Homemade Stratton Bed – Part 1
Well my little guy is well overdue for a “big boy” bed like his older brother. This time rather than buy a bed with a steel bed frame, that is pretty blah, the wife decided I should build something.
After kicking around several ideas and lots of googling we ended up on a design, which the Pottery Barn calls a Stratton Bed. We are going with a painted wood version, in a twin size, with drawers optional depending on the overall time needed to complete this project. Basically, I am building three plywood boxes, with a wood face frame and creating a platform on which to put a twin mattress that is approximately 12” thick and 39”x75” in size.
The project duration will more than likely coincide with my wife’s frustration level with how long the project is taking.
Like all great builders and designers I start of with a plan, or rather a concept, and a quick sketch of what I am thinking, so I can start to rough out dimensions, proportions, and a materials list. Unfortunately, I plan big, like most architects, and I also use the largest paper possible on which to think. This is despite the fact that I have a small scanner, so most of the good thinking runs off the page.
I am working without dimensioned drawings and I only need to hold to the dimensions of the mattress so you can see by some of the scribbles that the dimensions evolve based on what looks right or what might be the most efficient use of time & materials.
My first trip to Lowes involved purchasing two sheets of 3/4” thick B/C plywood and 1 sheet of 1/2” thick B/C plywood. The thought is to keep the prototype cheap especially where we are going for a painted finish. The balance of screws and fasteners I already had on hand so that is a bonus.
First I started with the two side boxes. I rough cut the tops & bottoms of the boxes out of 3/4” plywood with a circular saw first to get the material to a manageable size and completed my final cuts on my table saw. Since the first two boxes are the same and have several duplicate parts, I rough cut everything first. I finish cut everything afterwards so I can be efficient and limit the number of saw set-ups.
With the pieces cuts to size assembly could begin. Due to time constraints I went basic on assembly, tacking everything together with finish nails first and securing with screws later. If time was not an issue I would have rabbeted some of the joints for some added strength. With the boxes built, I wanted to get them up of the floor so I ripped a couple 2×4’s I had laying around to give me a 1-1/2” x 1-1/2 base on which the boxes will sit. All of these rough edges will eventually be covered by a pine face frame.
Finally, with both side boxes built and laid out on the garage floor, I could confirm the measurements and make sure everything was coming together as planned. The plan is to have the three boxes screwed together in the bedroom, so if I ever had to move the bed I can move it in three pieces. This is going to require a little more thought on how I want to lay out the trim so that everything looks nice when assembled, but can be removed without having to remove nails or screws on the trim. More than likely there will be some loose doweling or biscuit joints to make it work, but that will be another day.
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