Our new bed – part 1: design…?

Buying a bed is difficult. A much better option is to make one I think. Since the daybed project had gone down better than a glass of Chianti, I decided it was time for a real challenge.
Here are the design constraints: the goal was to make a four poster bed, using only pine wood from Wickes (9x2x240 cm pieces to be exact) and without visible screws. The inspiration was from those dinosaurs of plywood, with interconnecting pieces that need no glue or screws to stay together…

The basic structural design was easy, being basically a rectangular flower box, measured to accomodate IKEA slats inside. P1000691_smallTime to design the feet and the posters soon. Freehand drawing on a Sainsbury notepad was replicated on cardboard in scale, so that it could be transferred on wood using a pencil. The idea is to saw the edges of two pieces of wood that clamp together to create a star-shaped foot. The same design was used for the posters and replicated over and over again, in real minimalistic style. Sadly sawing time was not minimalistic at all, especially because the blessed multitool is running on a battery that lasts at most a poster’s worth. Gosh that was a lot of sawdust too.

20121127_165910Because I trust my creativity more than my actual carpentry – ambitious but rubbish – I wisely decided to make nine feet (one to go in the middle), so between one thing and another it took a week to put all the pieces together. You can see my first non broken foot here! That was a good day.
Once finished, I attached all the feet to perpendicular bars of wood, so that two top-of-the range IKEA slats could fit in the middle. Each of the four side is made ​​of two parallel strips of wood (of the same thickness as those used for the feet), so that the lower level holds the feet and the upper one the posters. You end up with two symmetrical rectangles that will lie on top of each other. The two frames will be screwed together from the bottom, so that you won’t be able to see the screws. Here you can see the lower frame with feet attached and the slats inside:


P1000637_smallHawksey being Hawksey, we needed to start using the bed even with no posters on because there was no chance of moving it around once it was put together. You can see Acciu enjoying her breakfast on a sunny December morning. Notice that the middle legs stick out (one of them later broke) because there will be no post corresponding to it on the upper frame, but it still needs to look the part.  If you click on the picture, there is a good view of one of the corners, which reminds me that their original design had to be revised half way through because I thought it was not solid enough: I wanted the IKEA slats to lie directly on the wood, without screws – you never know if screws will hold in pine wood.

P1000640_smallP1000641_smallAdding the top frame was not easy, as anybody with a better spatial awareness of me may have realised already. Plus the wood wasn’t exactly straight (bad Wickes!), so some chiselling was required to make it fit. In the process, I managed to chisel my right thumb as well which provided a free trip to A&E between a loud burping fat woman and a skinny fellow who kept calling policemen ‘mate’.

Oh, the headboard and the footboard are made by adding another piece of wood in the same way. This time the wood is a bit wider, I think 14 cm or so.

P1000644_smallI was so happy to have been able to put it all together, that on that night I passed on a Rasa dinner. Even though it is way more baroque that I ever intended, and definitely not minimalistic looking. Next time, I will design the posters in a much more streamlined and elegant way, I am afraid that Hawksey was a bit upset about it.

I leave you with a moody picture of the bed in a not so sunny December morning. Here it has been coated with primer already, but choosing the paint job, well that’s another story…


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