Bed 1


This design is merely an open frame using shaped mouldings to try and hide what is just a series of right-angles; unlike a previous model, this was originally conceived without a head-board (though one was added later), and the legs are high enough to accommodate another (single-sized) mattress to slide underneath.

Below are a few screenshots with simple shading to depict different groups of wood, shown initially as glued together, then exploded into their component parts.


Fig 0a : Assembled corner from above outside.


Fig 0b : Assembled corner from below inside.


Fig 0c : Close-up of end of horizontal beams showing 45° cuts in different axes.


Fig 0d : Exploded corner from above outside (without end slat).


Fig 0e : Exploded corner from above inside (without end slat).


Preparation

Given that the cross-section of any piece of wood can vary along its length (cf the intro section on wood), when dealing with mouldings it’s essential to create each triple-unit (left leg, top piece, right leg) from a contiguous piece, so that when cut at 45° the angled faces align properly. To begin with, cut each piece roughly to length, then do the angles; each corner pair (A1 & A2, etc) is then cut at 90° together so that the legs will be square; this doesn’t mean every pair of legs will be the same length, but that’s a different matter.


Fig 1 : Main beams and feet ready for assembly.


Joins

Whether angles are cut manually or by using a mitre rig of some kind, there will always be a bit of ‘give’ in the cut, and not everything will come out at precisely 45°. What’s important here is that rather than assume the cuts are all right and then end up with an exterior angle of less than 90° (Fig 2a, where the red lines indicate an exaggerated divergence), align everything on the outside and minimise by sanding any interior gap, which can be filled later (Fig 2b).


Fig 2a : Bad corner.


Fig 2b : Better corner.

Not seen here is a small piece of paper that was placed under the join so that any glue which leaked out the back wouldn’t glue the frame to the working surface; any paper that’s stuck to the back can easily be pulled off afterwards and the glue smoothed off.


Outer & Inner Frames

How you proceed from here is your choice, but I found it easier to join each triple group of mouldings first, ensuring correct angles, even though it meant they were a bit fragile to start with; it also allowed for any over-cut on the interior frames to be corrected beforehand, or the inner sections can be cut to fit now rather than earlier.

From here, the top moulding is joined to the inner frame, as shown in Fig 3a. I’ve found that spring-loaded clamps are far too strong for use on many woods and often leave dents, so prefer the friction or ratchet kind; as to how to actually clamp the uneven moulding, simply use some off-cuts and reverse them to create parallel surfaces (Fig 3b).


Fig 3a : Clamping outer frame to inner.


Fig 3b : Close up of clamp.


Joining Sides

Once both sides and ends have been glued together, it’s time to join the inner frames to one another, and from now on everything will be done upside-down so that the top is resting on a flat surface, which guarantees it remains level. Unless specialised corner-clamps are available then things are just going to have to be slid into position and maintained with some heavy objects (free weights, books, etc), but this time not only do the sides have to join at 90° to one another, they both also have to be perpendicular to the work-surface as well, and any gap between the edges of the legs must be parallel (the fact there is a gap isn’t important as it will be hidden later, though it should be as small as possible, and the angled part of the inner frame can be sanded to fit); as before, paper is used to isolate the work-surface.


Fig 4 : Fitting side & end together. (Note that the blue weight is actually leaning over the moulding and resting on the inner frame.)


Mattress Slats & Corners

Even when all four corners have been joined, the frame is still quite fragile, but as things are finished off it becomes a lot stronger. First, add a lateral slat to each end (Fig 5, also Fig 7a for all of them); this both reinforces the join between each end and the sides, and provides support for the mattress. How many intermediate slats you have is up to you, but as they won’t be seen I only put in what was necessary to support the weight of a mattress with two dolls on top, rather than trying to create an accurate model of a real bed.


Fig 5 : Adding the end slats.

Fig 6 below shows a completed corner, with the slat also screwed in (drill and countersink the slat’s holes before gluing it in, and then use the holes as guides for drilling into the inner frame, but not too far!). The inner leg quadrant is put into position and held with a weight leaning against it (a fairly light one only, otherwise you’ll force apart the legs), then once that’s in place, the outer quadrant is glued, and held by smaller clamps.


Fig 6 : Leg clamps.

Now that the bed is a lot stronger, it can be given its final sanding, paying attention to all the corners, and any remaining gaps filled with putty (or make your own from sanding-dust and glue, which guarantees the colour will match).


Final Result

Sanded but not painted, as I wanted to leave the wood bare, and rather than try and blend the joins I highlighted them by deliberately using a paler filler which was also used to fill in any grain, though tinting or painting are also options.


Fig 7a : Completed frame.

In real life, the mattress would be hidden by a fitted sheet of some kind, but as with Miyu’s bed a nicely-patterned fabric was chosen for the mattress cover that was thick enough to mask the underlying foam’s bright turquoise colour, and so this was left visible.


Fig 7b : Corner with mattress (made by an upholder to my specifications).


Fig 7c : “We don’t wish to seem ungrateful, but could we have some bed-linen as well?”


30cm Version

Using the same principles, a smaller version was also made, though in this case the inner frame was placed at the bottom of the moulding rather than the top, with the mattress sitting on the inner frame rather than being inside it, with a very tight fit, so the visible edge on top was as thin as possible. The two cross-pieces were placed after everything else was completed, so they’re only held by glue rather than any screws coming in from outside, though they could be stapled from the bottom. Although far out of scale, large quadrants were used for the inside corners to provide extra support to the mouldings.


Fig 8a : Completed frame.


Fig 8b : Corner from inside above.


Fig 8c : Corner from inside below.


Fig 8d : Completed frame with mattress, unpainted original.

This was going to be painted a bright yellow, being for a child who dislikes pink (as do I, strangely enough), but after having tried on smaller test pieces and found the results to be either too flat when painted simply, or too glossy when also varnished, the wood was left bare for a week or so, then after I had made the headboard below I spray-painted both objects a pale beige.


Headboards

It would easily be possible to construct an integral headboard when building one end of the bed, but there is then a danger of it being broken off; thus I would always recommend creating it as a separate unit and either sliding it into position, or bolting it on.

Large Bed

Note that in all cases, more bars means smaller spaces and thus more accurate work as any discrepencies will become more noticeable.


Fig 9a : Variation 1 of final design, to sit on top of bed-frame.


Fig 9b : Variation 2 of final design, as stand-alone object.

Having cut both smaller horizontal bars to the same length (equal to the full width of the bed-frame), mark small ticks in soft pencil on one of them to indicate the centre-lines of the vertical bars, and when measuring always start from 0 at one end rather than simply incrementing from the previous position, otherwise any errors will also add up as you pass to the other end. Clamp both long bars together, and with a set-square mark lines across both bars using the ticks as guides; this ensures that the top and bottom horizontals will align correctly.

Unless you have a drill-stand or can guarantee you’ll be able to drill holes at precisely 90°, the only way to ensure perfect alignment is to drill in halfway from the top & bottom, so two sets of marks will need to be made; then drill the holes and countersink one side of each bar, but be very careful when doing this as the screw-head’s width is almost the same as the bar’s. An alternative to screws are small dowels which can be tapped in, having first made holes in the ends of the vertical bars, then sanded flush.


Fig 9c : Marking to align holes.

The first part to be made is the horizontal ladder, and unless all of the vertical bars were cut together, there will be slight variations in their length, so find the shortest pair and fix them at either end as shown below. (To find the shortest, lay all of the bars next to one another and then place thicker pieces across the ends; lifting these will remove the longest bars, then repeat until there are two or more of the same length remaining.)

Rather than drill very shallow pilot holes in the ends of the vertical bars and hope everything lines up, place the vertical bar on the inside of one of the horizontals and hold both pieces in place with one hand (forcing them against a known right-angle is a good idea if one is available), then use the screw’s self-tapping facility to guide itself in, but go slowly and carefully so as not to split the wood.


Fig 9d : End bars in place.

Now take the next shortest pair and file or sand them to the same length as the first pair, and fit them in the middle; then add the two remaining pairs on either side, all the while ensuring the horizontal bars are neither forced outwards nor drawn inwards.


Fig 9e : Completed ladder.

Add each leg to either end of the ladder so that the lower horizontal bar is at a height where it just rests across the top of the bed’s frame, whilst checking the legs are parallel to one another without tapering either into a ‘A’ or ‘V’ shape. Also take into account the fact that the ladder is thinner than the legs, so it will need to be propped on layers of cardboard or thin wood so it is in the middle of the leg’s width.

Lastly, the top bar is screwed onto the legs, making sure the overhang is the same at each end.


Fig 9f : Completed headboard.

Finally, to cover the screws, if countersunk ones were used then either cover with putty and sand down or glue on small caps, having previously removed any moulding remains (you may also need to lightly sand the entire dome if it’s too shiny). An alternative to countersunk screws (with optional caps) is to use normal domed or cheese-headed screws, and the sort of cover that consists of a very low cylinder through which the screw passes, and over which the cap fits.


Fig 9g : Sitting on the bed.

If required, a lower copy could also be made for the footer, with perhaps the legs at either end being joined by horizontal bars to create a fully stand-alone wrap-around frame.

Small Bed

If scaled up by a factor of about 6 then this is far too thick and heavy, but it is still in keeping with the original design, and most importantly it will not be very fragile once completed.

Fig 10a below shows the first method, in which the exterior leg quadrants are higher than the frame, and used as anchors for the headboard’s side pieces, before the horizontal top and any middle bars are added; Fig 10b depicts another design of the many that are possible, though it is even more prone to being snagged and broken.

Creating a stand-alone object is by far the safer answer, and allows it to be made at any time after the bed is completed. Note that as before, the CG images are used to indicate different pieces of wood so the joins are apparent, rather than to show that differently-coloured wood was actually used.


Fig 10a : Design 1. The vertical support (shown in dark brown) could also be semi-circular in section, so the front is rounded.


Fig 10b : Design 2, looking rather like the back of a park bench.

In keeping with the style already created, I chose a squared-off ‘A’ shape in which the same moulding of the exterior frame was used to create an inverted ‘U’, having first cut the verticals into two parts so the cut-out fitted snugly onto the end of the frame; its width was determined not by the bed itself, but rather the manner in which the two mouldings fitted together, with the headbaord’s legs fitting against those of the bed itself, as shown more clearly in Fig 10e.


Fig 10c : Headboard surround pieces.

Lastly, a pair of horizontal bars were fitted from the back, after having had steps cut from their ends so they rested between the rear strips.


Fig 10d : Finished headboard with bars, and painted.


Fig 10e : View from beneath showing the headboard’s legs fitting against the bed’s. (Dark blue = bed leg; pale blue = bed frame; dark red = board leg; pale red = board frame.)


Fig 10f : Painted bed with headboard.


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