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This is the third part of a series , actually it’s the fourth part because I slipped the Mortise Machine Mortises entry in without a mention of the bed (read that entry here) , about my wife’s new bed. Read part one here, and Part two here.

In all the furniture I’ve built in the past, I really feel there are two projects that were exceptional. Translation: I would almost always change something about each and every project I build. Never would I build that same piece the same way.

Most times, I have the project finished before I make that assessment. However, after the holiday weekend , during which I had completed a good part of the work , something bothered me about this bed I’m building. The design was stuck in my thoughts. Where I was at that point with construction is shown below.

What bothered me were the rails of the bed running from post to post and the stiles fitting between those rails. Of course the center stile would fit that way, but the outer two stiles , if viewed without the added posts , would not. Think about a door. The stiles run from top to bottom, not between the rails. It was bugging me, so I made the change. Take a close look at the top photo and you can see the difference. Also, the close up of the headboard (below) shows the construction change.

By the way , I blame this on all the blog commenters who didn’t point out this error in my SketchUp drawing (Hey, I can’t blame myself!). I burnt a Saturday in the shop making the necessary changes, but, as you can see, I did move forward on the project.

I also had a chance to use my favorite router technique, a square platform jig (watch a video here). The rails are too long to stand up and two-step cut the tenons as I normally do. And, before you say it, it’s not easy to push king-size bed rails over a dado stack if you don’t have a sliding table at your table saw. So the jig is the perfect answer.

What’s left on the bed build is to attach the posts. As you can see in the photo above, that’s not an easy process due to the length of assemblies. I have two 84″-long pipe clamps, but those do not stretch the entire length of the head and foot boards. Shown in the photo is my idea as to how and make this happen. I plan to cut a couple biscuit slots into the post and end stiles to help hold things in position as I add the clamps as shown. The problem I have with this scenario is the time it takes to complete. I’ll have to add one post at a time.

Anyone have another suggestion? If so, post your thoughts and let’s see if we can’t knock this build out next weekend. If you remember from the first post (read it here), my client is losing her patience.

– Glen D. Huey


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Showing 7 comments
  • Chris Friesen

    Yes, I can definately understand the whole "customer is right" thing. I made a king bed frame out of construction lumber as my "temporary" frame until I had time to do the "real" one out of maple. Post chamfers freehanded with a chisel, center brace under the bed attached with angle iron, big exposed zinc -plated hex bolts fastening the side rails, slapped on some lacquer as a quick-dry finish.

    My wife decided that the spruce bed looked great, didn’t want the maple one.

  • Chuck Bender

    If you like the idea so much, why call me names? 😉

    Glen is right. The customer is always right and this one is the most right customer he’s ever had. You have to consider also that this customer has a houseful of that "fancy" furniture Glen usually builds (dare I use the Ritterian term "slicked down furniture"?). I think her motivation was two fold. First, she wanted a simpler piece of furniture for decorative purposes. Something that would not overshadow the grand masterpieces Glen has scattered throughout the house but would still stand on its own. Lastly, and most importantly, she wanted something Glen would actually have time to finish (preferably in her lifetime). He’s a busy guy, you know. 🙂

    In order to wrap up this comment, I just want to say that no real engineers were used, or injured in any way to create this comment.

    So far so good Glen. You’ve made lots of progress since I saw the pile of boards on your workbench a few weeks ago.


  • glen

    Some of my pipe clamps are from way back and the ends aren’t threaded. I will look to see if I have enought threaded ends to do the job, then pick up a couple connectors. That will help.

    I’m going to agree with your thoughts, but I’m also going to add that the customer is always right. And, there is a moulding that wraps around the panels (not seen in the photos as of yet), so the extra pieces between the posts and the panels are necessary. Also, that moulding should spice up the look somewhat.

    And Chuck,
    Wow, the engineer in you has finally risen to the top. Great Idea.


  • Chuck Bender


    How about finding a lower ceiling height than in your main shop and using a couple of hydraulic jacks to pin the headboard and footboard assemblies between the floor and ceiling? I’ve used this method for years for assembling tall post beds with a turned upper post and cabriole legs on the lower part of the post. It could easily be adapted to your frame and panel assemblies. I suppose you could also anchor a board to your concrete floor the proper distance from one of the walls and use the jack assembly horizontally. Good luck and you’d better hurry. I’m sure she’s getting impatient.


  • Chris Friesen

    I’d probably have designed it such that the panels fit into the legs themselves, and then this wouldn’t be an issue.

    I hate to say it, but I think the fact that it was built under time pressure kind of shows in the design. To my eyes it’s very plain, but doesn’t seem to have the attention to detail and proportion that most of the magazine projects do. It’s nice and all, but it doesn’t make me go "wow" the way that this does:

  • Jason Young

    To speed up your assembly why don’t you use threaded pipe couplings to connect your pipe clamps end to end and end up with 8 foot clamps. I made a king sized bed this way and it worked great. The coupling are only a couple of bucks at a local hardware store.

  • jacob

    Better the first way round with the rails running through to the posts. Why ‘think about a door’; it isn’t a door! It’s a bed end with a bit of panelling between two posts.
    Sure she will like it though!



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