this works just fine for my purposes.
Now that my bed frame dimensions were confirmed and I knew my mattress would fit it was time to figure out how the sides would attach but still be able to be modular without needing any tools.
My solution was to use my face frame as part of the securing method by building small channels to wrap the box side for the front attachment and some metal bed frame hardware from amazon for the back.
The size of my channel made the final determination for the width of my face frame. And was determined stacking a few pieces of plywood and then using a piece of paper folded in half to allow a little room to slide the sides into place.
I completely failed at getting pictures of making up the face frame bracket but I can tell you that while doing it I was having all kinds of issues. I applied the glue but did not have proper clamps to hold it in place as I first built the “L”s and this was OK with me I figured I would use my pin nailer as the perfect clamps… until it started to jam on me oh boy was I flustered. I think if I were to do this way again I would put a small rabbit to help me with alignment and securing. Eventually I got the “L”s made up but no pictures AH.
I suppose now is a good time to go into the other mistakes I made at this point. First let me explain that while doing this I first thought “what will look best as end face frame and my original plan was as seen here:
Detail of this plan mean that the blues will be nailed to the box of the frame and the outside green sections would be attached to the sides (they are the “L’s I made) some will notice my mistake immediately; unfortunately I did not. After glue up and trial assembly I realized that because of the top and bottom I was unable to slide my sides into place OOPS. So looking back, I should have done run the outer sides all the way up and cut my blue parts shorter.
At this point though I needed to correct my mistake and I was already glued up bummer. So I chopped off 3/4” from each end of blue and then cut replacement pieces that were glued and nailed onto my sides. After a little hand planing and a bit of wood filler I think the correction worked out pretty well.
After the glue up I did some painting and got everything put together in the room. That pretty much wraps it up.
So in summary:
- Double check your measurements. This is basic but well there it is again I mess it up all too often (and will most likely continue to)
- Remember to play through the full mechanics of any joint you are not use to making and be ready for some on the fly changes.
- I had a bit of a gap behind the bed due to the style of the bed frame so pillows kind of fell down a bit. Solution coming on new post (hopefully soon)
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