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Bed design help7/13
I have finally been asked to build some actual furniture again (well, its still a box, but HEY!) They want drawers below. Im wondering if the sizes and thicknesses I have chosen for the rails will support 2 adults (maybe some kids and a dog on the weekends) without deflection. Material will be hard Maple (paint grade) Mid span gets "U" shaped steel beam with cutoffs of angle iron let in and screwed into head and foot board. Connection type will be hook type doo dad mortised into rail end and face of head and foot panels
By the way, the matress is 14" thick (thats right, 14" thin) which sits in 1" lip. drawers are omitted in drawing for clarity. Looks like a racking might need to be addressed also?
Instead of trying to build one BIG box that will support both drawers and the bed platform, I took a different approach.
I built a king-size platform bed this way. (I have also used this method on smaller beds as well.) I built 8 cabinet boxes that each held one or more drawers. I then fastened them side-by-side into two groups of 4 boxes each. The groups are placed back-to-back to form a very solid base. On top of this base I placed a "tray" to hold the mattress. The tray consists of 3/4" plywood with a solid wood lip (about 3/4" high and well-rounded to be smooth on the user's legs) that keeps the mattress from sliding off the tray. The tray also extends over the front of the cabinet boxes by about 3-4". (Think of a recessed toe-kick here. You don't want anyone stubbing their bare toes while trying to climb into bed.) I used biscuits and pocket-screws to hold two pieces of plywood together since any mattress above a twin-size will require two sheets of plywood.
With the king-size bed, the cabinet boxes were quite long. I used extra-length side-mount drawer slides. If I remember correctly the drawer boxes are 30" deep. This left some space between the backs of the two groups. I covered this up with a piece of plywood attached on the sides of the cabinet boxes at the foot of the bed. This gives a much nicer look to the foot of the bed than seeing box sides, and also keeps the box groups in alignment during assembly. (If you were clever, you could put a door in the middle and have a place to store a fishing pole or other long object.)
Since there were to be night-stands near the head of the bed on each side, I stopped the drawers short of them. I built a simple 4-sided box frame that attached to the head-end of the 2 groups that support the tray. I used a few counter-sunk screws to attach the tray to the top of the cabinet boxes. (Be sure to counter-sink the screws so they do not tear the mattress material.) It does not move around at all and is quite stable. I believe we only used 4 screws.
The result is a very strong platform bed with lots of very big drawers for storage under the bed. Entire blanket sets, sheets, and comforters easily fit.
There was no headboard on this particular bed. But, one could be built and attached to the head end of the two groups of cabinets, or as part of the fillers (next to the nightstands) at the head. Or, your customer might attach a headboard to the wall. (I personally don't like that option, but I am not the customer.)
The dimensions can be virtually anything you want. I started by determining the desired top-of-mattress height, and working backwards. In your case, take that height, subtract 14" for the mattress, then subtract 3/4" for the plywood tray, then you have your cabinet box height. For determining the drawer-length, consider how much space is in the bedroom so the drawers can open fully.
I used frameless boxes for the cabinetry. I would imagine that face-frame boxes would work as well. I did not add a toe-kick underneath the 8 boxes. This takes advantage of the maximum storage space under the bed. Just be sure to leave some clearance underneath the drawer-fronts so the drawers open without hitting the floor.
One advantage of this design is on moving day. The only large piece to move is the mattress tray. The cabinet box groups are broken down into single cabinet boxes. The foot is a single piece. There are no long, extra-heavy duty support pieces; no steel-beam required. In fact, the only "steel" that is present is in the screws, the drawer-slides, and the drawer pulls.
I checked through my notes to see if there was a diagram available. None found. But I did determine that it was built in 2005 and I know it is still working fine. :-)
I found some more notes. There are three (3) boxes on each side (not the 4 I thought). One of the boxes has two drawers in it. The others have single drawers.
Also, that 4-sided box I mentioned at the head: think of a box with an open top and open bottom. The "width" of the box is the distance between the wall and the first box. The "length" is the distance from the left to the right side of the bed. For a king that is a little bit short of 80" (depending on what recess distance is used to prevent the toe-stubbing mentioned in the previous post.) The main purpose of the 4-sided box is to support the mattress tray. But it also helps to keep things (think small animals, dust bunnies, etc.) from underneath the bed. And it helps to align the box groups in the correct position with each other and from the wall before placing the mattress tray on top.
For ease of moving, the 4-sided box could be assembled with RTA fasteners or pocket screws on site. Then it would be screwed to the sides of the first two boxes. We used 3/4" sheet stock for this, and all of the cabinet boxes. We used 3/4" solid stock for the lip on the tray. The drawer fronts can be whatever standard materials you decide. The point is: no angle iron, or other thick stock is needed.
I did not find any diagrams, so I created a quick SketchUp conceptual diagram (not to scale!!!) that should help illustrate my textual descriptions. The assembly on the left shows the 6 cabinet boxes, the footer, and the 4-sided support box at the head. The unit on the right includes the mattress tray.
Thanks for the lengthy input. I think I get it. I think this will work great. Slats vs. ply...Seems I have a tendency to over-think things.
Chris (err... sherlock?)
I think you do have the idea.
The addition of a ladder base underneath is a good idea to easily raise the boxes off the floor. I like that. The ladder base is also easy to level before the boxes are added in case the floor is not perfectly flat.
Now, slats vs. plywood: Why all of the extra labor? Also, the diagram you have makes it look like the mattress would not be completed supported. If I remember correctly, slats were used to support the box spring years ago. Then, the box spring supported the entire mattress. Therefore, the mattress would be completely supported from underneath. I am concerned that not doing so would damage the mattress.
Also, remember you still want to have some sort of lip to keep the mattress from sliding off. With a box spring the friction between the cloth materials keeps the mattress in place. With a platform bed you will need some type of physical constraint.
I still like the plywood mattress tray for its simplicity and lower labor costs. The only concern that may arise is moving a large tray in and out of the house. But it is only about 1.5" thick at most and even a king-size easily fits through a standard doorway. You might need to tilt it a bit. Also, check out very narrow and sharp hallway corners. If you need to travel up a small elevator to a condo unit, then be sure to measure the elevator cab, or check out the stairwell. At worst, you might need to construct it in two halves for transport, then fasten it to the box tops to make a single piece. (I would put the splice down the center from head to foot so there would be no splice in the lip where someone was climbing into the bed.)
Also, regarding the large tray, don't be taken in by someone saying: "well, if you can get the mattress down the hallway and into the room, then that plywood tray should fit." Maybe. Maybe not. Remember that the mattress IS thicker than the tray, but the mattress can BEND a bit to get around corners. The tray will not. :-(
Charles, I really like your idea and description. Having done a fair amount of moving lots of people being able to take a king apart is crucial. I'd even look into a way to take your tray apart for the reason like curved stars etc. you mentioned. BTW it seems your design is crying for "secret" compartments for that "fishing pole" LOL.
I think the ladder underneath can help if it can be taken apart for moving at least down to a twin size (king = 2 twins).
However, the other type of move - is "lets rearrange the room and move the bed over by the other window" i.e. slide it around without taking it apart. For this reason I don't see leveling before assembly worth it. This thing will be very heavy so some glides on the ladders to help slide it around might be good. Most beds only touch the floor in 4-6 points I think.
The slats are merely an attempt to allow for some air circulation. The lip is something the clients don't want for some reason. The couple is around 80 and they are moving into a retirement home by the way
An interesting design but think about strength and things entering or falling into the drawers.
This would be nice but are you guys not concerned with air circulation?
Air circulation? Where? For the mattress?
With a standard mattress and box spring set, the mattress gets air on the top and 4 sides (through the sheets and blankets, of course). The bottom of the mattress is not exposed at all. The bottom is in complete contact with the box spring. With a platform bed, the same exposure exists.
Or, is there something else that needs air circulation? What am I missing?
Well, I was under the impression air should be able to get to the bottom of the mattress. Just seems right. Perhaps I'm wrong. Ive seen that most beds have slats vs. solid sheetgood.
What I meant by slats (I said 1x2 but I meant 1x4)
I will be posting in the near future with some progress pics. Here the final version
Did you leave enough room at the head of the bed to open the drawers if the clients have nightstands?
Another thought about the nightstands...
A floating shelf (or a carefully designed support) mounted on the wall next to the bed could serve as a nightstand. The drawer would simply open underneath it. The shelf might block some access to the drawer contents, but maybe not too much?
We usually do 4 drawers with the one at the head a dummy or working if the client really wants it. The first one of these beds I made was for myself and I have one big drawer that I can't really use because of the nightstands which I can't get rid of because they have sentimental value for my wife.
thought Id share the project...not necessarily in its entirety so next time someone else doesn't have to re-invent the wheel. I went with a full overlay and added panel as a footboard. The drawer fronts/frame around mattress/footboard/toekick was high gloss white CV over MDF. The bed sat on a frame the same way a cab sits on a frame which is usually how I make my cabinets
frame supports bed
2 boxes in pre fin Maple edgebanded except top which got the hardwood
attach hardwood edge and slides
Make notches at bottom of box (they wanted soft close without pulls) and round over
Screwed the boxes together after a back was applied to each box. Here's the only pic I have of the finished bed...iphone. Room was way to small to get a good pic.
2 pcs of 1/2" pre fin maple ply went on top of the boxes for full mattress support
In answer to your original question, yes, two rails 5" deep x 1 1/4" thick will support a queen size bed.
Most of the beds of this sort I've done, I put in a center post leg on a removable strut, and join two pieces of 3/4" shop maple over it. I actually use 5/4 sides (1 1/16" finished) and their support is fine, it's just that I need the post for the underlayment.
I spend my time making enclosed wheels for the drawers and roll them directly on the floor. That way, you can pull them all the way out if you want to get to the back. Drawer slides on bed drawers always seemed somehow wrong to me. YMMV.
One advantage of this design is on moving day. The only large piece to move is the mattress tray. The cabinet box groups are broken down into single cabinet boxes.