Beetle Kill Pine Headboard (and Frame)




Introduction: Beetle Kill Pine Headboard (and Frame)

About: Teacher. Climber. Craftsman.

I made this headboard to highlight the beetle kill pine without looking like it belonged in a log cabin.

The frame is designed to be used with a low profile queen size box spring (about 6 inches tall).


Headboard Only

1in x 3in x 6ft Select Pine Boards (Qty: 3) $24

2in x 2in x 8ft Select Pine Boards (Qty: 4) $36

1in x 8in x 6ft Select Pine Boards (Qty: 1) $13

1x6 Blue Stain Tongue and Groove $20 (I needed 8 slats, which could be cut from 4 10 foot pieces, but I used 8 8 foot pieces. There was more waste, but it made it easier to get straight and clean pieces.

General Finishes Arm-R-Seal (I bought a quart, probably only needed a pint.) $18


Everything above

1in x 8in x 6ft Select Pine (Qty: 2) $26

1in x 8in x 8ft Select Pine (Qty: 2) $32

2in x 2in x 8ft Select Pine (Qty: 4) $36 (two of these are for the center supports, so you could get away with lower quality lumber)

Bed Rail Brackets (or similar) $16

Angle Brackets (Or these Center Rail Brackets) $12


Circular Saw with Cross Cut Jig (or table saw)

Drill and Driver


Counter Sink Bit


Pocket Hole Jig

Step 1: Headboard Frame

Frame the face of the head board with the 1x3's and the 1x8. I used pocket screws and glue at each but joint.

I glued and screwed the 2x2's along the back of the frame. The 2x2's are screwed on with countersunk cabinet screws.

I finished off the inside of the frame with a 45 degree chamfer.

Step 2: Headboard Slats

Sand all the slats before installing.

Screw in the slats.

If you are careful with the glue ups, the select pine requires little finish sanding. Before attaching the headboard to the frame I finished all parts with 3 coats of the Arm-R-Seal.

Step 3: Frame

The 'footboard' is two 1x8's glued and screwed together. Each leg is 3 1x3's glued together and screwed.

The side rails of the bed (80 inches long) are made from 1x8's with 2x2's glued and screwed along the bottom with countersunk cabinet screws (same as in step 2). The side rails are attached with surface mount bed rail brackets.

The two center support rails are made from 2x2's, and attach to the footboard and headboard with L-brackets.

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    21 Discussions

    What size/length screws did you use to screw in the beetle kill pine? I am in CO also. Kind of nice local Home Depot has this beetle kill pine now. I use to have to go to Poncha Lumber in Poncha Springs to get it. I did the wall of my dining room at the mountain house in Westcliffe, and it looks great. Doing the headboard for that mountain house. Practicing because I never did pocket holes before.

    6 replies

    Thanks for the question. For the pocket holes at each but joint I used Spax #8 1-1/4 in construction screws. You can buy specific pocket hole screws, but these worked just fine for me. I used the same screws to attach the beetle kill slats to the frame.

    For the bed rails, I used Spax #8 1-1/2 Pan Head construction screws (shown in this picture). I couldn't find these the last time I looked though.

    Hope that helps!

    Understand the pocket hole screws and screws for the 2X2's but wanted to know what you used for screwing the tongue and grooved pine boards to the frame. Did you use a 1 inch countersunk wood screw and if so what size? Or did you use something else? I want to be careful not to split the beetle kill and think a 1 1/4 inch screw gets too close to the front side of the beetle kill pine and might cause a split. Also, you did use the 6 inch tongue and grooved correct? Does it matter if the tongue is up or down?

    I did use the 6 inch tongue and groove. I used the SPAX #8 1-1/4 screws to attach the tongue and groove boards to the frame. I am sure you could get away with a shorter screw, but I had no issues. Even though I find the self drilling feature of these screws to be very good, I still pre drilled all holes. I do not remember what diameter bit though.

    On mine, the tongues are pointing up, but I don't think it matters...

    I'd love to see your finished product!

    Here is my finished product. I made it shorter, stained the clear pine and used Minwax Polycrylic semi-gloss for the finish. I think that finish has less tendency to change color with age.


    Thanks for the info! I am a novice at this kind of stuff so your guidance on screws and stuff is valued. I will use the 1-1/4 as I like the self drill feature too (been practicing on scrap before using the good wood). I am just doing the headboard and making it shorter(43") to fit the sloped upstairs ceiling. I will share when it is done. Here is the dining room wall at the Westcliffe house done in that pine. It might give you or others ideas on how beautiful this wood is when used in a project.


    The reason I am asking the question below is that when I did my wall in beetle kill pine, I used finishing nails in a nail gun.

    lanleo a final question as I have just cut the wood for the frame. Did you use one or two pocket screw on the 1X3 and two on the 1X8? BTW, I found you can get a 2" long T15 and #2 square bit (costs a couple of bucks each) which works better than my shorter bits in an extension for screwing into the slotted pocket hole and the counter sunk holes for the 2X2's. Just a tip.

    2 replies

    I did use two pocket holes per joint for both the 1x8's and 1x3's. In this picture you can see one of the pocket screws, and the other is completely covered by the 2x2. The one you can see is far enough from the edge that the chamfer won't expose it on the other side.

    Thank you. I did see the pocket hole, but could not tell if you used more than one on the 1X3's.

    What do you dobto compensate for seasonal changes in wood movement?

    2 replies

    I am by no means an expert wood worker, so my understanding is based on a limited experience. However, l have not had stability issues with my work (I live in Colorado), and I think this is partly attributed to careful wood selection. In this case, the select pine boards are kiln dried, and I take the time to choose boards that have tight, straight and consistent grains.

    BevelUp posted this nice instructable which is a good intro into lumber characteristics and choosing lumber for projects.

    This is a good article from Wood Workers Source about moisture content and expansion/contraction.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Thanks for these two links! Will sure come handy to as someone not very familiar with woodworking.

    Are those really 2x8s? They look more like 1x8s. Or did you mill them down to make sure they were flat on both sides? I'm thinking of making a bed, and the side rail size is what has me worried

    1 reply

    You are right, sideboards are 1x8's. I too was most concerned about the strength of the side boards, and ultimately settled on the 1x8's. I finished this project 6 months ago, and haven't had any issues with the bed.

    This is really nice looking. I'm not familiar with beetle kill pine wood, though I just looked it up. Do the beetles change the color of the wood, or affect it in some other way?

    4 replies

    Pine beetle killed trees are one of those new "what do we do now" things. In Montana there are large tracts of forest that are turning brown and dying because of the spread of the bugs. There does not appear to be any way of stopping them. The question that is really being debated is what to do with the areas of dead trees. If left the way they are it is almost guaranteed that they will burn in large uncontrollable fires. One lightening strike is all that is needed. If the trees are harvested then the fire danger will be reduced but the damage from the harvesting process can cause big erosion, which will happen anyway if the trees burn. But the wood is not considered to be a premium grade although it does make very attractive wood for working things like cabinets. And there is a huge amount of trees to harvest which will cause a glut of wood and drive the prices down. At the current rate of insect spread there will soon be entire mountain areas that will be devoid of trees. What will those areas be able to support as an alternative? They are still researching that. Anyway, it is a very big potential problem that doesn't get in the news much but when you drive through miles and miles of dead trees it does make one wonder about what the results might be. The forests that we now know in Montana may become a thing of the past. The result to the timber industry and paper industry could be pretty sever. In the future all our lumber might have to be imported from Canada. All because of a little bug that is out of control and the reason for that is believed to be a result of temperature increase.

    When a pine beetle enters the bark of a tree (to lay eggs), it introduces a fungus to the tree (blue stain fungus). This fungus inhibits the trees response to repel the beetles, and ultimately the feeding beetle larvas and the fungus kill the tree. The wood is left with blue and grey coloring.