Posted by Chris on July 3, 2011

Here are some drawings - plans for the bed I am building.

The bed as it will look.

Added footlocker on the right, where the mattress is shorter.

Mattresses removed, and slats removed on the left.

Headboard on the right removed.



Posted by Chris on July 4, 2011

Here is the wood collected at Home Depot.

After a day of toil (peppered with some relaxation and another trip to Home Depot), here is one of the beds. The other is in a different room.

A look at the joints. To support the 2x6 rails I used a pair of (6") carriage bolts. These will need periodic tightening since the wood is quite green. To connect the cross-ways boards, I have used cross dowels. Perhaps I'll add a better photo, but these were a pain in the butt to do properly. You can see the hole for one on the left photo. One change from the drawings is that the bottom 2x4 on the right has beed rotated 90 degrees for sturdidity.

And finally, I chucked the mattress on the frame. I didn't take a picture, but I put down the slats and realxed a spell.


Staple Gun

Posted by Chris on July 6, 2011

Today's progress was getting a staple gun and stapling a string to the slats to hold them roughly in place. I actually shopped around for some nylon straps but decided they weren't worth the money. The slats on the ends are held in place by bolts that are fixed to the slats, and fit into clearance holes in the support rails. There are 12 1x3 slats spaced by 4".

These are the cross-dowels. Not sure this was the right decision not having a drill press. The holes were a pain to line up since drilling a straight hole is hard. I ended up drilling the holes a bit large for the dowels, which made them wiggle an akward amount. Also the wood is pretty green so the holes weren't necessarily very clean.



Posted by Chris on July 14, 2011

I've done a couple of things since my last post, mainly centered around the headboards. I bought some 1/2" plywood for the headboards, and you can see them here. I've separated them into two main panels, the upper of which will be upholstered, and the lower of which will be hidden by the mattress. We let the headboard be a bit narrower than the mattress so the post would be exposed.

This next picture shows what I've done to block off the "hole" left by the narrower headboard. I realize the angle of the photo starts to feel Escher-y, but it's pretty square. Don't worry.

And finally here's a look behind to see what's holding it all up. The lower panel stand on the support beams using angle brackets. Turns out this isn't quite as sturdy as I'd like it, so I'll reinforce it somehow. To connect the two panels, I've used a couple of cast-offs from the slats and some hinges I found in one of my junk drawers. The lower panel is just attached to the slat with drywall screws, but for the upper one I've used bolts since I won't have access to the other side once the upholstery's on there. The upper part of the headboard is attached in a similar way, withouth the hinge.


Trim, Stain and Headboards Again

Posted by Chris on July 17, 2011


So time to add the trim going around the bed, hiding the ugly guts of the thing. The first thing I had to do, which I didn't do earlier due to a lack of a bore bit for my drill, was bore out holes to sink the bolts below the surface. So the boards could sit on top. There it is.

Then I cut all the boards, and stuck them on the posts like this. Pictured is one of the corners in all its glory. I didn't take a picture of the outer corners because they didn't line up all that well, and I find this a bit embarrassing. Though it's pretty clear I'd do better if I had some proper tools!

Finally, here's the setup on one corner with a mattress. The final mattress (which is coming on Friday) will be 3 or 4 inches higher, so the trim will sit well below it.

Stain (making a silk purse out of a sow's ear)

The kindly fellow at the hardware store recommended "ZAR", so that's the one we picked up. It's "English Walnut." I couldn't help but find it a bit odd to paint one wood the colour of another. Kind of like gold-plating.

Of course there was a fair bit of sanding. We decided to sand the doug fir frames, but not the knotty pine trim. The knotty pine had a pretty smooth finish already, and sanding just seemed to generate scratches that showed up pretty vivdly in the stain. We did a fair few experiments. We also bought some wood conditioner so the stain wouldn't turn out so blotchy, but it didn't seem to help much so we ditched it.

And the kitchen seemed like the best place to do this, with its highly moppable floors.


And a bit more progress was made on the headboard. We stuck the foam on there, and some fabric. You might see the bolts coming through in the photo - these are to fix it to the frame. This was pretty straightforward - kind of like wrapping a present with a staple gun.



Posted by Chris on July 21, 2011

So the stain took a long time to dry since the wood absorbed quite a bit. It looks pretty good, I think, despite the dire warnings on the web. So I'm pretty happy. Here's how it looks, though we're still waiting for the mattresses, which will make the surface a few inches higher. I should probably include a shot of how I attached the headboards at the top - basically made wooden widgets to take the bolts and screw into the frame.

Here also are the updated plans - file and image:



Posted by Chris on October 29, 2011

I thought it might be fun to experiment with some custom lighting for the bed. I picked out some LED strips from Digikey, going for a warm white. The idea was to mount them along the top of the headboard so as to be kind of ambient and light indirectly.

I also thought it would be most beneficial to have a dimmer, plus I have a couple of panels on the bed I'd been reserving for just that purpose - so I bought a knob from Radio Shack (switch plus dimmer) and rigged up an LM555 circuit like this to dim the LEDs using pulse width modulation (PWM). Works pretty good. The electrical tape, by the way, is temporary while the lighting scheme passes through committee. You might also be able to see that the strips are now held on by electrical tape!

Though I have no idea how to properly photograph this thing, here are a couple of shots at high and low settings. The PWM circuit goes from about 5% to 95%. I think I will eventually use a microcontoller and have access to the whole range and also to do fancier things.


I have installed my Arduino to give the full range of PWM, and also to accept control from two different knobs, one on either side of the bed. The microcontroller watches for one knob to move, and then gives it control of the light level. Here is the code. The light gets noticeably brighter!