Bunkbed

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Last winter I decided to make a bunkbed for my son.   The two beds would be in a corner of the room, one under the other, but they would run along different walls.  So you could roll off the top bed, and onto the bottom.  There would be minimal structure underneath the bed, so it would be easy to put stuff there (or walk under it). 

I went to the local lumber yard and purchased some birch.  I chose birch, mainly because I have a nice Ikea desk built out of birch.  Seems solid, and for a hardwood not too expensive. 

I planed, sanded and cut the wood to size.  First is the bedframe.  This would consist of joined segments of 1" thick birch, using a 45-degree join.  

The two pieces of wood are joined along the 45-cut with little tenons/biscuits, like this:

I then round the edges with the router. 

I also used wood glue in the 45-degree join.  After that, we put the slats in with tenons.  I decided to have the lengths of the bedframed unglued, so that I could take the bedframe apart in the future.  Now I'm thinking maybe that was a waste of money and effort.  But as you can see, there's little metal bolts in the corner holding it together with a 90-degree piece of metal in the corners. 

The next major element of the bed is the ladder. This is one of the primary load-bearing elements of the bed.  The ladder and the wall-mounts will carry almost all the weight. 

Gluing the ladder together.  I'm using 2" thick birch for the ladder. 

At this point the project was put on hold because we decided to buy a house.  Several months passed and we have moved into the house.  But this introduced a problem.  The bedroom my son is to sleep in is much larger than the room he had when we were renting.  So the bedframes will not be able to be braced securely-enough with only the ladder and wall mounts, as one would only contact a wall on a single side.  So I had to make an end-table for the bed, and introduce a leg into the bed design. 

Building the table.  This is 2" thick birch, about 8" wide per piece.  I decided to use 5 pieces, but in the end maybe 4 would have been better.  The table itself (not counting the leg) turned out to be about 120 pounds. 

Installing the bunkbed in the room.  The leg you can see is a 2" thick piece of birch, with three 3.5" holes drilled through.  This lets the leg be used as a primitive ladder.  The table is joined to the leg and the wall mounts via tenons. The leg is screwed into the floor. 

 Here is the bunkbed, essentially complete.  The bed-frame is screwed into the leg, wall-mounts and ladder.  The ladder is also screwed into the floor for added stability.  I can bounce up and down on the bed and the birch deflects less than 1mm.   I used a very mild "natural" stain and two layers of clearcoat. 

m.okwengu's picture

I still cannot believe how strong it is Ryan. Looks great!