Introduction: Superking Oak, Walnut & Elm Bed

About: I'm a DIY enthusiast and will try my hand at anything. My main passion is working with timber but I'll use anything to hand. I have made all sorts from bowls to tables, windows to mirrors. To make something yo…

In this instructable I will show you how I made myself a new bed.

Before this build I had an old shop bought oak double bed frame with a well used mattress on that had seen better days.

As a result it was uncomfortable to sleep in and I wanted an upgrade, since I had room in my house for a bigger bed I decided to go all out and build a bed to hold a superking size mattress. Mainly superking so I might get some room as oppose to my girlfriend allowing me an inch on the side of the old bed.

With the size decided I set about designing the bed and deciding on materials.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

As this is a superking bed it is very large and as such I decided I wanted a chunky frame to support the weight and size. I decided on using oak railway sleepers to construct the main frame, with some kind of live edge headboard, which ultimately ended up being elm after spotting a piece long enough and nice enough in a timber yard.

Everything else I used in the build is as follows:


  1. Circular Saw
  2. Hand Saw
  3. Tenon Saw
  4. Hack Saw
  5. Table Saw
  6. Wood Chisels
  7. Digital Calipers
  8. Tape Measure
  9. Ruler, pens, pencils etc
  10. Belt Sander
  11. Orbital Sander
  12. Electric, Table Top & Hand Plane
  13. Planer Thicknesser
  14. Cordless & Electric Drill
  15. Impact Driver
  16. Socket Wrench
  17. Screwdrivers
  18. Pillar Drill
  19. Drill bits, Forstner, Hole Saws, Wood/Metal Bits
  20. Clamps
  21. Router
  22. Various Sanding Accessories


  1. x2 Oak Railway Sleepers 100 x 200 x 2400mm
  2. Live edge Elm Plank
  3. Walnut Lengths
  4. 40 x 40 x 2400mm Pine lengths
  5. OSB 11 x 1200 x 2400mm
  6. 38mm Oak Dowels
  7. 6mm Threaded Rod
  8. 6mm Threaded Wood Insert Nuts
  9. Wood Glue
  10. Danish Oil
  11. 8mm dowels

Step 2: Preparing the Oak

The main frame of the bed is made from oak, now oak is fairly expensive especially in the sizes that I needed it. A superking mattress is 2000mm x 1800mm and I planned on having the frame 100mm x 100mm square. After hunting around on the web for a few hours weighing up options, I finally found a place fairly local that sold oak railways sleepers for a decent price 100mm x 200mm x 2400mm in size, perfect for what I needed. They were rough sawn obviously but I have the tools to fix that and they worked out about a quarter of the price finished ones cut to my required sizes would have been.

After ordering and collecting the sleepers I now needed to cut them to size, these things weigh a ton, at least 50-60kg each and that in itself posed a problem. I only have DIY machinery and I had originally planned on running each sleeper through my planer then the thicknesser to square them up before cutting to size on my table saw.

However due to the size and weight this was incredibly difficult, so I opted to cut the sleepers first then try to square them afterward as each piece would then be considerably lighter. As I said I wanted 100mm square pieces for the main outer frame as the sleepers were already 100mm thick and 200mm wide I simply cut down the middle of each sleeper using my circular saw. I was going to use the table saw but I had no way of supporting the sleeper once it had passed through the blade (and my garage wasn't long enough either).

Due to the thickness of each sleeper however I would need to make 2 cuts, one on each side as my blade depth on the circular saw was only around 70mm, 30mm short of cutting all the way through.

I measured the centre point of the sleepers on both sides with my tape measure and marked a line down the length with a long straight piece of timber. I then used this straight timber as a fence to guide my circular saw evenly down these centre lines, clamping it in place along with the sleeper before cutting. After making one cut on the sleeper, I flipped it over and repeated the process on the other side, making sure my blade lined up with the cut from the previous side. With the second cut done each sleeper was now halved so I had four 100mm x 100mm x 2400mm beams.

Step 3: Squaring the Beams

Now that I had my beams for the main frame of the bed I needed to try and square them best I could. I was hoping to now use my planer and thicknesser to make short work of this, but even with the sleepers now cut down it still was very difficult. My table top planer was out of the question as the beams were simply still too big and heavy, instead I opted to use a combination of my belt sander, electric hand plane and a manual one.

I began using the two planes in combination to flatten two faces on each beam, using the electric to remove most of the material and the hand plane to finish it up. Once I had two decent looking faces I then attempted to pass the opposite faces through my thicknessser to square those off. This was a difficult process, usually I clamp my thickenesser to my bench and pass the timber through as required, there was no way this was going to work with 30kg, 2400mm beams, as when I tried to pass them through the beam acted like a lever and moved the thicknesser as the end of the beam exited the machine, removing too much material.

To try and fix this issue I drilled holes in my garage floor and bolted my thicknesser to the floor, this stopped the movement issue, but it was still incredibly difficult to pass the beams through, I was tight for space needing a 5m run to pass the beams through the thicknesser, the beams were heavy and difficult to move to and from the machine and the unevenness on the rough faces caused the beams to jam in the thickesser on occasion and risked burning out the motor. After trying for an hour and getting nowhere I went back to the bench. I used the belt sander to quickly remove high spots then used the electric and hand planes to flatten the remaining surfaces. This was much more time consuming and was hard work on my sander breaking a few belts, but at least I could get them level without risk of damaging anything or myself.

Step 4: Cutting the Beam Joints

Now the beams were (relatively) flat and square I turned my attention to cutting the joints to hold them together.

I opted for half lap joints at each corner of the frame allowing the beams to interlock giving a strong joint and visually pleasing appearance.

Each joint would be the same length as the beams thickness it was joining and half as deep. So 100mm x 50mm would have to be cut away from each end of each beam.

To begin I first marked the required overall length of my beams, a superking mattress is 2000mm x 1800mm so my internal frame size needed to match this. As I had not yet bought a mattress I allowed an additional 20mm to these internal sizes incase the mattress was slightly oversized upon arrival.

To aid with the measurements I made two batons the size of my internal measurements, one 2020mm and the other 1820mm. This way I always knew my internal measurements were correct before I cut anything and could use the ends of the batons to mark joints from.

With this in mind I needed two beams cut at 2220mm and the other two at 2020mm. 100mm extra at each end to allow for the half lap joints.

With the beams marked to length using the batons I next marked 100mm out from each end where my joints would be cut using a tape measure, my calipers and a square tool. Because my beams are 100mm thick I would need to cut the joints to a depth of 50mm to create the half lap.

With the lines all marked up on each beam I used my tenon saw to make the initial cut on the inside edge of the joint, this then acted as a straight guide as to where to cut the rest of the material from.

In order to remove the rest of the material in the joint I set up my circular saw again, adjusting the blade depth to 50mm. With it set I could cut across the grain moving away from my initial tenon saw cut until I had a series of cuts along 100mm of the beam to the end of my marked joint. With the cuts made the excess material could then just be snapped out by hand and the joints finished by hand using my chisel to remove any excess material left behind.

Once each joint was cut I sanded them back smooth on each face and cut off the excess timber past the joints ends using my hand saw so that I had my correct size beams. I left each one slightly longer at this point so I could finish them properly once I made sure it all fitted together correctly.

Step 5: Test Fit

Now all my joints were cut for the frame I needed to test fit them together, however due to the enormity of this build and lack of space in my garage I could not continue where I was, so I had to move production to my kitchen where luckily I had enough space to work.

With the beams laid out on my kitchen floor I could move each into position and check the fit at each corner. With the rough fit confirmed I took each beam back into the garage to give it a sand and tidy up the joints some more where there had been a few gaps or unevenness.

Using my belt sander I sanded the beams and joints back to 120 grit, then used my orbital sander to sand them again to 240 grit taking off the sharp edges and corners on each beam in the process.

With the beams sanded smooth I returned them to the kitchen to begin joining them together.

Step 6: Joining the Frame

To hold my bed together I wanted to use mechanical fixings as if I ever move house the bed will need to come apart to move with me, so using glued joints was not an option.

Using screws was also not really an option as over time screwing and unscrewing the frame (not that I plan too) the screw holes would become more and more worn and loose and the screw joints would eventually fail.

With this in mind I bough 6mm threaded nut inserts and M6 round headed bolts which I could sink into the oak and then use bolts to hold everything together, this wouldn't damage anything should it need to be taken apart again and would be easy to tighten back up should it be required later on.

Firstly I made a template to go over each joint, a 100mm square piece of plywood with holes drilled in it to mark where to place my threaded inserts and corresponding bolt holes. I laid the template over each joint and marked the location of the 3 holes required. I was going to do 4 but 3 seemed enough, plus my drill chuck was a bit tight to the joint if I'd drilled a forth.

The beams for the width of the bed would form the bottom of the joint so these would have holes drilled all the way through for the bolts, the beams for the length of the bed would form the top of the joint and be seen once completed so these had holes drilled to accommodate the threaded inserts.

With the holes marked and pilot drilled I used larger drills to get the final diameters. For the insert holes I used an 8mm drill bit, drilling to a depth of 15mm to take both the insert and tail end of the bolt once screwed in. For the bolt holes in the opposite joint I used a 6.5mm drill bit followed by a 12mm drill bit, drilled in 20mm so that I could sink the heads below the surface of the timber allowing the legs to attach flush later on.

With all my holes drilled I could now screw in my inserts into the length rails of my frame. To do this you simply use a hex key to turn the insert into the timber, however after some test runs I found that towards the end of threading the inserts the hex key would shear the inserts rendering them useless, this was because of the hardness of the oak and softness of the metal in comparison.

To rectify this problem I used a short M6 bolt and some washers screwed into the insert before hand, I could then use my socket wrench to screw the inserts in giving a much more even, controlled motion and stopping the inserts from becoming damaged. Once the inserts were home I could simply remove the bolt and move to the next insert

In all I screwed 12 inserts into my frame, 3 at each corner of the top joints. I could now screw through from the bottom joint on the other shorter beams with my M6 bolts into the inserts in the longer top beams to hold all the beams together and create the basic frame.

with the frame bolted together I could now go around each joint and cut off any excess timber overshooting from the joints using my Japanese pull saw, with its thin blade it allowed me to get right up tight against the joint and cut the excess off flush.

Step 7: Legs

With the frame made I now needed some legs to suspend it off the floor. I was going to use the offcuts from the beams to make legs, but unfortunately they weren't long enough.

Whilst out scouting for a headboard however I came across some off cuts of walnut in a timber yard that were decently priced and an ideal length to make legs from.

With the rough sawn offcuts back in the garage I began leveling them up so I could fabricate some legs from them.

I began by running two of the faces of each offcut through my planer so I had two straight 90 degree flat edges that I could then pass though my thicknesser. Thankfully this was easy in comparison to trying to flatten the oak beams and only took about 15 minutes until I had 4 square pieces of Walnut.

With the pieces squared up I then glued them altogether and clamped them up to form one long rectangular piece of Walnut. After drying overnight I scraped off the excess glue and once again ran the whole thing through both my planer and thicknesser to straighten up any unevenness caused in the gluing process.

Now that the block was finished I used my chop saw to cut it into 4 equally sized pieces I could use for legs.

To attach the legs to the bed I planned to use both dowels and a threaded rod running through the entire length of the legs that would screw into another insert installed on the bottom of the bed frame.

To prepare the legs I began by marking the centre of each one, this is where a hole would be drilled to allow the rod to pass through. In order to drill the hole straight and central I used my pillar drill with a long 8 x 250mm multi purpose drill bit installed. However due to the length of my legs and the bit I couldn't fit the legs under the pillar to drill the holes. To get around this I rotated my drill head 180 degrees and mounted it on a bench above another bench, this gave me enough height under the drill to fit my legs in and allow me to drill the holes.

With the centre of each leg marked I placed a leg under the drill and drilled down into in, once the drills depth had been reached (around 80mm) I slid the leg up the drill bit, placed a block underneath it and drilled down again. I repeated this until the drill had managed to drill all the way through the leg, then repeated again for the other 3 legs.

With a centre hole now drilled through the centre of each leg I needed to drill a slightly larger hole in the base of each leg to house a nut and washer that would hold the leg to the threaded rod which would be attached to the bed frame.

To drill the larger hole in the legs I used a forstner bit in my cordless drill, but because I'd already drilled all the way through the legs, getting a start on the larger hole was difficult as the tip of the forsner bit had nowhere to rest and would just rattle around in the small hole already drilled.

To stop this I used a piece of 8mm dowel pushed in the small hole so that I could use this to find my centre once more and allow the forsner bit something to rest on to get a start. With the forstner bit now able to take hold I drilled a 18mm hole to a depth of 20mm in the base of each leg, this gave me enough room to secure a nut and washer inside the leg out of sight once the bed was finished.

Step 8: Attaching the Legs

As I said in order to attach the legs to the frame I used 6mm steel threaded rod and 8mm wooden dowels.

To ensure each leg was drilled the same and that they all located on the frame the same, I made another template out of plywood. The template was the same size as the top of my legs as this is the part of the leg that attaches to the frame. The template had 3 holes drilled through all in a straight line, a centre hole for where the threaded rod would attach, lined up with my already drilled holes on the legs and holes either side of the centre for the dowels.

With the template made I used it to drill two more holes in the top of each leg that would house the dowels, with all 4 legs drilled out I then transferred my template to the underside of my bed frame. Lining it up with the outer edges of the frame at one corner. I used an 8mm wood bit to drill the 3 holes into the frame to a depth of 20mm, half the depth of my 8mm wooden dowels.

With the holes drilled in the first corner I repositioned my template and drilled out the remaining 3 corners of the frame.

The main strength in attaching the legs to the frame comes from the threaded rod running through the centre of the legs, with a support dowel either side to stop it moving and twisting once attached. In order to secure this rod to the bed frame I again turned to my threaded nut inserts. With the 3 holes from the template now drilled in each corner of the bed frame I used my countersink bit on the central hole to allow my nut inserts to sit flush with the bottom of the bed frame.

Using the same method as before on the frame, I used a short M6 bolt screwed into the nut inserts along with my socket wrench to thread the inserts into the pre-drilled holes in my frame. With an insert screwed into all 4 corners of the frame I could then attach my threaded rods to the frame ready for the legs to slide over.

I used 6mm galvanised steel threaded rod bought in 1m lengths from my local DIY shop. I then cut the rod into shorter lengths the same height as my legs using a small hack saw.

With the rod lengths cut I inserted 2 dowels into the top of each leg I then slid each leg in turn over a threaded rod inserted into the threaded nut inserts on the bed frame, making sure to line up the dowels with the holes in the frame once the leg came into contact. With the legs loosely attached by the dowels I could now place a washer and a nut over the other end of the threaded rod through the larger holes drilled in to the base of each of my legs. Using my socket wrench I could then tighten the nuts pulling each leg tight up against the bed frame and holding it secure in place.

With all 4 legs attached the basic frame was now finished and sat a good height off the floor.

Step 9: Mattress Support Sub Frame

Okay now the frame was complete I needed to add some sub frame work in order to hold the mattress and support my weight once the bed was in use.

As this part of the bed wouldn't be visible once it was finished I used pre-machined pine to build the sub frame, it was plenty strong enough for what I needed and is cheap and readily available from everywhere.

With the pine bought, I measured and cut two lengths the same size as the inside length of my bed frame, these would hold my slats that supported the mattress. To hold these in place on the oak frame I clamped them in position aligning them with the bottom edge of the frame and drilled pilot holes through the pine into the oak behind. With 6 holes drilled along the length of pine I then screwed it to the oak frame using woodscrews. (Screws were fine here as these pine supports would never need to be removed, even if the bed has to be taken apart in the future to move it) With one side completed I took the other pine length and repeated the process on the other side of the bed frame.

Due to the width of the bed these two pine supports alone would not be enough, as any slats placed across would simply buckle under the weight, so I cut another two pine lengths the same size as the other two to go across the centre of the bed. Measuring across the inner width of the frame I marked two centre points where these other two supports would sit. The inner frame width was 1820mm so I marked centres at 606mm and 1212mm ((1820mm / 3) x 1 then (1820mm / 3) x 2).

With the frame marked and the timber cut these were now ready to fix in place on the frame. To secure these pieces I used flat steel brackets screwed to the underside at each end of the pine lengths. The other side of the brackets then sat under the oak frame and allowed me to screw up through the brackets to hold the pine in place.

All 4 pine lengths were now in place but I still needed to add more support to the sub frame by adding cross members and legs to reduce any sag once the weight of me and the mattress was added. As It stood currently, because of the beds size any weight applied to the sub frame would see it collapse in the middle as there was no support other than at the very ends.

To solve this support problem I cut 4 cross members to go between the pine lengths already installed. To secure these cross members I marked where I wanted them to go in the centre of the sub frame and just screwed through the sides of the pine lengths into the ends of the cross members. I had 2 members in the centre of the sub frame and I placed another one on each outer side screwed in to the pine lengths that were screwed to the oak frame directly.

With the cross members installed I now had a small square shaped frame in the centre of the sub frame, this is where I would attach additional legs to stop the middle of the bed sagging. To make these legs I simply cut 4 pieces of the pine on my chop saw the same height as my other walnut legs attached to the bed frame. To make these legs easy to remove, if required I used the threaded nut inserts again.

Marking the top of each legs centre point by drawing a straight line corner to corner, I drilled out a hole in each leg and inserted a threaded insert into each. I could then mark the sub frame around the squared shaped frame within where the legs were to be attached and finding the centre of the corresponding rails, drill a hole all the way through to allow a bolt to pass through and secure into the insert screwed in to the top of each leg. These through holes were counter sunk to allow the bolt head to sit flush with the top of the sub frame and prevent the slats from sitting unevenly once installed.

After installing the extra legs and cross members the sub frame now felt a lot more supportive and able to take any weight I wanted. However for a bit of extra additional support for the oak frame I installed 4 steel corner brackets to the inside corners where the joints met. These brackets sat on top of the sub frame and were secured to the oak using the threaded nut inserts installed in the same way as previously with some small countersunk head M6 machine screws, screwed in to hold the frame together.

Step 10: Mattress Base & Slats

With the sub frame complete I now needed to install something to support the mattress evenly across it.

Due to the size of the frame I decided thin individual slats wouldn't be ideal, as I need a lot of them and should the bed ever need to come apart its more hassle, not to mention the pain installing them in the first place.

With this in mind I decided to use a few wide slats instead, spaced with narrow ones in between. To create the wide slats I bough a sheet of 11mm x 1200mm x 2400mm OSB (Oriented Strand Board) from B&Q and got their gadge in store to cut it down for me on their massive wall panel saw, rather than me try and mess around at home, it was just easier and its a free service, not to mention it wouldn't fit in my car as a whole sheet.

I wanted 4 'slats' from the OSB, so since it was 1200mm wide I got him to cut me four at 300mm wide leaving them the 2400mm long, I'd cut these off myself later.

Getting the OSB back home I clamped them all together in the garage and cut off the excess length with my handsaw, taking the 2400mm boards down to 1820mm allowing them to fit inside my oak bed frame.

Because I'd installed those steel corner brackets to the oak earlier two of the OSB slats would now not fit tight against the frame as the brackets were in the way. To make them fit I had to cut 'L' shapes from 2 corners of two of the OSB slats. I used a spare bracket to mark the corners then used my tenon saw to remove the 'L' shapes allowing the slats to then fit tight to the frame once re-installed.

With the 4 OSB slats cut I measured an equal gap between each one whilst placed on the sub frame so the slats were evenly spaced, these gaps measured around 265mm wide each and although the mattress would probably of been adequately supported across these gaps I decided to add extra slats to narrow these gaps further. I bought 3 lengths of 40mm x 11mm pine and cut them to the same length as the OSB laying them across the sub frame once cut, in the centre of the 265mm gaps. I was now happy that the mattress would be supported evenly and that there wouldn't be any sag across the frame.

Having positioned all the slats in place I planned to secure them to the sub frame at each end using my old friend, you guessed it...threaded nut inserts. I know I've used a lot thus far and there's more to come, but it just makes disassembly and re-assembly easier should I ever need to do it. I measured to the centre point of each edge on each slat and drilled through the outer edge of each slat with a 6mm drill, going all the way through the slat and 20mm into the pine sub frame below. As I had done previously with all other holes I'd drilled, I used a piece of tape on the drill bit to signal when I had reached the correct depth.

I removed all the slats from the frame and re-drilled the 6mm holes in the sub frame out to 8mm to take the nut inserts. Once all the holes were drilled I then countersunk both the 8mm and 6mm holes so that the inserts sat flush against the top of the frame and the bolts holding the slats down sat flush with the top of the slats and didn't protrude in to the mattress.

I then used a hex key to screw threaded wood inserts in to each of the 8mm holes (14 in total) in the sub frame. I was able to use a hex key here as the pine is a much softer wood than the oak so the risk of shearing the inserts was minimal.

After all the inserts were installed I returned the slats to the frame and used some short countersunk head M6 machine screws to secure them to the frame. With the slats installed and secure the whole frame now felt solid as a rock, with no movement capable of supporting anything.

Step 11: Headboard Part I

The headboard for the bed was made from a single piece of live edge Elm around 20mm thick. I sourced this from a timber yard I use, British Hardwoods in Keighley UK that usually has a good stock of live edged timber. Thankfully they had one long enough for this build that was a good colour and shape as the majority of pieces available are usually much shorter.

Now I had the headboard I needed a way of attaching it to my oak bed frame. I decided on using some thick wooden oak dowels I had bought for a previous project that never came to be. My plan was to fix these dowels in to the frame then mount the headboard to the protruding ends.

The oak dowels I used were 38mm in diameter and 350mm long and due to the width of the bed I decided to use 4 dowels to secure the headboard, as because of the length and relative thinness of the elm slab I didn't want it bending in the middle when sat up against it.

The dowels would be located in the frame pretty much inline with where the pine sub frame rails were, so this gave me a good visual indication of where they needed to be and made marking up much easier, I just needed to mark to the centre of the oak beam using my calipers.

Once I had my 4 marks where the dowels would sit I drilled all the way through the centre marks with a 6.5mm drill bit. I then used a 38mm hole saw located in each of these holes to cut a ring to a depth of 40mm around these centre holes. I then used a slightly narrower 35mm forstner bit to remove the material inside each one of these rings so that I then had four 38mm x 40mm holes equally spaced along my oak beam.

These holes would then allow the 38mm dowels to push into the oak frame providing a joint to hold them in place. For extra security I drilled one end in the centre of each dowel, inserted a threaded nut insert and bolted them through from the bottom of the frame using the holes I'd drilled all the way through the oak to begin with, countersinking the holes underneath so as to hide the heads of the bolts. This just stopped the dowels from being able to be pulled out or moved once the headboard was installed.

Step 12: Headboard Part II

Before continuing further I needed to cut down my headboard as it was too long. One end of the elm slab was much wider than the rest of it and had a split, but this also had a lot of characterful marks in as well. I decided to cut a piece from each end to get the length I needed, that way I could remove some of the splitting but keep the character too.

With the dowels in place the next issue was that once the headboard was installed I didn't want the bottom edge of it catching on the mattress or stopping the mattress from sitting in the frame. To judge therefore how high it needed positioning I made a simple guide using three pieces of timber to simulate the height of the mattress, which would be 200mm (at this point I'd decided on a mattress and ordered it, so I knew what height it would be).

I clamped the guide in place on the frame and marked each dowel where the bottom of the headboard was to sit. I wanted the headboard to sit at a slight angle when finished so my next step was to cut the dowels to accommodate this.

To get the angle I wanted for the headboard I planned to cut the top of each dowel at this angle. I already have a taper jig that I made for my table saw so I simply modified it slightly to work for the dowels. I began by making a copy of a dowel using a 38mm square offcut of pine. I transferred the marks from one of the dowels across and marked on my desired angle at the top.

I then placed this dummy dowel into the jig and adjusted the fence on my taper jig so that the line for the angle on my dummy dowel ran along the outside edge of my jig, where the table saw blade would cut. With the fence secured I could now clamp each dowel in the jig in turn and pass it through my table saw to cut the same angle on each one.

The next stage now that the angles were cut was to re-install the dowels in to the frame and position the headboard. Using the frame I'd made to simulate the mattress I sat the headboard on top and rested it back onto the dowels, making sure it was centrally placed over the bed frame. With it centered I then clamped the headboard to the dowels so that I could mark the dowels where the fixings would go. Due to the uneven nature of the bottom edge of the headboard each dowel could have different fixing locations so it was important I marked each one separately.

Again threaded nut inserts would provide the fixing, so with the dowels marked accordingly I drilled a small pilot hole through each dowels mark into the headboard behind. This gave me both the hole locations for the bolts and marks in the headboard for the inserts.

I now unclamped the headboard and laid it flat to drill out the holes for the nut inserts. Up until this point all the holes I'd drilled that required a specific depth I'd simply attached a piece of tape to the drill bit to indicated when the depth was reached. However for the headboard I only had around 5mm of clearance between the bottom of the hole and drilling completely through the timber, ruining the face edge of the head board. I didn't want to take any chances and was worried the drill could bite too hard and pull all the way through the board.

I do have some drill stop rings that clamp to the drill bit to prevent drilling too deep, but unfortunately I only had up to 6mm and the nut inserts require an 8mm hole. Luckily I came across a solution using an old compass I had lying around. The half of the compass where the pen, pencil or whatever is inserted had an 7mm hole to accommodate it, so using my 8mm drill bit I drilled out this hole so that the compass could be used as a depth stop for my bit. Disassembling the compass so the half with the steel point was removed I slid the 8mm bit through the newly widened hole to a depth of 15mm, 2mm longer than the nut inserts. The compass has a little threaded ring that you can screw down which clamps the pen/pencil in place and stops it moving, so it worked just the same for my drill bit.

With the bit secured I put the whole thing into my drill and began widening the pilot holes drilled in to the back of the headboard, thankfully my compass depth stop worked a treat only allowing the bit in the 15mm I'd set it to. I then countersunk the holes slightly so the inserts would sit flush with the top of the head board.

After all the holes were drilled I gave the headboard a thorough sanding with my orbital sander starting at 120 grit working up to 400 to remove all the saw marks and blemishes from when it was originally cut. Some of the live edge also still had some loose bark attached so I used a wire wheel in my electric drill to remove this, as it got into all the little nooks and crannies. After the board was smooth I inserted the threaded insert nuts using the socket wrench method, as again I'm back on hardwood now and didn't want any shearing off.

Now the headboard was all but finished I had a few final steps before I could attach it. Firstly I went back to my dowels and drilled out the pilot holes in them to 6.5mm to allow the bolts to pass through in to the inserts on the headboard. I then used a 12mm drill bit to drill in around 10mm to widen these holes further to accommodate the head of the bolt and hide it from view once the headboard was attached.

Finally to finish off the dowels I used a round over bit in my palm router to take of the edges on the ends of the dowels to make them look more pleasing and aid with the location of the dowels in to the holes in the oak frame. I simply clamped each dowel in my vise, ran the router round, turned it over and repeated for the other three dowels.

I could now take all the pieces and assemble them back on the bed frame to check the fit.

Step 13: Finishing

With the headboard done the bed was about complete build wise, I now just needed to finish it all.

To begin I disassembled the bed removing the headboard, oak dowels, slats and legs from the frame. I then gave each component piece a good going over with the orbital sander, starting at 120 working up to 400 grit making sure all pencil lines, scorch marks, tears and blemishes were removed. Oak is a fairly tough timber so I went through a lot of sanding discs at this stage especially whilst sanding the frame.

The other issue I had at this stage was that the frame was still in my kitchen as it was the only place big enough to work with enough empty floor space. This meant I had to seal off all the doors and kitchen cupboards to try and limit dust ingress to the food and the rest of the house, as well as having my shop vacuum hooked up to my sander to try and collect most of the dust from source as I went. Miraculously I managed to limit the dust cloud spread collecting most with my vacuum, which was a bonus.

Once sanding was all complete and everything was a smooth 400 grit finish I cracked out some Danish Oil to use as the finish for the bed. I just painted this stuff on with a brush all over everything and left it to dry and soak in over an hour or so. I came back later on and wiped everything down with an old rag and applied another coat in the same way. After this coat was dry I used a polishing wheel in my electric drill to go over everything, buffing off any excess oil and bringing the wood to a smooth shine. To be honest the polishing wheel here was a pain as it wasn't big enough, a dedicated polisher would have been a far better tool and after this project I'm looking into getting one for future projects as its far quicker and easier to get a better finish.

With everything sanded, oiled and buffed all I had to do now was take apart the frame, remove the sub frame and lug everything upstairs to the bedroom. Over the course of this build with the oak frame being sat in the kitchen I'd forgotten just how heavy each oak beam was, so carrying four 30kg beams up 2 flights of stairs was a good workout.

Now that everything was finally upstairs in the bedroom, I now just had to put it all back together. This is where using many threaded nut inserts comes in, I knew I liked them for a reason as it was just a matter of lining everything up and tightening up the bolts.

I started by fixing the oak frame back together and attaching the walnut legs. Then with this down on the floor in place I could locate the oak dowels, bolt them in and attach the headboard. Next the sub frame went back in and its legs attached to support the middle. Finally the slats were laid on one by one and bolted to the frame

Step 14: Mattress Time!

Finally the bed was together and all that was left to do was bang a mattress on.

I spent a LOT of time looking at mattresses, going to shops laying on one for a bit, moving to another one, go to a different shop be pestered by another assistant so on and so forth. Thing is I wanted a mattress that would be comfortable and last and trying one in a shop for a few minutes doesn't work, after all I'd gone to all the trouble making this bed so to bang on any mattress on a whim would be mental.

In the end I went for one of these mattress in a box deals you get online, Emma. They sent me it for free and I get 100 nights to see if its decent, or I can send it back, which is much better than 3 minutes in a shop.

The thing came 2 weeks after I ordered it, in a box all rolled up in a bag. Once my bed was built I opened the box and dragged the mattress onto the bed frame. Moment of truth time would it fit the frame? Cutting open the bag the mattress began expanding, so I positioned it on the frame and it fit perfectly inside the oak frame, good job I added that 20mm! After an hour or so the mattress had fully risen to its final shape, it was still sat in the frame perfect and it had risen to the correct height just under the headboard.

With the mattress on last thing to do was test that sucker, so me and my girlfriend lay down hoping it wouldn't collapse underneath us. Of course it didn't, I put enough support in to hold a tank!

So far both the bed and mattress are working together a treat and the mattress is so far so good, but time will tell on that I guess, have to wait and see.

Anyway if you got this far thanks for reading through, you're probably a bit tired now so go build yourself a massive bed and get some rest.

See you on whatever I build next and remember to take photos of.

Woodworking Contest

Runner Up in the
Woodworking Contest