I just finished building a bed for my son and his new bride. They wanted a queen-size, java-colored panel design. Here is the concept drawing:
I decided to use vintage panel doors for this project. Architectural Salvage of San Diego had a good supply in stock. I bought a pair of sturdy 3-panel doors, one 24"x77" ($75.00) and the other 30"x77" ($98):
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
The bed consists of 4 parts, a headboard, a footboard, a frame, and slats to support the mattress. I used the following tools and supplies on this project: compound miter saw, circular saw, hand drill, orbital sander, palm sander, clamps, hammer, Kreg pocket screw jig and accessories, tape measure, ruler, T-square, doors, wood, wood glue, stainable primer, gel stain, lacquer, paste wax, rags, screws, brads, wood putty, and sandpaper.
Here are the lumber and cut lists:
1 - 30"x77" panel door
1 - 24"x77" panel door
2 - 4"x4"x8' (legs)
2 - 1"x6"x69" (headers)
2 - 8' moulding
2 - 1"x10"x83" (side rails)
2 - 2"x6"x8' (side supports)
5 - 2"x4"x8' (cross supports)
10 - 1"x4"x8' (slats)
2 - doors @ 60" 2 - 4x4 @ 56" (headboard legs)
2 - 4x4 @ 26" (footboard legs)
2 - molding @ 69" (fronts)
4 - molding @ 3 1/2" (sides) 2 - 1x6 @ 69" (headers)
2 - 2x10 @ 83" (siderails)
2 - 2x6 @ 83" (side supports)
5 - 2x4 @ 57" (cross supports)
10 - 1x4 @ 83" (slats)
HEADBOARD AND FOOTBOARD
I built the headboard and footboard first. These are their dimensions:
To accommodate the 60-inch-wide queen mattress and the two 3.5-inch-thick legs (that's 67 inches for the math challenged), I first cut 10 inches off the ends of each 77-inch door. I used a circular saw for this, after affixing a 1"x"4" saw guide to the door:
As the photo below shows, the door ends were not symmetrical. But the headboard and footboard are, which meant cutting more off the bottom of each door than the top.
Because I didn't want the finished bed to look like it was made from two old doors, I inserted a wooden block into the lock/door knob cut-out, glued and nailed it in place, and filled in the remaining gaps with wood putty.
After the headboard and footboard were sanded, they were ready to be fitted with legs:
I attached the legs to the headboard with glue and pocket screws. The front of the legs is flush with the headboard's face. The following photos show the back side; the holes were drilled from that side:
Once the legs were attached, the headboard was ready for its header. I positioned the header such that it extended one inch beyond the face and ends of the headboard, and clamped it all together. I again used pocket screws and glue, which would not be visible on the header or the face of the headboard.
Using pre-shaped moulding I bought at a local lumber store, I cut out pieces for the face and sides of the headboard. I attached these using glue and finishing screws. Brads would have worked too, but I wanted to ensure the moulding wouldn't rattle loose for at least a generation or two.
FINISHING THE HEADBOARD, FOOTBOARD, AND SIDERAILS
I planned to use gel stain on the bed, which can be applied over previously painted wood, after a light sanding. But I wanted to ensure not only that the stain properly adhered to and absorbed into the painted surface of the doors, but also that it would look the same on the doors as it looked on the legs and other unfpainted wood surfaces. So I primed the headboard, footboard, and siderails with two coats (one quart) of stainable wood primer. I used SPQT Original Primer by Stainable Primer.
Stainable primer contains tiny particles of sawdust, which absorb the stain. It is thick and viscous, almost like a gel. It is also expensive, setting me back $55 for a quart. But I feel the cost was justified. I experimented by staining the inside of the footboard sans primer (you can't see that side when the mattress is on the bed). The stain did not adhere as well on the untreated surface as on the primed surfaces, and scrapes and chips off more easily.
I next applied Java JQ Gel Stain by General Finishes. One quart was enough for the two coats I put on.
Here're the stained headboard, footboard, and (in the background to the right) siderails:
I attached the brackets' male fittings to each end of the side supports (2"x6"), and then glued and screwed the side supports to the stained/lacquered side rails (1"x10"). These are the only permanently attached parts of the frame. Here are the dimensions of the frame, along with a photo of a side support with side rail and bracket attached:
A 12" mattress will be used on this bed. I positioned the brackets' female fittings high enough on the legs that the top of the mattress will extend 1" above the top edge of the footboard, and 1 3/4" above the bottom edge of the headboard.
The following two photos show how the side supports/side rails attach to the legs:
I next applied paste wax to all the stained/lacquered surfaces. Finally, I laid the ten slats perpendicular across the cross supports, evenly spaced (2 1/2"). I screwed the slats to the end supports (without glue).
Here's the completed bed:
The total cost of materials was about $400. Now I just have to disassemble the bed and drive it to the home of my son and daughter in law!
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