Slat bed question

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I am working on my foot/head board rails. If I don't have the two sides exactly parallel to each other than the slats will not fit at a constant length from left to right.
Question #1: If I am off a little in parallel is their a trick to fix the slats so they all fit ? I was going to attach them to the rails with biscuits.
Question #2: Do you think bscuits will be a strong of enough joint for the slats? There is no up and down forces pulling on the joint so I was thinking biscuits would work.
Here is the bed: http://www.garagewoodworks.com/Ellis_Mission_Bed.htm
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Stoutman
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"If I don't have the two sides exactly parallel to each other than the slats will not fit at a constant length from left to right."
I am referring to the two sides of the same rail.
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Dam it. The two edges of the same rail. I knew I would get it right.
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Hello Harvey:
Could I have a copy of your cad drawing of your bed?
TIA
Tom Buckley tbuckley^canada.com
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Did you want the CAD file or the JPEG rendering?
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Either/both would be nice. :>)
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A couple JPEGS are on my webpage. If you want a different angle let me know.
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: Question #1: If I am off a little in parallel is their a trick to fix the : slats so they all fit ? I was going to attach them to the rails with : biscuits.
Make them a bit short. make sure the surface they rest on (the relevant part of the external sides) is wide enough.
: Question #2: Do you think bscuits will be a strong of enough joint for the : slats? There is no up and down forces pulling on the joint so I was : thinking biscuits would work.
Forget biscuits. Two common means of doing this are to use a screw in the middle of each slate (to allow for expansion) down into the side of the bed, or join the slats together with a ribbon of canvas, then screw a few of them in place (the canvas prevents to rest from sliding too much).
I would personally also forgoe the box spring, and just use more slats, and lay the mattress on top of them directly. The box spring is pointless.
    -- Andy Barss
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Andrew Barss wrote:

I second both of these. I've been using an Ikea slat bed for a number of years now. No boxspring, just slats. The slats are joined by nylon webbing stapled to each slat. The slats are not fastened to the bed at all.
Hasn't given any trouble.
Chris
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Stoutman wrote:

slats on the cleats. Never had a problem with the slats falling down although it does require that the rails be fairly parallel.     mahalo,     jo4hn
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What I did with the two beds I made in regard the slats. I made a 1/4" wide slots in the middle of the slats about an inch long X half of the thickness deep of the slats. I installed wooden dowels equally spaced into the supporting rails to match the amount of slats. I made sure that the mattress (size configurations) was fitting good, Then I adjusted and numbered the slats accordingly to their best fit. When I arrived at my daughter with the beds (not the mattress) flat packed in my car every thing fitted very well. Then she dropped the mattress and she had enough space to fold the sheets and blankets under. The lumber used to make the beds came from her land and was milled and air dried on the side of her house.

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I don't care for metal fasteners, so I dovetailed my slats in. They are easy to remove with a tap, but I must admit, it took a bit of fitting to get them all in.
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OK I guess I didn't state my question clearly enough.
Let me try again.
I am not referring to the slats that support the mattress, I am referring to the slats that are in the head board and foot board. In the cad drawing there are 9 of them in the headboard and 9 in the foot board.
|---------rail edge--------| |----------rail edge-------| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | (SLATS) |-------------------------| |---------rail-------------| | | | | Bed Posts
If the two edges of the rails are not exactly parallel than the slats will not fit from left to right.
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Stoutman wrote:

Ah...
If the gap between the top and bottom rails isn't uniform, then you'll have to cut each of the "slats" slightly differerent lengths to fit them perfectly. Real pain.
Probably better/easier to rework the joints between the rails and the bed posts to ensure a uniform gap.
As for the actual join, as you say they're not structural. However, I could see them being leaned on by someone in the bed. I'd probably go with mortise and tenons. (Course, I don't actually own a biscuit joiner, so I have no experience with how strong a joint it produces)
Chris
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Yep. I hope I don't have to do that.

Good point.

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"Stoutman" wrote in message

That's what I thought you meant.

The trick is two fold: Batch cut the slats, with a stop on a table saw sled or miter saw; and assemble the rails and slats as a sub-assembly before you attach them to the legs, insuring they are parallel before doing so.
Sometime leaving a little vertical wiggle room in the mortise _length_ can help you do that.
That said:
Slats/spindles are usually held in place with mortise and tenons. The shoulders of the tenons, with the tenons sitting in a mortise a little deeper than the length of the tenon, is what normally governs whether the two rails are parallel.
You are obviously not doing this.

I've never heard of using biscuits to hold slats/spindles in place, but, and since strength is not an issue, and if the slats are thick and wide enough, why not?
I often don't even glue slats/spindles into place when using M&T joints.
There is another way to do this ... with the slats housed in grooves that run the length of both rails, with spacers the same thickness as the depth of the groove between the slats as spacers.
I've never liked to do that and you still have to get the slat length perfect to keep the rails parallel.
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The slats are 5/8" thick X 5 7/8" wide.
I might switch my plans back to M&T's. I thought that 18 biscuit joints would be easier to do than 18 M&T's. But if I am sacrificing a lot of strength than maybe I should suck it up and do the M&T's.

Good food for thought! Thank you.
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I don't think that you're sacrificing any strength, but I do prefer the M & T for this particular application ... it is usually worth it to know that you've done it in a traditional way, and that there is usually is a reason why it has become "traditional".
The key to getting the rails parallel with the M&T joints is, obviously, to cut the shoulders so that each slat is identical in length _between the shoulders_ on each end.
I do this by first batch cutting the slats, then using a miter gage and the table saw fence on the table saw as a reference to cut the tenons. This insures the above.
Once that's done, you can shorten the tenons a bit so that they are not as long as the mortises are deep, and the slat's shoulders, resting on the rails and being the same length between shoulders, insures that the rails are parallel.
Piece o' cake! ;)
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They are easier, but you are sacrificing a *lot* of strength- think about what you're doing here. Basicially, you're making simple butt joints with biscuts for alignment. You'll get a little extra strength from the biscuts, but the glue will still be sucked up by the end grain in the spindles, starving the joint- and the biscuts just aren't very strong.
When I do this, I usually use a dado in the rails. It's really pretty easy, and not much weaker than a M&T joint- but you do need to be more careful when sizing the "mortise" dado, as you won't have shoulders on the slats to cover up any mistakes or gaps.
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I'm still missing something here. Are you concerned that the rail itself is tapered? If that's the case, and it really is the best you can do with what you've got, then you can probably sand the spindles down so that they at least appear to be flush.
If it's a matter of the ends of the rails not lining up, there is an easy way to make sure they do- Mark one rail first, then line up the other with it, clamp them together so they don't slide around and transfer your marks across to the other rail with a square. Assemble that first, and then attach the finished head/foot board to the legs, scribing and cutting the rails to fit if needed.
So long as you're careful when cutting the slats to length, and while cutting your biscut slots, it should be self-aligning.
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