Hi, folks. I'm finally getting to the captain's bed project and am
impressed with the myriad of design decisions that must be made. I'd
appreciate hearing the voice of experience from you on some of them.
Headboard and footboard:
For starters, I want to use some reclaimed pine for the headboard,
footboard, and corner posts. I don't have enough of it to do much more than
that. The rest of the bed will be built out of new pine and plywood. The
shape of the headboard has been designed by my son, looking kind of like a
moutain range. The posts will be made from undressed 2x4s (i.e. full size),
but I haven't decided yet if I'll laminate two of them together and turn
them on the lathe. If I do, I'll need to turn them in two pieces per post
since my lathe isn't that long.
The drawer pattern I'd like to use is similar to this:
I'm thinking might make drawers on both sides, making 8 drawers and 2
cupboards or 1 through cupboard. Would that make them too shallow? Should
I just make 4 deeper drawers? I also don't want them so deep that I need
rollers to support them, since in my experience that will scratch the floor.
If I only make 4 (and I'm leaning that way), I want to find a way to be able
to use them on either side of the bed, depending on how it ends up situated
in the room. What do most people do? I can't tell from the pictures.
The bed frame:
The whole thing will be able to move on retractable wheels using a
mechanism of my own design that was successfull on my router table. To
support all the weight across the middle I'll have plywood on edge,
criscrossed somehow between drawer ends and sides of the cupboard. How
thick should this supporting plywood be? How thick should the top be, where
the mattress will sit? (Note: I don't want any visible plywood; I don't
like the way peeled grain looks.)
I don't plan to live here forever, so I must be able to disassemble the
bed into pieces that can fit through the door, but still have enough
structural integrity on their own not to be damaged and light enough not to
require circus strongmen to carry. Do you have any brilliant ideas of how
to do this without sacrificing too much drawer space or overbuilding visible
parts of the bed? For example, take a look at the picture in the link I
provided. The lip holding the mattress in place appears to bolt to the
footboard, but it seems too wide for my taste.
Please comment on anything else you think might be relevant to someone
embarking on a project like this. I'm at the most flexible stage of the
project and good work now will save me much trouble later, I'm sure.
- Owen -
Dunno. How wide is the bed? Standard twin is 39". Is half of that
too shallow? Standard full is 54"...half of that is definitely not
How deep? A drawer deeper than about 8" is a PITA IMO. You could
make deeper drawers and fit liftout (or sliding) trays in them. Don't
make them so deep that is hard to get into/out of bed.
How are they going to scratch the floor?
Well, that means a couple of things...
1. The drawer fronts can't overlap the frame.
2. The drawer fronts will never wind up aligned with the frames
because people won't take the time to do so.
IOW, I'd make drawers for each side.
1/2" is plenty, 3/4" is OK too. Ditto vertical pieces.
You need three things...
3. Drawer carcase
Biggest/heaviest would be the drawer framework and that (for a twin)
would be around 39x80x24. Not exactly gigantic.
So make it smaller or attach it differently.
I made our bed (water bed) 20+ years ago. Frame is California King
which is 72x84. Footboard is 72+- x maybe 30. Headboard is 120X
about 30+36". Nightstands hang on headboard with French cleats.
Headboard hangs on wall the same way. The headboard disassembles into
two halves which are bolted together from the back through two
vertical pieces of oak that don't show.
There are two drawer sections (identical but mirror image, one on each
side). They are
vertical pieces of particle board from side to center which define the
drawer spaces and which support a four pieces of 1/2" ply which
support the mattress (four pieces because they are easier to manage,
two would have been OK too).
The vertical pieces of PB for each drawer section are hooked together
at all four corners with 1x2x3/4 pieces of fir set into appropriately
sized notches in the PB corners. The two drawer sections bolt
together at head and foot ends.
There are two side rails with integral toekicks. The foot board has
mortises that fit into them. They are held there by a wooden bracket
with a bolt through it into brass inserts in the foot board. The
siderails also have a fir 1x2 attached to them lengthwise on the
inside. The top surface of that 1/2 is flush with the mattress
supporting plywood and is screwed to the drawer sections in a couple
To recap a bit: once matress is off, this is disassemply...
1. Remove 4 - 1/2" ply mattress support pieces.
2. Remove 2 screws on each side that hold side rails to drawer frame
3. Remove bolts that hold footboard mortices to side rails.
4. Knock off footboard.
5. Remove 2 bolts at foot and 2 at head ends that hold drawer sections
to each other
6. Move drawer sections out of the way
7. Lift headboard off wall, remove two bolts so that it is now in two
As far as weight goes, I could easily carry any piece. Once
assembled, nothing shows except walnut.
Twin. Now that I know the dimension (thank you very much), half that, less
a bit for internal stuff sounds about right.
Good thinking. Did you mean 18" If only 8", a pair of pants in our
household would have to be scrunched up quite a bit to fit in.
They pick up some grit every time they hit the floor, and use it to make
Thanks. I'm leaning back in that direction now.
It will need structural integrity in the horizontal dimension since it will
have to be turned on its side to fit through the door. But if the top is
put on permanently that should keep it from wracking, yes?
Of course. I'm asking for experienced suggestions. I can always come up
with my own, but why make my own mistakes when others have already made them
NOW we're talking! Great idea that had never occurred to me!
Thanks for the great reply! I'll definitely benefit from it.
- Owen -
No, I meant 8". Top of sides to bottom. You have *BIG* pants :)
OK. But the thing is, the drawers shouldn't *be* hitting the floor.
They should either be on some sort of track or there should be a
"kick" on the frame that prevents the drawer front from dropping when
Only if the bottom edges are joined in some manner too.
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