Massive Timbered Platform Bed





Introduction: Massive Timbered Platform Bed

We wanted a modern platform bed made from slab wood about 3" thick. These were impossible to find for purchase without spending many thousands of dollars. So what the heck, it can't be that hard to build a bed frame - right?

As it turned out this was an easy project, only made somewhat more difficult by the weight of the wood I chose to use, which resulted in a bed weighing about 275lb and which I therefore had to build in such a way that it can be easily disassembled for transportation. Next time I will use Port Orford Cedar throughout which is much lighter and should get the weight down enough to make it practical to build this as a non-breakdownable bed.

Step 1: Source Materials and Mark and Cut

I purchased a slab of Eastern Maple already cut into 4 boards from a local yard that specializes in slab wood. I wanted the bed to be an oversize Queen Size with the platform protruding about 6" on each side of the bed. Initially I wanted the foot of the bed to protrude 12". Unfortunately the destination room is too shallow for this but it would have been a nice touch to have been able to use the foot of the bed as a shelf for books or decor items. I had two Port Orford cedar boards left over from another project that I would use for the legs.

After cutting the 4 planks to length I marked and cut the simple Rabbet joints. The lumber was too heavy to risk using a dado blade on my table saw so I cut and chiseled the rabbets with a circular saw. Next time I will have to come up with a quicker and more accurate technique for this step.

Step 2: Layout and Adjust

I then laid out the main structure of the bed and sanded/chiseled the joints to get an acceptable fit. I was not seeking perfection here, and I didn't get it either! I wanted the joints to stand out and to achieve this I think next time I will use a reveal on all joint edges to exaggerate them and at the same time hide any imperfections. After laying it out I cut a 1/2" recess on the two long sides of the frame to accept the slats

Step 3: Assembly

I then assembled the bed frame in situ using appropriately sized carriage bolts through my rabbet joints since I needed to be able to disassemble this frame to move it. I recessed the bolts using a forstner bit in my drill.

With the frame assembled I slid the boards that I was using for legs under the frame. I actually needed to us a couple of bottle jacks to hike the frame up it was so heavy! With the legs in place it was easy to secure them with Lag Screws in recessed holes just like the carriage bolts.

All the hardware at the foot end of the bed frame is visible. I like the idea of the underpinnings of structural items showing through so this was fine for me, but if making for a customer I would probably offer to conceal them with wood plugs.

All that was left to do was to add the slats that will support the mattress. I had previously cut a ledge for them to sit in before assembling the frame. I used raw cedar pickets which in addition to being cheap, are nice and springy and add a wonderful cedar smell to the bedding (at least for the first few months).

Finally I sealed the frame (but not the slats) with a clear and flat sealer.

Step 4:

The finished bed frame with and without mattress.

The frame is so heavy that I installed slippery hard plastic furniture sliders under the legs as it was otherwise impossible to move. After a couple of months I noticed that the cedar slats were starting to sag in the middle of the bed (a concern that I had been monitoring) and I retrofitted a 2X4 longitudinally down the center of the frame which solved the problem.



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    Beautiful Bed! I am planning myown platform bed and was wondering what dimension you used for the length of the lats and then also that longitudinal dimension of the opening for the mattress. Im also doing a QS. Really what Im wondering is if you had any built in overlap of the queen mattress and the bed rails so that you never saw the lats?

    It looks like you used 2 x 12s on the sides and 2 x 10s on the ends. Did you use 2 x 12s for the legs? Thanks.

    1 reply

    No I did not use hardware store standard lumber for this project. I purchased several oversize planks that were cut from slabs from a mill that specializes in milling whole trees and selling large slabs cut from the tree. The slabs I had milled and used for this are around 3-4" thick. You can however make something similar using hardware store lumber. Check out GurubandhuK's comments below for details of how that might work.

    Nice job on the bed.What are the dimensions of the bed?What are the dimensions of the lumber Is it a king or queen size bed? I can't justify the cost or I don't even know where to find that type of wood. I was thinking of using 2x8s and putting 2x6s on top and fasten them together so I would not have to use a router and then putting a 1x2s in the gap to raise it up for the height of the slats. and then using 2 - 2x10s fastened together for each set of legs. Would this work?

    2 replies

    Dimensions of the bed are the size of a QS Mattress size +12 inches on the width and +6 inches on the length. Mattress is QS but if you want to make for a King just adjust appropriately. Note that I was constricted on the length of the bed due to size of room. If you have the room for it I would consider increasing the overhang at the foot of the bed to, say 12", which would allow you to use that space for something decorative, a folded blanket or such. If you use standard 2X6 & 2X8 you will have a visible "seam" running the length of the frame because that lumber comes with rounded edges. If you are OK with that then yes it will work just fine. Good luck with your project!

    Allan, Thanks for the information..I did think about the seam I may sand it a bit to hide it or maybe put a 1 x 2 on the seam. Thanks.


    One of the best instructables I've seen lately. very good project. thank you very much for sharing!

    Amazing work :) ty for sharing:)

    Good Stuff . The sagging is always a problem and the answer is a support down the middle. To retain a good sleeping feel the mattress is the important bit . Get 6 inch high density foam . not the cheap stuff . This will then keep your back in good shape right through to your eighties which i can attest to.

    Never had a back problem once I got used to sleeping flat and I lift heavy stuff all the time . If you have a banana style sagging mattress ,hammock style it will take some months getting used to this style but its definitely worth it in the long term

    1 reply

    Thanks for your comments! We were sleeping on the floor prior to this, on the same mattress. With the center support I can say that this provides a little more springiness than the floor, and is firm as we like it. The mattress is about 12" with a thick pillow top which has been our preference for years. Love it!

    Awesome work!

    Love the design. I'm going to make one with my kids.

    Great bed and beautiful design. I love the large slab wood. Thanks so much for sharing

    1 reply

    Thanks! The wall was fun and super easy. I used engineered wood flooring, liquid nails and a panel nailer. It went up easy and really we were so happy with the look that we did a concave ceiling with the same treatment (ripped the flooring to reduce the width of the planks). THanks again.

    Gorgeous wood and design. Love the wall behind it too.