Making a bed where no box spring will be used.. For years I have always
opted for using a maple plywood platform over using slats... I guess the
original decision came from one... slats do take a lot of wood.. and my junk
bed at home, which is old but has maple slats that do sag.. so on my beds I
use the rails around the bed and then install 3 beefy rails across the bed
and lay the plywood on top... Queen bed..
What's your approach ??
I built 2 sets of twin-sized bunks (oak for the boys, painted poplar
for the girls) using rails and 3/4" A/C plywood, no slats. The upper
bunks are actually 1" A/Luan plywood, so the kid on the bottom didn't
have to stare up at a C-grade surface for his entire childhood.
BTW - The boys split their bunks into two singles when the oldest
moved out a few months ago and took his half with him. That was the
plan 18 years ago when I built 'em and it finally came to fruition.
My wife and I sleep in a queen sized platform bed - again using 3/4" A/
C, no rails, no slats. It was built like a waterbed I once saw. Under
the plywood are 2 large X's of 3/4 x 12 pine boards. The base is a
rectangle made of 2 x 12's. The platform overhangs the base ~5" on all
Without getting too graphic here, I will say that the platform bed has
held up well for over 25 years and is partially responsible for the
need for the 2 bunk beds.
What do you want, style wise?
Platform beds have a totally different look than a standard headboard /
footboard setup. Platform beds are also probably easier to construct a
truly solid product.
The slats used in a standard bed can be the ugliest, cheapest wood you
can find in a species of sufficient strength. Ask at the wood dealer to
see the "cull" bin.
Other than that, start by deciding on the look you'd like.
If you use slats, sure to attach them to the side rails - I've been
dumped out of bed in the middle of the night when an unattached slat
slipped from a side rail. The current bed frame is metal with a
support in the middle of it.
And remember that kids play under anything that is high enough to
wiggle under. There was a death in the area this week when a group
of kids was playing and jumping on a bed and it collapsed on the
six-year-old girl who was under it. I don't have details on the bed,
just the family.
Apologies if this point has already been made - I've only just seen the latest
Remember to consider how you would dismantle and move the bed if you moved
house. Slats fold up to a
small space, plywood doesn't.
Agree about securing them though. It makes them less liable to snap too, if the
ends are screwed into
a rail on the sides of the bed. Or, since the slats don't have to be great wood,
you could fit enough
of them so there isn't a space between them, making them less liable to shift.
Still easier to move
around than two 6'x3' sheets of plywood.
Given the choice of moving two 6' x 3' sheets of plywood or the
equivalent square footage of slats, all of which are individually
secured to the rails, which do you think would be easier to dismantle,
carry, load, unload, carry again, and reassemble?
As far as taking up space, two 6' x 3' sheets of plywood will fit just
about anywhere in a moving van, pickup truck, mini van, etc.
I put a 1" wide ledge inside the bed rails and dovetail 1/4 oak slats into
the ledge. Easy to move, easy to assemble or disassemble and they stay in
place while being used. The end of the slat is a single dovetail.
I have built a couple of custom units - queen sized platform bed with
drawer banks underneath, and the X-braces turned so they are at 90
degrees instead of 45 degrees, for more usable space and maximum
When I move, the thing that I hate is that the mattress is heavy and
floppy and doesn't have any good way to carry it. Plus it gets dirty
and can tear the cover fabric very easily if you don't wrap it in
plastic. I had the idea of a queen platform bed where the platform
becomes a box to hold the mattress during the move. You can take the
thing into the new room on edge, take the mattress out, set the
platform down, then plop the mattress on top of the platform. The
platform would have to be slightly oversized to accomplish this. Not
sure how that would look.
Bob the Tomato
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