Introduction: Recycling Cabin Bed Into a Potting Bench

About: By day I edit DEVELOP3D magazine, but at the drop of a hat, I'll ditch it and go play in the shed instead of staring at a screen.

Like a lot of parents, you end up changing out your kid's bed when they've either outgrown them or you need to make more space in their room and I ended up with a cabin bed after my wee lad outgrew it. I also ended up with a greenhouse and nowhere to pot up new seedlings and use as a work table. So i figured make the latter out of the former. There's a tonne of nice wood to work with, some interesting forms and a lot of the joint work has already been done.

Things you'll need:
The bed (Obviously)
Wood saw - just a bog standard one will do
Bit of sandpaper

Optional: If you want to make life easier for yourself, then I'd recommend a Kreg Pocket Jig. The starter kit can be found on Amazon or Ebay, comes with some decent instructions and a selection of screws (though you don't really need the special fittings). More on this later.

Step 1: Bed Ends As Sides

This was one of the most attractive things about using a preassembled bed for the project, you have two end sections from the bed with a nice arched feature, all the joints are in place and you're about a third of the way to the basic structure without having to do a massive amount. One is used in its entirety, the other is cut to make the side pieces.

First step is to decide how wide you want it, then measure that back from the edge of the side pieces. Don't forget to also allow for the width of the rear posts so you get it right. I forgot on my first measurements and I'd have ended up with a thing that wouldn't fit through the greenhouse door. And don't forget to use the angle on your saw to make sure its straight.

Make sure you've got the size you want and you're good to start fixing it.

Step 2: Fixing Up Joints

This is where the jig thing comes into play. Once its setup for depth (of the workplace), then you clamp it up, use the special drill to cut out a recessed pocket for the screws. If you're not going that route, then screwing back from the other side is an option, using just screws angle in from the side or a bracket.

Whichever way, fix the side pieces to the back and you've got three sides done already

Step 3: Add Front Bar

Using the side runners from the bed, you can now cut a simple piece to run across the front of the frame and fix it in place. The benefit with this was that because the bed had wooden slats as a base, it also had a support running around the inside of the frame - which makes it perfect for this project, as the work platform could just be mounted straight onto it.

Step 4: Adding the Work Platform

Now to add the work platform. If you're looking to do a lot of compost mixing, then a single sheet might be handy, but this works nicely. Because you're using the width of the bed as is, the slants (you know, the bits that support the mattress) should be the right width. The only thing is to a) cut out a corner notch if needs and b) add a central support under them - this hasn't got one and its pretty sturdy, certainly for modest use.

Step 5: Adding a Shelf

Final and optional step is to add a shelf into the lower part of the legs. I've been collecting up these old beer boxes from all over the shop and wanted them to fit under the bench for storing all the nonsense you keep in a greenhouse. The last few bits of the bed frame were used and the bed base planks were cut to size and used there as well.

Job done. Switch on the kettle, turn on Radio 4 and away you go.

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