Platform Bed

Written by Perky Alsop on May 07, 2013 | Permalink

A year ago we got an email inquiry about a platform bed. Mike and I have been wanting to add a bed frame to our line of furniture (never mind to our bedroom), so Mike set up a meeting to discuss ideas, easy in this case because the inquirer lives in neighboring Norridgewock, Maine.

Client’s design parameters:

  • wood species native to Maine
  • frame for a king size mattress
  • heavy solid stock
  • no box spring, bed platform to be no more than 1’ from floor
  • clearance for vacuuming under bed
  • sideboards to be no more than 5” high, want to be able to sit on the bed from any side, without interference from the frame
  • no footboard, maybe a headboard in the future
  • no laminations or glued permanent joints, no metal fasteners, traditional joining (mortise & tenon, dowels, etc) throughout

And so began a conversation over email with drawings, comments, questions, more drawings, until we arrived at a final design. A final design which is uniquely versatile. This bed can include a footboard and/or headboard of nearly any design — wood panels, taped panels, slats, shelving, ant farms, aquariums, etc., pretty much whatever you want. It can be made in all our offered woods and its elements can be proportionately adjusted for different sizes.

This design also solves issues inherent with bed construction, i.e. how to ship easily, how to assemble easily, how to offer strength and stability yet retain grace and clean lines.

Let’s take a look at the skeleton, so to speak.

First come the 4 maple posts (the entire bed is made from Maine rock maple), each made from 4” square solid stock, slotted in 2 directions and beveled at the bottom. Next come 1 3/4” maple planks which lock into the slotted joints of the posts. Using half-lap joints, these planks create a grid for a stable and strong base. The bed cantilevers out over the posts. There are no metal fittings, the strength comes from the joinery and can be assembled/disassembled without tools.

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Next comes a maple tongue and groove platform made from 3/4” planks held secure within a frame and pinned to the grid below. Allowance is made for seasonal movement of the wood due to changes in humidity.

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And finally come the side rails, each slotted for the matching outside dovetail cleats and held securely with a locking key for each cleat. These rails are bird’s eye maple. From an eye height of 5’ 5” the posts remain hidden until 7 feet out from the bed, creating a “floating” effect.

Take note, this particular bed has no foot or headboard, but since the frame members have dovetailed ends, a headboard/footboard can be designed to slide onto these dovetails the same way as do the side boards. Versatility!

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Time to deliver. We disassembled the bed and slid all the parts into the back of our van. It now sits reassembled in its Norridgewock home.

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And there you have it, our new platform bed design. Something to think about for all of you out there like us, still waiting on a bed frame. We have a temporary (going on 10 years) structure made from spruce 2 x 10s — a (very) rough early proof of concept. Before that milk crates!

Our next show is coming up:
July 26 – 28, 2013
The Maine Crafts Guild 38th Annual Directions Show
Mount Desert High School
Route 233
Mount Desert, Maine

Hope to see you there! All the best, Mike and Perky