Timber Sizing for a Bed Frame


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Established Member
30 Oct 2003
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Cambridge, UK
I'm hoping to get to the Good Timber Show tomorrow and it seems like a good opportunity to get the wood that I will need for my next project which is to build a couple of beds for the guest rooms.

The requirement is for a 5’ double bed that can be split and used as two 2’6” singles. I was planning on using premade laminated beech slats like these and fit these to a simple beech frame. Now normally a frame like this sits in or on the base and the legs are attached to the base. Because I want to be able to join the two halves I plan on putting the legs on the frame and having removable side panels. This means that the frame will be responsible for transferring the weight of two adults to the legs. The question is, what size timbers should I use to ensure that the whole ensemble doesn’t collapse at an inappropriate moment.

I was reckoning on two side pieces of 3”x2” with end pieces of something like 3”x1”, the 3” dimension being the height. Then screw the slats between the sides and brace with a couple of diagonals at each corner on which to attach the legs so that the legs are set back and are not exactly on the corners of the frame.

The side panels (probably veneered MDF) will then just clip to the sides so that they can easily be removed to join the two halves together to make a double.

I will also be making a 4’6” double to the same design for the other room.

Is my timber sizing OK, or overkill? Are there any references for the structural strength of timbers that I could use to prevent an embarrassing incident with guests?