So what if it's a big project and you don't have a ton of experience?
There's no better way to learn than to just do it. Sure, you may want
to build yourself a new bed in a couple of years after you've learned a
few tricks and gotten a lot better at this stuff; you'll probably look
back at your first big project and cringe at all the mistakes you made.
So what? It will be a valuable learning experience, and chances are
it'll come out just fine. You'll be the only one to notice all the
For what it's worth, in my opinion you should take the forstner bit
route. It's really easy, really controllable, and you can do a half
dozen mortises that way in the time it takes to set up your router.
You can buy a 3/8" or 1/2" bit at HD or Lowes for under $10. You just
have to mark the perimeter of the mortise, set the depth on your drill
press, and start drilling. The beauty of forstner bits is that the
center of the bit doesn't have to contact any wood. When I do mortises
this way, I drill slightly overlapping holes all the way around the
perimeter, then come back and nibble away the leftovers with the bit.
The remaining chisel work is very easy. You're only left with a tiny
amount to remove. The result is a mortise with round corners the same
radius as your drill bit. You can either continue the chisel work and
square up the corners (it's not really that difficult), or you can use
a knife or a plane or a chisel or router or whatever you want to round
the corners of your tenons. It's not that big a deal if you remove too
much material on the corners of the tenons. It'll never show and
you're not really sacrificing much glue surface.
Like the forstner bit, you should be able to get a chisel at the borg
(e.g. 1/2" wide) that will be just fine for what you want to do for
under $10. Or if you're like most woodworkers, you can use this bed as
an excuse to get yourself a set of forstner bits and a set of chisels.