Introduction: Build a Bench From an Old Bed Frame (video Included)
Use an old bed frame to make a beautiful timeless piece of furniture. All the pieces were used in making this bench including the head board, foot board, side rails and mattress slats. Cypress boards were used for the seat and finished with a wipe on satin poly. Please share and subscribe. Thank you.
Step 1: Cut the Foot Board to Length and Create the Mortise and Tenon
The first step is to cut the foot board to length. I measured various chair arm rests around the house to come up with what I thought was an appropriate length for the bench arm rest. I came up with 18 inches for the overall arm rest length. Staying with the arm rest, next I used a hole saw to make a circular cut into the end of the arm rest that will connect to the head board post. I used the bandsaw to remove the waste, which created a round tenon. For the round mortise I used a forstner bit (you can use a wood spade bit) to create the appropriate sized hole. Refer to the pictures and video for clarification.
Step 2: Connect the Front Legs and Arm Rests
After cutting the foot board and creating the mortise and tenon on the arm rest you end up having two identical pieces that will be used for the two front legs and arm rests. The foot board I used had a board along the bottom between the legs that acted as a stretcher in which case I removed that to use as the front of my bench. I drilled some pocket holes and attached it between the front legs of the bench directly below the front of the seat. I used this board to attach the seat support to as you will see later. Now you can glue up and attach the arm rest to the head board using the mortise and tenon you created, but first drill a hole all the way through the mortise creating a pilot hole on the back side of the head board post. You will use this pilot hole to install a screw from the back in order to pull the tenon into the mortise nice and tight for added support.
Step 3: Cut the Side Rail to Length and Install (and Take a Break)
In this step you will need to measure the distance between the front and back legs. Cut two pieces from the side rails to this length, drill some pocket holes in the ends and install at the same height as your seat will be. This piece is strictly to connect the front and back legs and to hide the seat support system, so a couple of pocket holes in each end should do. To make things a little easier, use a clamp to hold the side pieces in place while you use screws to attach them. Be sure to use a level along the way to keep everything nice and uniform. After that, take a break.
Step 4: Build a Support System for the Seat and Install
First, measure the distance from inside the front of the bench to the back and from side to side. These measurements will be your outside measurements of the basic frame you will need to build for the seat support. I used the mattress slats that was used with the bed. You can use any dimensional lumber you have on hand for this. Refer to the pictures and video for the correct orientation and placement of the wood to be used. Be sure to extend the ends of the frame out far enough that you can attach the frame to the four posts. I used but joints to construct the frame and interior support dividers and also added pocket holes for the seat to attach to from the underside, which will be the next step. Once the support frame is built you can now screw it directly to the four post and also to the front board of the bench. In some cases, depending on how your head board is designed you may or may not have to add additional support pieces. *I added a 2x4 between the head board legs for extra support for the seat and also stability.
Step 5: Cut and Install the Seat
For the seat I used some rough cut Cypress. The first thing to do is decide on a pattern or layout. I wanted a small over hang on the front, so I needed to notch the boards to fit around the four post. I measured from the edge of the post closest to the center of the seat to where I wanted the over hang to stop. I used my combination square to transfer the measurement to the board and made my cut. I did this for all four corners. Once I had the layout I liked and the notches cut out I was ready to attach the seat boards using the pocket holes in the support frame we previously made. I only inserted a few screws to hold the seat down while I set the bench on its side so I could easily finish installing the rest of the screws.
Step 6: Sand, Plane and Finish the Seat Surface
After the seat is securely in place it's time to smooth any rough spots and apply a finish. I started by quickly sanding the seat with a random orbital sander making sure not to sand away all the character, so I lightly sanded any obvious rough places. Next, I went over the edges with a small chamfer plane and then the whole surface with a block plane. After prepping the seat and getting it to look how I wanted, I applied a wipe on satin polyurethane. A couple of coats should do. *A different finish might be needed depending on the type of wood you choose for the seat. Sign your masterpiece and call it done.
Step 7: Tools Used in This Instructable
Porter Cable drill and impact:
Titebond III glue:
Rockler Glue Applicator Kit:
Bessey 8" hand screw clamp:
4" blast gate:
Stanley 6" torpedo level:
Stanley 12" combination square:
Shop-Vac 6 Gal:
3M Respirator Filters:
Skil Random Orbital Sander:
Stanley small plane:
Stanley Block Plane:
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6 years ago
I have made two bed-to-bench projects and I love how you make your tenons. Never thought of using a hole saw and cutting away the walls and leaving the "hole". That is brilliant! I would just cut my rail square and screw it through the back of the head board. Now i'm going to use your method, so much better!
7 years ago
@sjosh2 Thank you! It's a fun project.
7 years ago
Best instructable I've seen in a while. I'll have to try this myself; it'll make the wife happy.
7 years ago
7 years ago
That is a nice looking bench you have there! Great way to reuse and old headboard. Great build
7 years ago
Am working on one now
Reply 7 years ago