Loading... Please wait...

Beds Tip


-Outstanding projects from one of America’s Best Craftsmen


We spend close to a third of our lives in bed. For this reason alone, in a increasingly fast-paced and sleep-deprived world, out beds are out most important place of repose. But it is the other activities that help make out beds so special.

We watch television. We read stories to our children. We stay up too late ourselves with a good bood. Out children use the bed as a trampoline. We the bed as a ....trampoline. And we serve breakfast in bed as a very special treat.

Fot these reasons, the bed is one of the most significant pieces of furniture in the home,ranking with the dining room table as a major purchse or project. But where the dining table is something of a showpiece, the bed has a more private meaning. Our choice of bed reveals more of our innermost ideas of repost, comfort, and family life. Physical comfort is not the issue-that’s up to the mattress. Its the bed frame that matters. In building or choosing one, it’s almost as if we’re creating some sort of private shelter. This intimate shelter can take many forms-from the pure and simple to the rich and imposing.

Whatever the bed looks like-austere or elaborate-the basic stucture is fairly simple. The headboard and footboard are generally separate pieces connected to the side rails with some form of knockdown joinery.

There are more complex variations, but I haven’t found much ust for them. I’ve developed a quick, easy, and very sturdy connection system based on traditional bed bolts, which i use on most of the projects in this book.

This book can be seen as a collection of good bed projects that utilize this simple system. Where appropriate, i’ve given options for changing some of the designs to serve as variations or further projects. But this book is more than just projects. The bed designs cover a wide range of woodworking techniques and can lead to the mastery of an equally wide range of woodworking skills. Tapering long posts, laminating big curves, cutting and smoothing graceful shapes, even creating laege round posts-all are a part of the standard repertoire of the bed maker and cabinetmarket.

In the first chapter, I walk you through the basics of building beds what follows are nint bed projects. You can pick a project based on good design fundamentals that can expand your woodworking capabilities. Or you can use these basic designs as a foundation from which to design your own bed.




Bed - Building Basics

Beds come in all shapes, sizes and kinds. There are dozens of basic forms. Hundreds of different styles, and thousands of variations. However, the only essential part of a bed is what we actually lie down and sleep on. This usually means a mattress in one form or another. In fact, the world ‘bed’ was originally used to describe just the beding; the word‘bedstead” applied to the other parts of what we now think of as a bed. With all of this variety, it’s surprising how similar he basic construction of most bed is.



Basic Bed Components

A typical bed has a headboard, footboard, siderails, and some sort of mattress support. Not all beds have all these parts-some are little more than mattress, which others add on all sorts of extras. But whatever the bed consists of, there is one almost universal feature; knockdown joinery. This is simply a matter of practicality. A bed is just to hard to move around as a single unit, so each component is indeed a separate part. We’ll consider each of the parts separately before we look at how to put them together.


The headboard

The headboard is usually the visual focus of the bed. It established the look and he style and is generally the most ornate part. It’s a good place to show off your skills as a wood-worker, as long as the desin is well integrated throughout the rest of the bed.



On a typical wooden bed, the headboard consists of the two legs at the head of the bed, the headboard rail, and some sort of a board that extend up above the mattress. The term headboard is sometimes used to describe just this board, at other times it describes the complete headboard assembly, including the legs, rails, and, of course, this headboard plank. I will use headbaord to describe the assembly and headboard plank to describe the plank.

Functionally, the headbord keeps the pillows from slipping off the bed and the wall from getting dirty from contact with heads and hair oil. On the other hand, the headboard doesn’t always end up against the wall. Some people place the bed in the middle of the room. The nineteenth-century writer Mark Twain placed the foot board, he could look at the beautifully ornate headboard down by his feet when in bed. Most people are nit quite this eccentric/

Headboard heights can vary from just higher than the pillow to many feet higher than the mattress. This is mostly a matter of style and design, although a low headboard makes is easy to knock you head if you toss and turn at night. I recommend a minimum height of 10 in. To 12 in. Above the mattress.

The footboard\;

The footboard is often a scaled-down version of the headboard, reflecting and complementing the headboard’s elements. It can be as complex as the headboard or as simple as two legs and a connecting rail.


The footboard can be simple because it doesn’t have as important a function as the headboard. Originally it may have helped to keep the mattress in place. Now its mostly a design convention that adds visual balance to the bed.

Some people don’t like the confinement of a footboard. Som don’t like the fact that it makes dealing with sheets and blankkets a liitle more difficult. Others find the visual and physical closure at the bottom of the bed comfoting. Choosing a footboard desin really comes down to personal preference. When you make a similar headboard and footboard, build both at once, so that you need to set up machines and jigs only once for work on both