I'm not an expert on wood working or furniture building. In fact, I still consider myself somewhat of an amateur. However, wood working for over 3 years now, I have learned a thing or two from my experiences and I feel confident advising for today's entry - plans for an inexpensive Queen size bed frame for a friend of mine. This bed frame is made using 14 pieces of 2x4 wood studs at 8' long. You can buy 2x4s for pretty cheap - about $4 each - which would make the cost of wood for this project $56.
However, aside from the wood You'll also need some other tools and material to get this project made. The first things you'll want do not necessary revolve around this specific project alone, but are probably the most important tools you can have, and that is safety goggles.
Safety goggles and dust masks are not expensive, and are paramount in protecting your eyes and lungs.
There are a few other tools you should have on hand for this, and every project in the future. Here is my list of important tools every woodworker should own before starting their own wood working projects:
A Tape measure. You definitely need one of these for measuring.
Pencils. I prefer mechanical pencils myself, but any pencil should do.
Speed Square. These are great for making 90 degree and 45 degree marks, plus it is super useful for calibrating tools to be perfectly square, such as miter saws, saw tables, circular saws, etc. These are also perfect for making sure that 2 perpendicular pieces of wood are square.
Wood glue. I prefer Titebond, but there are others that would tell you to use Titebond II or III, or Gorilla Glue, or Elmers, etc. This is all up to the user, and one day you can buy them all and test them out for yourself. But I can say that as a beginner, you'll be just fine with this specific glue.
Power drill/driver. Almost everybody has one of these, and they usually come with a flat head/Phillips driver bit and some drill bits. I personally have 2 drivers, one that has a battery and one that is corded. I love my corded driver pictured below - it was cheap, and it's super powerful. Drilling through pieces of wood, especially 2x4s, can drain a battery pretty quickly. So I primarily use my corded driver for drilling into wood and I use my cordless-battery powered driver for driving in screws.
You'll also probably want to get a drill bit countersink set.
Countersinks create a larger hole around the drilled area so that when you screw in screws to your work piece, the screw head sits flush, or below the surface of the wood.
And when it comes to screws I almost always use drywall screws. If you choose to use drywall screws for this job you'll want 1 1/4" and 2" drywall screws.
I have these screws in many sizes, and I always feel these are the best screws to use. Next - power saws. And there are 2 I suggest, a circular saw...
...and a jig saw. Both have their pros and cons. The circular saw can cut large wood pieces quickly. When used with a fence or guide the cuts can be perfectly straight. But you can not make curved, or detailed cuts with a circular saw. The jig saw is a lot slower, but can still make straight cuts when used with a fence. The main advantage of a jig saw is the ability to make curved cuts easily. In my opinion both are essential, but if you're tight on money or don't want 2 saws, I'd go with the jig saw.
Lastly, clamps. There are 2 I primarily use: Irwin Quick-Grip Bar Clamps, and...
...and Harbor Freight Quick Release Bar Clamps. The Irwin clamps are super, but are definitely expensive. The Harbor freight clamps are also super, but cost around $4 each (for the 6").
Next are my suggestions on tools for this specific job. A Kreg Pocket Hole Jig. Below is a picture of the very first pocket hole jig I owned, and this thing did a super job.
First you set the jig to match the thickness of the material you'll be drilling into. The image below shows "3/4"", but for this specific project it should be set to 1 1/2".
Next you set the drill bit stop to the same thickness.
Then you clamp the jig to the piece you'll be drilling into.
The back edge of the jig should be flush with the work piece.
Then you drill your pocket holes using the 2 holes in the jig.
Pocket holes are super strong since the screw goes diagonally through the grain of the wood.
And speaking of screws, you'll need a box or two of 2.5" pocket screws for this job. Each small box holds 100 screws, and you'll need roughly 150 for this job.
Next, everyone's "favorite", sanding. I personally have many different sanders, but for this job here I recommend either of these- a random orbital sander, or a mouse sander. Both will get the job done, and like the saws I previously listed, both have pros and cons.
The random orbital sander is more aggressive than the mouse sander and is great for sanding large pieces. However, due to the size of the sanding base and the whole unit overall, it's not easy sanding tight spots. The mouse sander is a less aggressive sander, and is better for sanding smaller pieces - but it can also sand larger pieces as well. The shape of the sanding base and overall size of the mouse makes it easier to sand tight spots - plus on the particular model shown below the base tip can be removed and other attachments can be used, such as a finger attachment and a curved attachment.
Another thing you'll want is some wood filler. I like using Elmers brand wood filler, as it's easy to use, drys quickly and holds up well.
In addition to the filler itself, you'll want a scraper or some kind of applicator - similar to a spackling knife. Lastly I'll talk a little about finishing. Depending on your tastes you may want to stain your piece.
I primarily use Minwax stains and they come in a wide variety of colors. When first learning to stain things I bought samples of many colors to see which I liked best. You can do the same thing for your piece and test each color on scrap pieces of wood before applying to your finished piece. I will warn against using one Minwax product called "Polyshades". This is a stain and polyurethane in one - and although it sounds good, it is not. The consistency is like syrup at times and the color is not constant. Actual stain penetrates the wood and Polyshades simply covers it.
When applying stain I used 2 different applicators - a foam brush...
...or a staining pad. Foam brushes are great since they are cheap and disposable. I usually use brushes on small to medium size builds. On larger pieces I like using a staining sponge (with gloves on).
Another thing you'll need is some rags to wipe the stain after a few minutes. You can use old shirts, socks or underwear, or you can buy rags at the home center.
Again, depending on your tastes you may want to finish your piece with polyurethane. I personally love glossy polyurethane, but it also comes in other finishes like satin or matte.
For applying polyurethane I usually use a decent quality brush. Since polyurethane takes a long time to dry, and you usually apply several layers, I buy several brushes.
For those who don't want to wait hours and days for polyurethane to dry, you can use Clear Coat spray enamel to finish your piece. It will be finished faster - which can be good, but there are some cons. Your piece will smell for a day or two, and you'll need to buy many cans to cover a large piece.
And if you don't care for either stain/polyurethane or clear coat you can leave your piece unfinished, or you can spray paint it any color. It's all up to you!
So those are just a few intro tools that I think you'll need. With any tool it is important to read and follow the instructions. Safety is paramount, so be sure to work in a bright, ventilated space and use safety equipment. Be patient and take your time - rushing will cause mistakes and possibly injure yourself. And don't be afraid to make mistakes - it's one way we learn. If you become frustrated, take a break. And most of all have fun!
Now, with all of that intro stuff out of the way, we can proceed with making the bed frame. Please read the entire plan before assembly. In all my images I color coded each piece. The pieces with the same color are all the same size.
As stated in the beginning of this blog entry, you'll need (at least) 14 2x4 studs at 8-feet long. Click on the image below for a larger picture of the cut list.
For this project you'll be cutting:
2 pieces at 63" (Yellow)
5 pieces at 80" (Red)
18 pieces at 24 3/4" (Green)
18 pieces at 12 1/2" (Blue)
The next step will be to make the 2 sides. Using either pocket holes/screws or regular holes/screws attach one of the red 80" pieces to another red 80" piece, creating an "L" shape. Use glue to attach the pieces and clamp both sides to hold it still. If you're using a pocket hole jig, drill the holes every 6-8 inches apart before gluing. If you're using regular screws, be sure to drill some pilot holes with countersinks first before driving the screws.
Once both sides are done, drill pocket holes onto each end of the green 24 3/4" slats. The way I designed this part calls for pocket holes. If you don't have a pocket hole jig, you can try drilling diagonal holes in each end. Once all the pocket holes have been drilled, glue touching edges and screw them to each side piece and then to the center red piece. Space out your slats as indicated in the image below. Make sure all the edges of the end pieces, center piece and slats on top and bottom are flush.
Next, attach the 2 yellow 63" pieces to the top and bottom of the frame. Use glue. You can use regular screws for this as well. If you are using pocket holes, make sure the pieces that will touch the top and bottom have pocket holes pre-drilled. Make sure the top and bottom are flush with the sides.
Now it is time to make the legs. Use the 18 blue 12 1/4" pieces to make 9 legs. Glue and screw these pieces together. You won't need pocket screws to attach these together - regular screws will be fine - but you will need to make pocket holes on the top of each leg so that the finished legs attach to the bed frame..
When each leg is done, attach 4 of them to each corner using glue and pocket screws. Attach the next 4 to the center beam/slats as pictured below. The last leg should be attached to the center beam where the center slats connect.
And that's it! The frame is together! Now if you feel inclined, you can add some extra wood pieces that connect each leg for some extra strength - but that's totally up to you.
Now it's time to finish the bed however you'd like.
This is a very simple and inexpensive bed frame. My friend Brad asked me to design one for him for his new house - which he'll be moving into this week. I should note that I have not made this bed frame, but I did consult many websites when I came up with this design. One website that is extremely helpful is ana_white.com. She makes excellent looking furniture with complete plans that are easy to understand and follow. I started off making a lot of the furniture she has on her site.
Another great tool to use is Google SketchUp. This is a free 3D program and has been invaluable to me for designing and making all sorts of wood projects. You can download it at sketchup.com.
A week or so later Brad sent me images of his build. He did an excellent job following all the steps I laid out. He started by cutting the wood to size.
I sent him a spare pocket hole jig I had, and he properly adjusted it for cutting into 2x4s...
...and made all the pocket holes he needed.
Then he clamped pieces together and assembled with pocket screws.
The smart guy that he is planned ahead and stained all the pieces before assembly. Then he brought all the pieces inside and began reassembling the frame.
He was also smart enough to take breaks whenever he was tired or hungry...something I had to do a little more.
After a while his frame was assembled.
Unlike me, Brad has hardwood floors, so he bought some felt slides to put under each foot of the bed frame. Very smart.
And then he put his mattress on and he was done!
Here is a clip of our conversation when he finished the bed frame.
So there you have it! Congrats to Brad on making his first bed frame!
Thanks for reading!