Toddler Bed Advice

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

PaxWorks

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Location
Portsmouth
My 2 year old son is about to be evicted from his cot to make room for a new tenant later this year and is in need of a new bed. I'm now in the classic position where the better half has found a picture of what she wants online, and I've volunteered to build it for twice the price and to a timescale that I definitely won't meet.

I've tried to reverse engineer a design for the bed in the picture below, but as I have no further detail than the picture itself and being fairly new to woodworking, I was hoping for some advice on materials and design.

Toddler Bed.png


Materials

For materials, I guessed the pictured piece was likely made from oak, but to keep costs down I was planning to build it from European steamed beech. It's readily available from my local hardwood merchant (Surrey Timbers) but I've never actually worked with it and wasn't sure if that would be a suitable choice? I don't have the machinery to mill rough sawn timber yet, so I would be looking at using 32mm PAR for the frame and 20mm dowel rod from a separate supplier for the bars.

Is there any reason not to used Beech? Is there a better alternative that would still be cost effective?

Design

I've thrown together a design in SketchUp to help get an idea of dimensions (largely dictated by standard mattress sizes) and create a cut-list.

1655374467124.png


The only real change I've made is the feet as I thought it would be easier to extend and add a taper to the stile (if that's even the right term?) rather than make separate pieces for the feet.

I would be planning on using mortice and tenon joinery throughout (which will need some serious practice ahead of time) and I think I have a solution for aligning the dowel rods between the upper and lower rails.

My main questions here are:
1. Would there be any concern about the long rails sagging across that distance and do I need to add any support in the middle?
2. Do I need to add an additional 900mm rail across the width in the middle or will the slats (to be made from plywood) give it enough strength?

Any advice / suggestions on design, materials, or joinery methods would be much appreciated. This will be the biggest furniture project I've done to date that wasn't made entirely from sheet goods and certainly more hand cut joinery than I will have done before, so want to make sure I give myself a decent chance of success from the start.
 
Last edited:

Spectric

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
19 Feb 2015
Messages
4,243
Reaction score
2,304
Location
North Cumbria
If you want it more decorative then use stair rail spindles, just route a rebate and then assemble as if doing a staircase, easier to get the spacings with the infills. Also there is a requirement as to the spacing of these parts so a kid cannot get their head stuck! Providing you make the slats from the right wood and suitable dimensions then there is no reason why they should sag, many beds have slats that just run from side to side although some do have a support running lengthways with a single support leg in the middle. Don't overspace them either as some mattresses do not like the gaps to big.
 

Sandyn

Established Member
Joined
19 Jul 2020
Messages
1,844
Reaction score
1,532
Location
Scotland
I just made a bed for my grandson a couple of weeks ago. The bed was designed around an Ikea mattress. I just bought the slats from Ikea. They are curved and fixed together with tape. Made from 9mm ply on 12cm spacing. £20.
 

TheTiddles

Established Member
Joined
14 Oct 2007
Messages
2,960
Reaction score
784
Location
Wiltshire
If it’s that low to the floor, you don’t need the perimeter at all and climbing over things often makes for a more dangerous condition (like stair gates at the top) than not having them. But if you like the look of that, go for it.

The entanglement opportunities all round are a really bad plan for babies, at two you are probably ok, again they’re some of the extra dangerous things sold to increase safety yet tragically cause the opposite effect, a bit like those plastic things for sockets that defeat the safety features already present.

32mm beech is plenty strong enough for your design as would be any other wood really.

I think the guidance on spindle spacing for cots is 60mm, 100mm for everything else (like balustrades).

If time’s against you, you can pick up what was seriously expensive children’s furniture for peanuts secondhand, it loses value in a staggering way.
 

Terry - Somerset

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2012
Messages
1,284
Reaction score
687
Location
Taunton
I think the rail is too high - low enough for kiddie to clamber over, high enough to give a bump/shock when they do, and higher than necessary to ensure they do not roll out of bed on to the floor.

Possibly a case of attractive design (all in the eye of the beholder) over function!
 

Sandyn

Established Member
Joined
19 Jul 2020
Messages
1,844
Reaction score
1,532
Location
Scotland
Have you considered designing the bed so the sides can be removed as the toddler gets older and too old for a 'baby' bed. It's a full length single bed, so could last for years. For my grandson's bed, I just used this to stop him falling out of bed in the middle of the night. He won't need it for long. He is only 4, but already aware of what kind of bed he prefers. He had grown out of the digger bed
Congratulations on the new tenant 😁
 

Jones

Established Member
Joined
5 Oct 2021
Messages
302
Reaction score
190
Location
Gwynedd
The separate feet pieces shown in the photo provide a lot of support to the joint which will otherwise just rely on the rail fixing on quite a small section. I agree with others that the barriers seem a bit excessive and will prevent you sitting on the edge of the bed when reading and putting the child to sleep. Bed slats can be bought from IKEA very cheap or got off freecycle even cheaper . If you make some I would just use par pine , the cross plies in ply mean it will be weaker than solid in a thin strip.
 

morqthana

Guest
Joined
20 Apr 2022
Messages
387
Reaction score
395
Have you considered designing the bed so the sides can be removed as the toddler gets older and too old for a 'baby' bed. It's a full length single bed, so could last for years.

I was going to say the same thing. The removal of the sides is a "you're a big boy now" milestone.

But our son went straight from a cot into a full sized bed - we bought a guard like the one that Sandyn showed, and decided to only use it if he started falling out of bed. He never did, so it was a waste of money. TBH, as long as there's no furniture nearby for him to smack his head on if he falls out, he won't come to any harm anyway, and learning not to fall out of bed without there being a fence to restrain you is a necessary skill.
 

Richard_C

Established Member
Joined
17 Oct 2019
Messages
970
Reaction score
632
Location
Cambridge
But our son went straight from a cot into a full sized bed - we bought a guard like the one that Sandyn showed, and decided to only use it if he started falling out of bed. He never did
Same here, remember an adult has to attend to child and the bedding so leaning over a fixed rail is back-straining as the child gets heavier. I wouldn't invest much money or time in a bed that will be used for a very short time. Standard ideally low-ish bed by a wall so one side is protected. Nothing to get trapped in, tangled round, lift over or fall on.
 

AJB Temple

Finely figured
Joined
13 Oct 2015
Messages
3,629
Reaction score
885
Location
Tunbridge Wells
By two our son could climb out of a cot, open "childproof" stair gates as if they were not there (and close them behind him if he felt like it), and climb over a farmyard gate for that matter with no problem at all. I seriously suggest all the bars are a waste of time and money. Put the cash into a good quality mattress.
 

PaxWorks

Established Member
Joined
10 May 2018
Messages
21
Reaction score
1
Location
Portsmouth
Thanks all for the advice, much appreciated!

Looking at it with fresh eyes I agree on the points about the sides being restrictive and shortening the useful lifespan of the bed. I think it's back to the drawing board on the design and I might consider just removing the sides all together and using something temporary to prevent rolling out of bed in the short term if needed.
 
Top