Family projects generally take precedence over following my own fancy, so I’ve set the chair project aside for the moment in lieu of making some bunk beds. My youngest has been crashing in the office / guest room since birth, and it’s high time to move her in with her sisters, so you could say this is one part being a good dad mixed with one part “I want my office back.”
Either way, it was about time to give her something a little bit more permanent.
Bunk beds aren’t really that complicated, and looking around for plans on the internet dredges up a host of designs. I was really only looking for two things: something stable and something that wouldn’t take months to build. My daughters also added the caveat that it needed to be “pretty” which upped the ante, but not too much. I finally stumbled across these plans on ana-white.com enough times to take a closer look.
For starters, there are things I don’t like about these bunk beds, like the copious amount of screws and bolts. I don’t mind the pocket screws in the end boards, but the instructions for making the posts just says to screw it all together. I’ve been there and done that and now I know better.
On the other hand, laminating the posts to make the notches for the rails makes sense, and pocket holes or not, those ends aren’t going anywhere once they’re all screwed together, so I decided to give it a go and change a few things as I went along.
After breaking down all of the stock from larger SYP boards I was able to avoid all but a few little knots and imperfections in the wood which will be hidden in the construction. I know a knot isn’t the end of the world and some versions of this bed online seem to be made purely of knots, screws, chalk paint and hope, but I have high standards for stock and if I can do better I will.
I planed the rough edges from the boards and planed the faces of the end-post components to prepare for glue-up. Each post is made of four parts. One 75″ long 2×4, and three shorter sections (10″, 33″ and 18″) that are laminated to the face leaving notches for the side rails. I made a dummy side rail from a cutoff and used that to make sure the spacing was spot on in laminating the rails.
I’m working slow, partly because of my (wonky) heart and partly because of my limited clamp stash, but I hope to work these through and clean them up over the next few days. From there on out it’s a pocket hole frenzy.
I can hear the purists weeping in the eaves as I write this. Even I admit that I could have taken the time to cut some mortises and tenoned the end slats through the posts. Maybe I’ll get to that next time; Like when I’m building a set of bunk beds for my grand kids. In the mean time, I can almost see a new staked desk in that office I’m getting back.