Introduction: King-size Platform Bed
Hello, and thanks for taking a look at my first Instructable! Last November I got married and my wife was interested in getting a new bed for us. I started entertaining the idea of building my own but wasn't sure on the style I wanted until I saw an old post on a woodworking forum "Lumberjocks." As soon as I saw the design by "Silverhalo" (link here: http://www.lumberjocks.com/projects/22165 ) I was inspired and knew I wanted to use a similar idea for our bed.
My goal for this Instructable is to allow someone with very little woodworking experience to create their very own bed frame. I don't have a lot of experience myself, but this bed was very rewarding and I love sleeping on it each night. It was very fun but had some challenges as well, so I hope you enjoy it and please share if you make it yourself!
The bed frame, excluding the headboard, cost me less than $110 to build.
Tools/Materials I used are listed below. Notice the comments following an item if I believe you could build this bed without that tool or with an alternative:
• Table saw (Could use circular saw with guide and experience)
• Miter saw
• Jigsaw (Could use a bandsaw or if you were very determined, a hammer and chisel)
• Cordless drill and assorted bits
• Chisel (Could get by with large flat screwdriver)
• Various 1/4" Hex bolts/screws
• 1/4" T-Nuts ( https://www.google.com/search?q=t+nuts&safe=active... )
• Router (Unnecessary, for looks only)
• Glue (Could use all screws)
• Lumber (details later!)
Some of the steps to this project are complex and will be broken into multiple steps for this guide. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with questions, comments or edits - I'd love your feedback and would be glad to answer your questions.
Step 1: Understand the Corner Design
My favorite part about this bed is the unique corners. They are fit together in a way that the rails interlock inside the post and provide a strong joint. The height of the bed did cause a little movement so I added corner braces (more on that later). Take a look at the photos and comments to understand the corner design and I will walk you through how to build it in step four.
Note that my each of my posts were built out of a 2x6 first ripped to 4-1/2" wide, then cut to two different lengths and glued together. (More on this in step four!) This yields a 4-1/2" square post when it's all said and done.
Step 2: Determine Frame Dimensions
I spent a lot of time drawing out dimensions for this bed. I was building it before I bought the mattress so I was just working with dimensions. I'll make some notes in the images about what I would change if I built this again. My mattress dimensions are 76" W x 80" L x 10" H. The frame I built is almost perfect for width, but I built it just a bit too long - the gap between the mattress and the headboard is wider than we'd like it to be.
Overall, as a general rule, I'd suggest that the outside edge distance between your bedrails (NOT INCLUDING ANY OVERHANGS) should be 2 inches wider than the width and the same length as your mattress. For a kingsize bed, that puts the outside dimension of the side rails at 78" and head/foot rails at 80" (Note: My build is 81" and it's just a bit too long!)
Since my wife already had a headboard picked out, I had to match the frame height to the headboard height - but as a general rule, your bed surface should sit around 26" off the ground.
I wanted the rails to have a slight overhand coming out of the posts - enough to be noticeable and be visually appealing, but not enough to be a shin/knee buster (OUCH!). After mocking up several ideas in the garage, I settled on a symmetrical 1-1/2" overhang on all sides except where the headboard will be.
All of the above commentary boils down to the following overall dimensions:
- Side Rails: 86" (Although in hindsight, I'd recommend 84-1/2"
- Head and Foot Rails: 84"
Alright - You've made it this far so now it's time for the fun stuff; let's buy some lumber and build a bed!
Step 3: Buy Your Lumber!
Unfortunately I didn't snap a photo of all my lumber in the back of my wife's Camry, but believe it or not, I got all this home in one load! :)
Here's a pick-list you can use if you're building a king-size frame like mine! Pay attention to the comments for alternative options! Most of this would still apply for a queen-size frame, but you may be able to get away with less for a twin.
2 - 2"x6" x 8' (My cost: $3.42 each)
4 - 2"x8" x 8' (My cost: $6.08 each)
1 - 2"x4" x 8' (My cost: $2.05 each) (Also, could use two 2"x2" x 8 ft boards)
1 - 2"x4" x 8' (My cost: $2.05 each)
1 - 4"x4" x 15" (I had scraps, no cost) (Also, you could use two pieces of a 2x4 glued together - this is not visible)
10 - 1"x4" x 8' (My cost: $2.86 each) (Also, you could use 2x4's for these and adjust the position to compensate for extra thickness)
2 - 2"x4" x 8' (My cost: $2.05 each) (or 1 2x4x10')
Overall Lumber Purchase List:
2 - 2"x6" x 8'
4 - 2"x8" x 8'
4 - 2"x4" x 8'
1 - 4"x4" x 15"
10 - 1"x4" x 8'
Estimated total cost (before tax): $67.96
*Note that my cart only has two 2x4's because I had some at home!
Step 4: Build the Posts.
Now for the fun part... Let's build some posts!!
I originally planned to built my posts out of 4"x4" posts and cut them to allow for the rails to slide in and interlock. I quickly realized three things, though:
- 4" x 4" posts are actually only 3-1/2" by 3-1/2" and that's a bit too small for a bed post.
- I don't have the right tools for this approach (No band saw)
- I don't have enough skill for this approach without the right tools!
These three things put me back to the drawing board. I decided I needed to have these posts be semi-symmetrical so I decided to go with a 4-1/2" square post. This design will allow 1-1/2" on each side of the rail, and the rail will fill in the other 1-1/2" of the post. To help you build these, I'll break this down into sub-steps below:
- Miter saw (Alternative: Circular saw can be if you're careful and experienced)
- Table saw (Alternative: Circular saw can be if you're careful and experienced)
- Jigsaw (Alternative: band saw)
- Clamps or weight if using glue (Alternative: Drill and screws)
- 2 - 2x6x8'
Step 1: Cut your boards to length
The posts are built with three boards, cut to two different lengths and then laminated together. As you can see in the photos, they are labeled part "A" and part "B." Their lengths are as follows:
- Part "A" is 16" long
- Part "B" is 8-3/4" long
I recommend using a speed square to ensure your saw cuts a straight cut, but it's not required!
Step 2: Rip cut your boards to width
As I mentioned before, these posts are 4-1/2" square. A standard 2x6 is actually 5-1/2" wide, so I needed to make these boards an inch narrower.
To do this, I used my table saw and set my fence to be 4-1/2" away from my blade. Make sure you measure to the inside edge of the blade so you don't cut off too much. Also, I advocate for using a push block whenever you're ripping short boards.
*Note! If you don't have a table saw, you can do this with a circular saw. Clamp the boards to a work bench with one edge hanging over. Place a guide on the board for the circular saw to follow and cut. If you're not comfortable with your use of a circular saw, do not attempt this!*
Step 3: Cut the slots in each Part "A"
This is by far the most challenge part of the post construction - and maybe the whole bed construction! Each part "A" needs to have a piece cut out of middle that measures 1-1/2" wide by 7-1/4" long. (NOTE! If you don't have a table saw, I recommend changing this 7-1/4" cut to whatever the actual width of your 2x8 is!) I completed cheated when I cut these, but since the posts are glued together, this method is acceptable. Read all the way through before you start!
- Set your table saw fence to 1-1/2" and set the blade to the maximum height.
- Make a mark on your part "A" at 7-1/4" (As noted above, if you don't have or want to use your table saw, you can modify this 7-1/4" cut to be the same as the width of your 2x8) (This will be called the "cut line" for the rest of this step)
- Using the fence as a guide, cut part "A" until the blade just barely touches the cut line you marked.
- Repeat 8 times for all part "A" pieces
Once you have done this, you need to cut the groove out of the other side as well:
- Set your fence to 2-7/8" (This is because for this cut, your blade will take 1/8" out of your material making it a 3" cut)
- Using the fence as a guide and keeping the same side of the board down as you did above, cut until the blade touches your cut line.
- Repeat 8 times for all part "A" pieces.
Notice that on one side of your board the cuts stop at exactly 7-1/4"? This is our "GOOD SIDE" and will be referenced as such from here on out. If you flip the board over, you'll see that the saw actually cut further and it goes beyond 7-1/4" - but that's okay! Since these posts are laminated together and a board goes in the grooves, we can put the over-cut side towards the middle and it will never show!
Now that you used the table saw to make the two long cuts, it's time to pull out the jigsaw and remove the wood. The best way I found to do this was by clamping the board with the "GOOD SIDE" up to my workbench and slowly and carefully cutting out the piece. You should be able to do it in three cuts:
- Pick a spot about two inches from the cut line and then work the saw at a gentle angle towards the left corner.
- Pick a spot about halfway through your last cut and head from the left side to the right corner.
- Clean up the final piece with the jigsaw - this cut should follow your 7-1/4" cut line.
Check out the pictures to see how I cut my pieces out.
Step 4: Glue your piece to form a post!
Generously apply wood glue to the back side of two part "A" pieces. Use a piece of scrap wood or your finger to smooth the glue a bit so it doesn't squeeze out all over the place. Sandwich a part "B" piece between your two glued part "A" pieces and apply clamping pressure as seen in the photo. I recommend using a block to squeeze so you don't put marks on your finished pieces!
As you tighten your clamps you may need to adjust the pieces a bit to fix any sliding or movement that happened as you tightened the clamps. As you can see in the picture, I put a piece of scrap in between the posts when I clamped, just to prevent any unwanted movement.
Clamp for at least an hour before removing the pressure.
Congratulations, you've just built your posts! Now, onto the bed rails!
Step 5: Cut and Fit Bed Rails
The next step is to get your rails cut and fit, woohoo! This part was also a bit challenging, but still plenty of fun. As we determined early on, we're going to cut our head and foot rails to 84" long and the side rails to 86 inches. *NOTE: I cut my side rails to 86 inches, but I highly recommend going to 84.5" for a kingsize mattress to fit a bit better.
Once we have these cut to length, we then need to cut spots in the boards so they can interlock inside the bed posts. The side rails will go in place on top of the head/foot rails.
- Miter/Circular saw
- Table saw (optional)
- Jig saw
- 4 - 2x8x8'
Step 1: Cut to Length
Grab your 2x8 boards and cut two of them to 84" and two of them to 86" (or 84.5" if you're following the alternate).
Step 2: Rip cut to Width (Optional)
Once you have these cut to length, set your table saw to 7-1/4" and rip them to get a perfect width. If in the last step you decided to have your posts be the width of the 2x8 rather than 7-1/4", you can skip this step.
Step 3: Mark your cuts
In order for the rails to interlock properly, we need to take a 1-1/2" wide cut out of the bottom edge of the side rails and the top edge of the head/foot rail. The cuts should be exactly as deep as half of the board thickness. If you ripped your boards to 7-1/4" above, that means your cuts need to be 3-5/8" deep. Take a look at the photos for an example of what the marks should look like. Once you understand the cuts, place them in the following places on your boards:
- Head rail: Mark your cuts 3 inches in from each end
- Foot rail: Mark your cuts 3 inches in from each end
- Side rails: On one end, mark your cut 3 inches from the end, on the other end, your cut should be 1-1/2" from the end to allow the headboard to mount.
Step 4: Make the cuts
Similar to the last step, the best way to make these cuts it to clamp the board to a work surface and use your jigsaw. I recommend using an edge guide of some kind to make the two straight cuts, then follow the same process as the post cuts to remove the middle piece. (See photos for an example of the guide I used).
Step 6: Check for a Good Fit
Before we go much farther, we better make sure everything fits!
- Start with two posts and the foot rail as shown in the picture.
- Do the same thing with the headrail - place it in an approximately correct location
- From there, you can set one end of the side rail in place and move things around to fit it in place.
- Place your last side rail and check for fit!
A couple notes here....
- First of all, you can see in my picture that I have too big of an overhang on the top right corner. Unfortunately, that's not because the board is too long - it's because I cut my groove in the wrong spot :( Off to the store for another 2x8!
- If you have a VERY tight fit (required you to hammer or pound in place) you're going to want to sand with a coarse grit to remove some thickness from the rails. Once we apply finish, and humidity becomes a factor, this wood will swell more and we don't want a post to break!
The fit can be challenging! Take your time and don't force anything - I broke a rail trying to force it in place. If it's tight, SAND don't POUND!
Step 7: Add Slat Support to Side-rails
Now that you know you have a good fit, we need to attach some supports to the side rails. These supports will hold the slats, which will hold the mattress! The supports need to be strong and straight. I decided to use a 2x4 ripped down to 1-1/2" but you can use a 2x2 if you don't have a table saw. Here's how I did it:
- Miter/circular saw
- Table saw (optional)
- Drill with various bits
- 2x4x8' (Or two 8' 2x2s)
- Wood glue
- Wood screws
Step 1: Cut the 2x4 to length
*I apologize for no picture on this step*
We know we don't need a support for the whole length of the bed rail because of the posts. At the foot of the bed, we have a 1-1/2" overhang and a 4-1/2" post. On the headboard side, we don't have the overhang just the 4-1/2" post. That totals 10-1/2" of non-support space. Let's call it 11" and give ourselves a little room to work.
Whatever the length of your bedrails, cut your 2x4 to 11 inches shorter. For my project, my rails were 86" which means my support 2x4 was cut to 75" in length.
Step 2: Rip the 2x4 to 1-1/2"
If you're using a 2x2 for this you can skip to step 3. If you're using a 2x4, set your fence to 1-1/2" and run your board through. After you make your first cut, run the piece you cut off through to ensure you have two identical pieces. As I said earlier, use a push stick for ripping narrow cuts on your table saw.
Step 3: Mark support position
Do this step for each of your side rails.
There are two positions we need to get right - vertical and horizontal.
We know the 1x4 boards we bought are going to be 3/4" thick, so that's how far below the top of the rail we want to put the support piece. Using a tape measure, place marks 3/4" from the top of the rail along it's length. These marks will help you position the support in place for the next step.
For side to side alignment, we just need to take into consideration where the posts will be. The foot side of the bed needs a 6" clearance for posts, so place a mark at 6-1/4" to be save. This will be the mark for one end of the support. On the headboard side, we only need 4-1/2" of clearance so place a mark 4-3/4" from the edge of the rail. We gave ourselves a little room to work.
The supports you cut should be able to fit between the end marks you made, and rest right along the 3/4" marks from the top of the rail. If something doesn't fit quite right, now is the time to adjust your cuts!
Step 4: Glue and Clamp
Do this step for each of your side rails.
Apply an even bead of glue along the cut edge of one your your supports. Then place it glue side down so that the top edge of the support lines up with the marks you placed on your rails (see photo). Once you have the rail where you want it, start applying some clamping pressure on both ends and in the middle. You may need to adjust the support as you go to make sure it is in position.
Step 5: Pre-Drill and Screw
Do this step for each of your side rails.
I didn't want to rely only on glue to hold the support pieces on (even thought I'm sure it would have been fine). Once I had the supports clamped in place, I used a 1/16" (eventually 1/8" after I broke a screw) bit to pre-drill holes every 16 inches or so. You do more or less, it's really up to you.
After pre-drilling, I used 2-1/4" trim head screws to attach the supports to the rails. If you don't have trim head screws and you can't get the screws to go all the way in, you may need to counter-sink them a bit so they are flush. It's hidden after the mattress is in place, but I like to do things to the best of my ability!
Step 8: Install Center Support
Another important piece to the integrity of the bed is the center support. Unless we used some crazy slat supports, we need a center support to keep the bed from sagging or, worse yet, breaking. The center support is a pretty east piece to install if you follow these instructions (done twice, once for the head and once for the foot rails):
- Miter/Circular saw
- 4x4 Scrap (14" or so)
- 2 - 1/4" T-Nut
- 2 - 1/4" Flat head bolts (I used hex head)
Step 1: Mark center support location on head and foot rails
On both the head and foot rail, you need to draw out exactly where the center support will go. Basically, the mark is the end of a 2x4 placed 3/4" from the top of the rail and centered in the rail from each end. See the photo for step by step instructions on how to draw this. Do a double-check with a piece of 2x4 to make sure your marks are the right size.
Step 2: Create the end support pieces
I used some extra scrap 2x2 for this, but you can use just about any scrap you have from this project. Just use your table saw and rip it down to 2x2, or leave it as is. My support is made of one long bottom piece that will bear the weight, and two side pieces that are completely unnecessary but are aesthetically pleasing. You do not need to install sides because we will screw the support in place, but here are the steps to follow my design:
Step 2.1: Cut
For my design, the bottom piece was a total of 7-1/2" long, and each side piece was cut to be 1-7/8" long. Once I had those pieces cut, I laid them out on the board to make sure the center support would fit between them.
Step 2.2: Glue
Once you determine that they are sized properly, apply some glue to the surfaces and clamp them to form one pice. Allow this to set up for about 30 minutes.
Step 2.3: Glue and Screw
After you let your glue set up, you can attach the support pieces to the head and foot rails. Just line up your opening with the marks you place on the boards, apply some glue and clamp in place. While the clamps hold your piece in place, use a 1/8" drill bit to pre-drill some holes and screw the support in place.
Step 3: Install Center Floor Support
We need to install a floor support to transfer the mattress (and person) load down to the floor without breaking the supports. This step is pretty straight forward. You need to first determine where you want the bolts to go in your center support, mark the location of those supports on the post and support, then drill! That's about it!
Step 3.1: Cut Center 2x4
Your center support needs to fit between the head and foot rail, but doesn't need to be an insanely tight fit. I cut mine about an 1/4" short to allow movement. For a kingsize bed, the distance inside the head and foot rail is right around 78", so I cut my support at 77-3/4" for a relaxed fit.
Step 3.2: Cut post to length
If you're using a 4x4 post, now is the time to cut it to the right length. Put the center support you just cut in place and measure from the ground up to the bottom of the 2x4. This measurement is exactly the length you need to cut your post.
If you're not using a 4x4 post, now is a great time to glue two 2x4 scraps together to use a a center post. Once you have them glued, cut them to length as described above.
Step 3.3: Mark bolt location on post.
For my setup, I chose to put two bolts in the posts, set 1" in from both sides. I used a simple grid pattern to mark the location of the holes.
Step 3.4: Mark Holes on 2x4 Support
Mark the center of your 2x4 center support in the lengthwise direction - it should be 38-7/8" if you're following my dimensions. Once you have it marked, place your post in the center of the support and trace it onto the board.
After you have the post traced, place marks in the same location (1" from each side) as you did on the post in step 3.
Using a drill bit the same or slightly larger than your bolts (probably 1/4" bit with a little wiggling while drilling), carefully and straightly drill through the 2x4 at the marks you made.
Step 3.5: Install T-Nuts
My 1/4" T-Nuts require a 5/16" hole to install. Yours may vary, so just check your drill bit size before you go too crazy! To install a T-Nut, use the appropriate size drill and carefully (and STRAIGHTLY) drill the holes you marked. Do not worry about going too deep as it will allow you to screw the bolt in as far as you need. Once you have the holes drilled, insert the end of the T-nut in place and tap with a hammer until the teeth dig into your post. I added a small amount of epoxy to mine for safe measure, but this is not required.
Step 3.6: Bolt together
Place the post under the 2x4, line up the holes with the T-Nuts and start screwing the bolts in until they are tight.
Step 9: Add Corner Braces for Support
I have to start off this step with an apology! These corner braces were added as somewhat of an afterthought once I felt some front-to-back movement in the assembled bet. Because of the after-thought, I did not do a great job documenting the process - but I will do my best to explain with pictures and text.
If I'm going to build a bed, I want to do it right. I didn't want to just screw in some braces that looked unfinished or unprofessional, so I needed a design that fit the style. I settled on mounting one side of the post to the inside of the rail, and the other end would bolt into the face of of the post, as shown in the first picture.
Here's my best attempt at instructions for this step:
- 2 - 2x4x8' (or one 2x4x10')
- Miter Saw
- Drill with various bits
- Chisel or screw driver
Step 1: Cut 2x4s to length
My corner braces are each 27 inches long. We'll be cutting angles on each end, but the overall length needed is just 27" for each corner. Cut four 27" long 2x4's now.
Step 2: Cut brace angles
Since our braces are going to form the hypotenuse of a right triangle (ooh geometry!) we need our angles to add up to 90 degrees. Since you already cut your board to length, these angle cuts should be very simple. Check out my picture to see what I mean by having the blade just barely intersecting the corner of the board.
First set your miter saw to 30 degrees. Line up your boards so that the saw blade intersects with the corner of the board. You should be cutting off a very small triangle of wood. Do this for all four braces. *** Important: The cut should not make the board any shorter!***
Next, set up your saw for 60 degrees. You need to make sure the angles are perpendicular to each other, not parallel (As seen in the photo). Just as before, line up your saw so that the blade intersects with the corner of the board and cut. ***Important: Just as before, this should not make the board any shorter!***
You should now have four corner braces that are 27 inches long and have a 30 and 60 degree angle cut on the ends.
Important Disclaimer! I wanted my entire bed to be taken apart many times without damaging the wood and stripping screws. If you don't have this desire, you can avoid many of the steps below and just use wood screws or lag bolts to fasten the brace directly to the bed frame. The choice is yours!
Step 3: Drill a hole
Originally I had planned to put two screws/bolts on each end of the brace, but because of poor drilling and poor planning, I ended up with only one bolt going into the posts and two going into the rail. This was probably the most challenging part of the whole project for me.
Step 3.1: Mark boards
Turn your boards so their short side is down (long side up) and the 30 degree angle is in front of you. Measure and place a line at 2-5/8" across all the braces (I only show two in the picture).
Once you have the line at 2-5/8", also place a mark intersecting that one at 3/4" (half of the board thickness).
Step 3.2: Use a chisel/screw driver to create a ledge
In the next step (3.3) we're going to drill a hole through our board so it comes out of the bottom at a 90 degree angle. That means we need to drill straight through the board as shown by the line in the picture. The best way to do this is to stand the brace up on the 30 degree angle end and drill straight down - but that can be problematic because the drill bit doesn't want to bite but would rather slide around.
The way I fixed this was by using a chisel or flat screwdriver to create a small "ledge" in the board for the drill bit to hit as you drill down through the board.
Step 3.3: Drill the holes
Now that you've created a small ledge for the bit to rest on, stand the board up on it's end and carefully drill straight through the board. If you have a drill press, now is a good time to use it. Mine was too short and the board couldn't fit, so I did mine by hand using a 1/4" drill bit. ***Have a friend hold the board while you drill - it will make it much easier to keep the drill straight! ***
Step 4: Secure brace to post
For this step, put the corner brace in place and use a clamp to hold it to the side rail. You should now have a hole drilled through the side of the brace that is against the post.
Step 4.1: Drill hole in post
Using the same size drill bit you did on the brace (1/4"), and using the hole in the brace as a guide, drill into the post approximately two inches (doesn't need to be precise).
Once you have your 1/4" hole in the post, grab a 5/16" drill bit and expand the hole in the post, NOT the brace. You should now have a 5/16" hole in the post.
Step 4.2: Install T-Nut in Post
Now that you have a 5/16" hole, you can install a T-Nut into the post. As mentioned during the center post construction, I used a dab of epoxy to ensure the T-Nut didn't come out over time.
Step 5: Secure brace to rail
Step 5.1: Drill through brace and rail
Keeping the clamps in place from the last step and using a 1/4" drill bit, select two spots similar to the photo and drill through the brace and into the side rail. Be careful not to drill all the way through the side rail. Use a drill stop, or duct tape, at around 2-1/2" inches to get the right depth.
Step 5.2: Install T-Nut into rail
Remove the clamps and the brace. Just like we did in the post, we need to expand the 1/4" holes in the rail to be 5/16" for the T-Nut. Once you have done that you can install the T-Nuts just as we have done in other steps.
Step 5.3: Fasten to post
Using a 3-1/2" long 1/4" screw, fasten the brace to the newly installed post T-Nut
Step 5.4: Fasten to rail
Using a 2-1/4" long (or similar) 1/4" bolt and a washer, fasten the brace to the side rail. Don't over-tighten the screws if you didn't use epoxy on the T-Nuts.
Step 10: Cut Slats to Length
- Miter/Circular saw
- 10 - 1x4x8'
I apologize that I don't have any pictures for this step. It's pretty darn simple though! The spacing between the insides of the side rails is 75" (definitely check yours to be sure!) but we don't want to have to hammer our slats in place. Take each of your 1x4s and cut them to 74-7/8" to allow for a nice fit without having to fight it. Step complete :)
Step 11: Add Spacers to Side Rail Supports.
There's not a lot of science involved in this step - it's pretty simple! We need something attached to the support pieces that act as spaces for the slats. You have several options here and you can get creative, but I'll tell you what I did. If you don't have access to a nailer, you can use glue and clamps (and patience) or you can use small screws with pre-drilled holes.
Using the cut off scrap from the slats in the previous step:
Step 1: Rip to Width
Set your table saw to approximately 3/4" and cut your 1x4 scrap into thin strips. You should get about 4 strips out of each board and you need to cut until you have 6 strips (should only take two pieces of scrap).
Step 2: Cut to Length
I used 4" spacing for all but one board in my bed. Take your scraps strips to your miter saw and cut them into four inch pieces. Cut as many out of each piece as you can (careful with your fingers) - you'll need a total of 18 four inch pieces.
Step 3: Install slats and spacers
For this step, you need two small pieces of cardboard or something else that can be used as a thin and temporary spacer to give you a little wiggle room (sugar packets, piece of wire, butter knife, etc). Starting at the headboard side:
- Put one slat in tight to the headboard posts
- Place a 4" spacer on the support on both rails right next to the slat
- Insert your temporary spacer between the slat and your wooden spacer, then nail the wood in place (red arrows in photo show where the temporary spacer should be placed).
- You now have a secured spacer. Place another slat tight against the wood spacer you just installed and repeat steps 2 - 4 until you're done.
*Note that your very last spacer will need to be cut to fit in place since it won't work out to be exactly 4 inches.
*Also note that you need to make sure to do the same thing on both sides of the bed, otherwise the slats will be crooked.
Step 12: Drill Holes for Headboard (Optional)
I'm not going to spend much time on this step because it's going to vary by the style and size of headboard you use. For my project, I just centered the headboard along the frame, drilled a small hole through the existing threaded holes for reference, then used the right size drill bit to drill through the post.
Once I had a small hole for the bolt, I used a large spade bit to get a 3/4" hole that allowed me to install the hex head metric bolt and a washer. I tightened this as tight as I could to prevent headboard movement.
Step 13: Take It Apart and Finish It!
I won't go into specific finishing details here, but you can ask me if you have any questions!
I took the entire bed apart and sanded every visible surface to 220 grit. I also used a powered sander to ease the corners so they weren't sharp and unsightly. After sanding, I used a 45 degree chamfer router bit to put a nice edge on the posts and then touched it up with 220 sandpaper.
Once I was happy with my raw wood characteristics, I used a Minwax Dark Walnut stain to treat every visible surface. Once my stain was dry, I used 4 coats of Minwax Satin Polycryllic.
Step 14: Set It Up!
I didn't take a lot of pictures during the set up, but it's pretty self explanatory :) You've had it set up in your garage or shop a few times now, so just take it apart and move it into position and re-assemble the whole thing!
If you have questions about this set-up, please ask and I'll do my best to help!