Instructables
Picture of Loft Bed from reclaimed lumber
Photo123.jpg
Photo124.jpg
Photo127.jpg
i have a friend whose place of business has tons of throw-away lumber every week. I started collecting this lumber for this loft bed project. i love working with reclaimed lumber for several reasons:
(1) price! (FREE!!!)
(2) Easy on the environment - RECYCLE!!! GREEN! GREEN! GREEN!
(3) reclaimed lumber is usually "distressed" and i think that produces a more unique and aesthetically pleasing piece.
(4) Did i mention price? the lumber i scored were all 2x6x8 and they cost at least $4 each in home depot. i reclaimed over 30 boards - that's $120!


What's needed:
safety gear:
- eye protection
- gloves (to minimize splinters)
- close-toed shoes (things fall)
- respirator (not always)
- nothing loose fitting (to reduce snags)

tools:
- drill
- screwdrivers and/or screwdriver bits for drill
- dremel or similar (optional, but very useful)
- circular saw
- compound miter saw (optional, but is much faster than a circular saw)
- drill bits - i used 1/8inch and 1/4inch primarily
- wood chisels 
- block plane (optional)
- wood sander
- tape measure, yard ruler, & combination square
- several clamps - the more the merrier. i use 3 clamps that have a 4.5 inch mouth and one clamp with a 12 inch mouth, but i wish i had more, and bigger.

supplies:
- wood - i used (as noted above) 2x6x8 unfinished pine (reclaimed). i know a loft bed can be made with 2x4's but in my view, that would require more wood in order to make it stable, so i would rather go with 2x6's

- - i also purchased 2x2x8's - two of them. they were construction grade (not finished grade) which makes them cheaper - only $1.52 each

- screws - i bought 2 pounds of screws (2 boxes), size 2.5 inch long (2 and 1/2 inches) phillips head (each box cost about $8). i've tried the more exotic head screws before (hex, square, torx, etc.), but the bit usually wears out too quickly and the screws rarely hold much better. yes, phillips head bits wear out just as quickly, but they're much cheaper to replace. the length is important - yes, they're more $$$, but a "2x" (two-by) board is actually 1.5 inches thick, and you need the extra 1 inch to grab the other board. i did not buy simple drywall screws - i spent a little extra $$ (about another $2 per box) to get the screws that resist rust. soft woods tend to streak nails and screws, and the rust resistant helps prevent this. final note: screws don't wiggle loose as fast as nails, so i use screws, but nails are MUCH cheaper and quicker - especially with a nail gun. if you choose to, you can substitute nails everywhere i use screws.

- bolts - if you build the loft bed in the room it will stay, then the bolts aren't necessary. BUT - even in that case, bolts are able to produce a much more sturdy frame, since they can snug 2 pieces of wood together much tighter than a screw. i bought 24 carriage bolts and 24 flat washers, lock washers and nuts to go with them. i selected the carriage bolt because its head is smooth so it won't snag the bedding, and also, the head is larger than a hex bolt, thus reducing the need for another washer (washers are required because soft wood like pine compresses too easily, and a washer spreads out the force onto a larger area of wood). the size of bolt i used was 1/4 inch in diameter and 3.5 inch length. they all cost me about $8 (bolts, nuts, flat washers, & lock washers). be frugal here - if you find other cheaper bolts that can do the job, then get those. keep in mind that sometimes what you want could be packaged differently and may be much cheaper. this happened in my case. the washers and nuts were crazy expensive if bought individually, but i found an odd little package designed for another purpose that had what i wanted for less. i bought the bolts individually.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
chudson83 years ago
is this a full size? & if not would you know the measurements?
poza (author)  chudson83 years ago
no, this is a twin sized loft bed. full size mattresses are usually about 48 inches wide (approximately). you can get precise measurements by taking a tape measure to a mattress store or perhaps this info is on the net somewhere.
poza (author) 3 years ago
It's been 6 weeks and i can say that this loft bed design is extremely sturdy. after constant climbing up and down on it by my football player sized teenager son, it does not creak or shift. i expected a few creaky sounds when climbing on it, but this thing does not utter a peep. my son loves it!
skiedra3 years ago
Well written intructable. Thanks for the ideas!
poza (author)  skiedra3 years ago
thanks!
patron_zero3 years ago
Back in my college days a lot of beer and pizza money was generated from scavenging and assembling similar furniture, from a set of 'master plans' we produced matching style chairs, sofas and various sized tables.

Excellent plan, thanks for sharing !
poza (author)  patron_zero3 years ago
thanks for the praise!
big65mopar3 years ago
A design flaw thats more a safety issue is with the bolts sticking out. For around $10 you can buy a recess bit package and make recess holes in the wood so that the bolts can be shorter to keep people from catching themselves on them. Use carriage bolts that have smooth domed heads on a non recessed side and place the retaining nut into the recess being sure that you made a large enough hole to get a socket into to tighten the nut on the bolt.
poza (author)  big65mopar3 years ago
hi! thanks for your comment! i wouldn't consider that a design flaw - just a cost saving measure. i thought of using recessed holes, but i was reluctant to thin out the wood at a focal point where all the forces are acting on the structure - since yellow pine is a soft wood, i was afraid it would weaken the joint too much. about the only solution i came up with was buying some cap nuts to cover the exposed thread, but since i don't have young children running around in my house, i considered that to be a safety measure i could do without.
big65mopar poza3 years ago
You can use a washer behind the the retaining nut to increase the strength and you don't have to go deeper then the height of the nut itself. Take a look around at the two top builders of wood loft beds and they use recessed holes for the nuts on the adult sized beds as well and use hard wood as well as plywood. Send me a private message and I'll send you the url for one of them to look over.
poza (author)  big65mopar3 years ago
oh, thanks, but i like my design. i think it gives the bed an "industrial aesthetic". besides, what would be the fun in doing things the same way everybody else does them? much appreciated though! :-)
Good job well done.
I love to see people using reclaimed & salvaged timber.
I am with you on the sources many companies are glad to see the back of what they see as waste material; I used to run an air conditioning company & we built all our outside storage area from crates the kit was delivered in & timber salvaged from sites we worked on.
It's amazing how much gets thrown away in our society even now.
I must say however that pallets are very useful for certain applications, I have used many of them for garden projects the trick is to keep the deconstruction to a minimum we have a huge decked area that is entirely made from pallets & looks great , back in the 80's I built a 20" x 15" workshop with my brother in law from 3"x3" & 6"x3" pallets; all we had to buy were nails, coach bolts & hinges, it' is still there now & is used daily.
I look forward to seeing other projects from you.
poza (author)  Nostalgic Guy3 years ago
thanks for the praise!