Step 2: Bed Frame Construction
I started by laying out and cutting the top rails of the frame out of 2 x 4's. The piece towards the inside of the bed is cut shorter and has a half-lap joint cut out of its end. The half-lap is to accept a plywood panel that will continue the remaining length of the bed. The plywood is used to mount the inner drawer slide for the end drawers. To make the half-lap joint, I set the blade depth on my circular saw to 3/4". I then made a series of cross cuts on the board spaced about 1/8" apart. I then used a hammer and chisel to remove the remaining wood and smooth the surface of the joint. It would have been easier to use one continuous piece of plywood the length of the bed, instead of the 2 x 4's, but I didn't want to purchase any more wood than I had too. A lot of the wood I had left over from previous projects.
Next I cut the plywood panels to size. I used my table saw to rip the plywood to size. Since I'm working alone, I set up my work tables to help support the plywood sheets as I run them through the saw. I cut one floor piece 30" ( half the total bed width) by 25", which is the depth of the end drawers. I cut three vertical pieces 14" high by 28 1/2" for side drawer dividers and one piece 14' by 25" for the center end wall piece.
First I glued and screwed the end wall piece to the floor piece. Then I cut notches out of the side wall pieces to accept the 2x4 top rails. I fastened a side wall / drawer divider to the floor piece. Once secured, I positioned the floor section on the base frame and screwed it in place temporarily with two screws. The inside top rail went on next, I glued and screwed the half-lap joint to the corresponding plywood panel. I supported the opposite end of the top rail with a chunk of 2x4 . Then I installed a 2x4 cross member in place adjacent to the plywood sidewall . I used screws to fasten the cross member to the sidewall as well as the top rails. I then positioned the outer top rail and fastened it to the cross member. I attached a 2x4 cross member to the rails at the head end of the bed. Instead of a plywood panel at the head of the bed, I used a 2x4 frame secured with scrap pieces of plywood for gussets. I drilled pilot holes in the ends of the top rails where the cross members are fastened to prevent the boards from splitting. I also attached a 2-1/2" strip of plywood to the side edge of the plywood floor piece. This piece provides a surface for the lower edge of the finished panel to be fastened to.
The next thing I did was install a plywood floor piece running the remaining length of the bed frame, I used 3/4" plywood ripped to 12" wide. I really just need the plywood along the outer edges of the bed to support the lower edges of the drawer dividers. I fastened a scrap of plywood to the underside of the floor piece to help secure it to the floor section already in place. Then I installed the remaining 2x4 cross members between the top rails . I positioned them adjacent to the locations of the drawer divider panels. Next I installed the drawer dividers, which also needed to have notches cut out to accept the outer top rails. I screwed the panels to the cross members and also through the floor panel. I spaced the drawer dividers to allow room for two, 20" wide drawers. About 13" of space is remaining at the head of the bed to allow room for a night stand. I plan on building a head board next , that will be 6"-8" deep, which will result in about 20" of night stand space.
This side of the bed is done for now. Repeat the process and build the opposite half of the bed frame.