This instructable will outline the process for making a floating platform bed. This type of bed is suspended off the ground nearer the center so the legs don't show. the illusion is that the bed is floating off the floor. This bed will also included led lighting for a soothing ambience effect and an iris carving in the bedhead. The entire bed style has a slight oriental effect caused by the design.
- The wood species can be of your choice but this bed is mostly made of Black Walnut. Used was approximately sixty five board feet. Six board feet of maple, and four board feet of Jatoba.
- In the bedhead ends is Maple and Jatoba. Jatoba is a very hard wood that is considered exotic. It's color is very red. Another more easily to obtain wood could be substituted.
- The frame and legs, hidden inside and underneath, is simple framing lumber from a big box store.
- MDF is used under the mattress to support it. two 4x8 foot sheets will be needed.
- An LED RGB strip kit or separate parts are available online. It needs to include three 16 foot LED RGB light strips, a plug in power brick, and an RF transmitter and receiver module.
- Angle iron or aluminum 1.5".
- Many 2" wood screws
- Sixteen 1" x 3/8" lag screws to hold the corner braces together.
- 3/4" mdf for templates
- Tongue oil or other finish of your choice
- Besides the typical shop power and hand tools a router is extensively used and a decent set of carving chisels. Also handy to make the job easier:
- Table saw
- metal cutting saw, grinder, or hacksaw
- planer, hand or power
- drill and electric driver
- ROS sander
- Dremel and carving bits
- 3/8" ogee router bit or other edge choice to taste.
- 1" bowl cutting router bit with bearing.
Wood glue. titebond II was used here.1" bowl router bit with bearing.
The bed's dimensions are best determined by the mattress size. This project was made for a queen sized mattress, thus the 60x80 inch mattress will determine the lengths of the wood used. Thicknesses will be indicated in the descriptive text that follows each step as those could be the same for any bed size.
Step 1: Prep the Wood
The three woods, Walnut, maple, and Jatoba need to be prepared for use. This can be done by hand or machine. Of course it's easier by machine. The wood needs to be cut to length and width after planing. The Walnut for the bed frame is finished to 1 1/4" thick and all other sections, besides the headboard frame finished to 3/4" thick. The headboard frame is a full 2" in width. The length of the wood is determined by the size of the bed desired. This one is a queen size. To find the dimensions go by the size of the mattress.
Step 2: Frame Fabrication
The bed has a walnut frame that is able to be disassembled. It will be lined with a spruce frame and held together with aluminum angles and lag screws. There are many ways to assemble beds. This is one of the simpler, easier, and less expensive ways. It's also one that takes a bit more time to disassemble/assemble should the bed need to be moved frequently. Quick disconnect bed hardware is available from woodworking specialty stores should one desire to investigate those options.
Cross members are assembled in notches cut into the bed frame sides. The legs are placed strategically to add good support and lift the bed off the floor. The legs need to be located away sufficiently from the edge as to not to be seen while standing in the room, yet still far enough apart to provide support even if someone is sitting on the edge of the bed.
'Wings' will be around the sides and foot of the bed perimeter (in a later step). These wings need support. In this case 'knees' are made and placed periodically around the bed perimeter to provide this support. The knees are 1 1/2" walnut. The curve is decoratively routed on the outer edges.
Incidentally, knees is a term used in boat building. They are shaped similarly to the ones on the bed and you'd find them against the bulkhead and holding up the deck of the wooden ship.
Step 3: Wings
The walnut wings will attach to the frame and on top of the knees.
Near the head end of the bed the wings flare out. Each wing has a routed decorative edge using an ogee router bit. The flared, wide part has a bowl cut out to be used as a sort of side table to keep rings, glasses, and smart phones. This is accomplished by using a bowl cutter router bit. A pattern template is fabricated on the bandsaw that mimics the shape of the upper end of the wing but smaller. The router follows the pattern to get the outline. From there a simple, one use jig is made that allows the router bit to float over it and clean out the center of the bowl cut. A little sanding and the bowl of the wing is complete. To make the same cut on the other wing the template needs to simply flipped over to mirror the same cut.
Step 4: LED Lighting and Final Frame Assembly
The underneath of the wings on the sides and foot of the bed will sport a configurable LED RGB strip. These devices are available for mail order at many places online. They can be had as separate components or a kit. Needed is two 16 foot strips, a controller transmitter and receiver, and a power supply.
A half inch groove is routed on the inside edge of the underside of the side wings and bed footer wing. The strips come pre-glued after peeling off a protective strip. The LED strips are cuttable every four inches. A connector can be soldered onto the end. Everything is color coded, so if you can solder then the wiring is self evident. The LED strips can then be plugged into one another so that the bed can be disassembled and the frame parts separated to move it. After reassembling the frame the strips are then plugged into each other.
After the installation of the LED lights the wings are glued onto the knees and the top of the frame.
Step 5: Bedhead
The bedhead is a bit complex. It can be redesigned to fit ones taste. This one has five panels. The outer two are maple, the inner two are jatoba, and the center panel is walnut. The center panel also has an iris carved in it. This carving can be skipped of course if one wants to. Or it can be changed to another figure. The carving does add a nice variety to the large surface as does the different colored and grained woods. The cuts and number of pieces of panel and frame can vary depending on your design preferences but they follow a simple commonality. The styles and rails (vertical and horizontal frame pieces) are simply thick pieces of walnut with 3/4" grooves cut in them to accept the 3/4" thickness of panel. All pieces are fit together, glued, and clamped. Pocket hole screws with plugs are put in the backside of the bedhead to assist with stability over time.
The iris carving is a matter of your desire and confidence to tackle it. You'll need a good, sharp, set of carving chisels. It could also be done with a dremel and some good bits for it. This part of it is an art project for consideration should you desire to attempt it. I should tell you though that of the woods used here the walnut is the best choice as maple is very hard, but possible to carve and jatoba is a very poor option as even though it has a nice reddish color, it is extremely hard and if nothing else will dull your chisels after a few cuts.
The most notable accent on the bedhead and in my mind gives it an oriental effect is the curved top bar. To make it one needs a piece of walnut wide enough to accommodate the curve.
The curve can be achieved in many ways but I chose to bend and secure a strip of hard wood. Choosing one without knots and a fairly uniform grain will ensure an even curve. The strip was screwed to the bench with a piece of paper beneath it. The curve then was traced on the paper, transferred to the piece of walnut and then cut out on the bandsaw. A french curve was used to make a flaired up-cut on the ends. Three blocks of wood screwed into the top of the bedhead provided a spacer between the bedhead and the accent piece.
Two legs of spruce are attached to the rear of the bedhead and will be screwed to the frame.
The finish that you are seeing in some of the pictures is very simple. After sanding to at least 220 grit sandpaper you can simply wipe on tongue oil. It's protective, easy to apply, and looks particularly good on walnut of which is the predominant wood used. Of course any other good type of finish can be applied also.
Step 6: Finished Bed With LED Light Video
This woodworking project is a bit formidable for many people but with patience and perseverance and a decent shop of tools, it can be done. Take your time and use your head. You'll need to make your own measurements but you start off with the mattress size and go from there. Many possibilities for design variation can be made. I hope this gave you some ideas and direction in producing something like this.
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