The Beds

So far I have made three beds, two king size and one double.

The first one was started because we had a very good quality mattress on an old pine bed frame in a spare bedroom. My eldest son rang one day to relieve so of the frame, so instead of buying a new one we decided on a similar “rustic” design to one we had seen in Harrogate.

The one in Harrogate was very high quality wood, American Oak etc, but was LOTS of money.

After looking at available timber I decided on one where the main frame was new scaffolding planks, the legs were battens from between packs of timber at our local timber merchants and the slats were my old fascia boards that I had only recently replaced.

The finished cost was approximately £100 and the time taken was about a week, I hade some of the bits I needed and being retired I had no need to rush.

The whole thing was made using a cheap Screwfix tablesaw and hand tools.

All three beds were essentially the same design, the main variation being the frame size to suit the mattress to be used and the style of headboard.

I looked up on line the range of mattress sizes I would need and then added  20 mm to each dimension. On reflection I would add a little more in future to make adding bedding easier, possibly 50mm, but it works so far.

Photo 1


Sizes and Dimensions Used

the bed described here is a Superking size, 2000 x 1800, the only sizes changed were to accommodate any different mattress size and possibly any variation in bedhead requirements.

A point to beware of before starting is that the mattress is supported on slats. The tops of these slats need to be a small distance below the tops of the main rails so that the mattress is retained all round. I chose 25mm but this can vary if required.

The bottom of the lower rail of the bedhead (Not the main frame rail, the one above) ideally needs to be slightly below the top of the mattress to retain the pillows, again this is not critical, just space them to suit.

The timber sizes I used were :

scaffolding planks – nominally 225mm x 38mm, available in various lengths. And other thicknesses. Cut down by 38mm for supports.

legs – 75mm x 75mm, lengths to suit leg lengths. See construction details.

slats – 70mm x 20mm, cheap pine so wider used, could be narrower for better timber, alternate is proper curved slat sets available on line.

side/end slat supports –  38 x 38mm off cuts from the scaffolding planks.

centre slat support – same as slats, could be different if needed.

Connecting Details

The ends were joined using glue and screws through the legs and into the bed head and footboard, these were then plugged. I first tried dowels but these lacked rigidity.

The sides were joined to the ends with steel angles and threaded inserts. The angles were permanently joined to the ends with three screws, while the threaded inserts went into the main side pieces.


This is how I made my beds, yours may differ of course.

I chose to have the base of the mattress at 425mm from the floor. If yours is different adjust the legs to suit.

I chose to have the side rails flush with the inside faces of the legs. These could be outside or central, but this affects the space for the mattress.

Measure the mattress sizes and thickness and have these dimensions to hand. Mine was 2000 x 1800 x 250 approximately.

Cut the legs to length, I chose 450mm and 1000mm.

Cut the two main side pieces down by 38mm along the lengths and cut to the finished lengths. Mine were 2040mm.

Cut the two main end pieces down by 38mm along the lengths and cut to the finished lengths. Mine were 1840mm.

The offcuts are the slatupports. The scaffolding boards could be left full size but Ithought this looked too big in proportion to the rest of the bed.

Cut the 38mm side slat supports down to the same dimensions as the main side rails. Position these 45mm down from the top of the main side rails and 38mm in from each end. Screw in place (remember, these hold the main weight of the mattress, slats etc, use plenty of screws) – see photo 2.

Photo 2


Now place the angle connectors on the ends of the main side rails, mark the size of the angles onto the slat support and cut the slat support away (essentially a slot) so that the angles can fit completely on the ends of the side rails – see photos 3 and 4. These are not the same bed but show the principle. The triangular wood pieces were added to the second bed as reinforcement.

Photo 3

photo 4


Cut the main end rails to size. Mine were 1840mm. Add the slat supports but make these the same length as the main end rails. These aren’t strictly necessary to carry the weight but I had the material and it looked better.

Cut the two (or however many you use) bedhead pieces to length, same as the main end rails.

Lay out the two long legs, the headboard pieces and one main end rail. Position the main rail top at 450mm from the base of the legs with the support inboard. Position the  base of the lower of the headboard rails just below the mattress top and the other one just slightly below the leg tops (I chose 25mm ). Mark the positions, glue and screw into place. Don’t forget to sink the screw heads if you want to plug them. Check that everything is square and flat.

Layout the two short legs and the other main end rail, with the rail top flush with the tops of the legs – NOTE: if you want the short legs above the main end rail, just cut them longer. Mark, square up, glue and screw etc, as for the bedhead.

Make the connecting angles. I used 30 x 30 x 3mm steel angle because I had some spare. In future I would use bigger angle, but not too thick, even folded 3mm steel would be OK. These go at the ends of the main side rails under the slat supports, a distance of nominally 162mm. If you want these longer then cut the main end rail slat supports back 38mm at each end, as the main side rails. This will give you a length of  20mm. Mark off for three screw holes in each face, taking care to avoid the main side rail slat supports if you have gone for longer angles. I chose M6 threaded wood inserts so I made the holes 8mm diameter in the faces that go against the main side rails and to suit the screws used in the end faces (use good thick screws!). Use M6 screws, flat washers and spring washers (I used M6 x 20 Socket Head screws). Make sure you have two pairs of angles. Pre-fabricated connectors can be bought but these seemed quite flimsy compared with the angles.

When the ends are completely glued and set position the two ends and side rails and mark for the connecting angles. I laid a main side rail on a flat floor with the slat support uppermost and positioned and supported the bedhead and foot assemblies in the appropriate positions. The angles were dropped in place and the hole positions transferred to the ends and sides. I drilled the holes to suit and put the threaded inserts in place, added the M6 screws, tightened them slightly and inserted the wood screws for the ends. The whole lot was then checked for squareness and the process repeated for the other side.

The ends and sides were assembled and squared, followed by a central slat support front to back on the bed. This was the same size as the slats. I cut this to suit the main end rail distance with cutouts for the slat supports and then secured it into position with small end blocks.

The slats were positioned along the length of the supports and the gaps equalised. These were then screwed into position, including a few screws into the centre support. I marked each slat with a number and marked the positions along the supports to make reassembly easier. Alternatively two straps could be secured front to back to retain the slats as an assembly.

When all was finished, the bed was disassembled into the main components, the leg screw holes plugged and the whole bed sanded. I used stain and wax to give the required finish. See photo 5.

Photo 5


Author: trebor

I am a retired engineer who likes to keep busy with various projects. I am married with two grown up children and live in Yorkshire the north of England and have lived in my present house since 1978.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *