Loft bed questions
  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
(07-14-2019, 05:33 PM)msweig Wrote: I have two kiddos, and the younger one is soon going to outgrow her toddler bed.  What I want to do is loft both of their beds (twins).  I see two ways to do this
1) Make two separate loft beds
2) Make an L-shaped loft bed

#2 would be something like this (general style):

Either way the two beds are going to be in the same orientation in the corner.  But an advantage of making a single L-shaped loft is I can drop one of the legs and open up the area underneath.  One thing I'm concerned with is the attachment at this section (the blue circle).  So many things I've seen online it seems like people are just screwing through one board and into the end grain of the other.  This doesn't strike me as particularly strong.  Any suggestions for how to strengthen this, or is this really not a concern?  Is there hardware that is good for something like this?  It needs to be removable/not permanent so I can actually get the bed out of the room in the future.

Another thing is so many of the online plans I see are using 2x material, which just strikes me as overkill.  Is there any major issue anyone sees with using 1x material?  Or has anyone ever used 1x in a bunk or loft bed?  I would likely make the legs different than the above photo.  More like 2 pieces joined at a right angle (glue, probably some screws, and some dominos to help with alignment).  See below for a top view:

This leg setup would make it rather easy to attach all the horizontal pieces to the edges (as opposed to cutting out notches like in the first photo).  It also takes up a bit less room (which could be a major issue for me, as the longest portion of the bed is going to be a tight fit between the all and door frame.  Many of the bed plans made out of 2x4s result in too much room taken up if I put two loft beds in the L orientation).

Thoughts?  Any other suggestions?
 I built one loft bed over a desk out of the metal bedrails that came with a single bed. Rather than post to the floor, ended up hanging from the ceiling with all thread (within pvc conduit), anchored between a pair of 2x4's bridging the ceiling joists. One rail was bolted to the wall at studs
  Re: RE: Loft bed questions by srv52761 ([quote='hbmcc' pid='...)
(07-15-2019, 01:45 PM)srv52761 Wrote:  The supreme test was when my son returned to visit and it easily supported him and his new wife without any creaking or squeaks........

Ha ha, great story, I needed a good laugh today!!
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  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
Curious what you decided to do on that joint?
  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
Bench bolt (one massive one, and maybe a smaller one too. I'll decide on that once I get the first one in). I'll also have some T-shaped pieces of metal to reinforce it. I have the pieces cut and have been sanding when I have free time. Feels like it is taking forever. Smile

I'll post photos of the beds when I'm done.

  Re: RE: Loft bed questions by msweig (Bench bolt (one mass...)
And it is done. 

Legs were 1x material ripped down the length (thanks to a friend with a table saw) and glued/screwed together at a 90 degree angle.  Later on I realized that I could screw those 2x4s I was putting stuff on for clamp clearance into a T shape for stability.  That worked better, and I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier in the process Crazy


The main stretchers were wide 1x material, with a 2x4 glued/screwed down along the length.  Both this and the legs were really solid.  Minimal if any movement in either direction.  Biggest issue was places to work.  My shop is small, and while I could put some of this stuff together inside, for glue curing, etc. it needed to be outside.  And most of this was done last week during the heat wave.  Ugh.  Hence these beams are in the garage in the photos.

After that the two end pieces with the ladders were glued up in the garage, then there was a ton of sanding and putting shellac on stuff.  Finally yesterday and today we worked on putting it together (my brother and both kiddos helped). 

The final step was the slats.  This actually went quicker than I expected.  Though when doing it I kept thinking "why the heck didn't I just buy the premade ones/bunkie board, etc.  

And finished:

Fits two twin mattresses.  I was surprised how sturdy it was considering the lack of lower bracing.  Then I dropped two lag bolts into the studs so it doesn't move at all.  The corner joint I was worried about ended up being a combo of a bed bolt and metal T-brace.  Seems quite solid, but if need be I can attach that corner up to the ceiling with chain.  The T-joints for the guard rails above it are simply screwed in place, but instead of being straight into the end grain, I epoxied some dowels in place to sink the screws into (you can see the circles in the final photo). 

It makes the room feel significantly bigger.  Then again that could partially be due to the fact that the vast majority of other stuff in the room was shoved into the closet/other rooms to clear this one out for putting the bed together.  Heck, for the last couple days my kids couldn't use that bathroom because there were so many stuffed animals being stored there.  To brush their teeth I had to lift them over the animals to get to the stools at the sink.  

This project definitely felt more like carpentry than fine furniture.  I did come to a few realizations though. 
1) I tried using bed bolts on my workbench when I first started woodworking.  It was a disaster.  I couldn't get everything lined up correctly.  This time I did a practice one and two on the bed.  No problems at all.  Apparently my layout skills and skills with a brace and bit have significantly improved.
2) Large projects like this are problematic in my shop.  My bench is only 5 feet long.  A lot of this was done sitting down on the ground.  Which is completely doable, but somewhat annoying.  It does make me realize that if I'm going to make a dining table like I've been wanting to I need to also consider the time of year.  Winter absolutely.  Summer in Texas...     No.   

Kiddos love it.  I'm excited to finally finish a project.  Kids usually eat into my shop time. 

The next project will be much smaller.  Something like a knife block.

Thanks for the help/suggestions.


  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
Looks really good. And with all that space under there, you have a place for the mountain of plushies you have. My kids have quite a few as well. Congrats on the successful build.
  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
Good job, Mark. Thanks for sharing the photos of the finished project.

Speaking of finished, are you going to paint it or leave the wood bare or what?
Steve S.
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  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
It is currently finished in shellac. Not the most durable finish, but easily repairable. It was also a quick and easy way to get all the knots sealed. I might paint it down the road (when it cools off and I can open the windows), but I haven't decided yet.

  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
Now the fight begins. "Who gets the window?". 
I'm late to the party but my first thought to the joint you questioned would be to put a piece of 2" x 2" angle iron on the back side of the joint. Probably because I have some scrap angle laying around.
Nice looking lofts. You will be surprised how quickly the space underneath will fill up. You could put up a couple of closet rods to hang the often used clothes under there.

My boss is a Jewish carpenter. Our DADDY owns the business.
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  Re: Loft bed questions by msweig (I have two kiddos, a...)
That looks great. I like the clean lines and it will be a good use of the space.

Myself I just replaced my kids' bunk beds with separate loft beds. I too wondered a couple times why I didn't simply buy ready made lofts. But the ones I could find didn't fit the space the way I wanted them too, and they were stupid expensive at $800+.

So as not to detract from your great work, I'll post my pics in a new thread.


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