• by Rockler Woodworking and Hardware


    How to build your own platform bed

    Learn how to build a unique custom platform bed with a hidden cantilever frame.

    Getting from where my clients and I started, to arriving at this design, was a long process, but it was worth the effort. Initially, my clients knew they wanted a bed that looked like it was floating with a framed ledge all around. They showed me magazine and catalog images of beds with elements they liked. I knew what they wanted, but I didn’t know how to do it. So, it was off to my computer to start designing. After many revisions in which I progressively moved the legs, and then a base, farther and farther inward, it finally hit me: a cantilever supported frame was the perfect solution. My clients were ecstatic, and I was off to the races.

    The cherry lumber I used looks rich, which is good — it’s not inexpensive. It will darken with time and become even better-looking. My clients wanted the base made out of cherry, too, which added to the cost. You could save money by using a cherry-stained wood (birch or poplar) for the base, as it’s not very visible.

    For the custom platform bed frame plans and materials list in PDF format click here

    For elevation drawings of the custom bed frame in PDF format click here

    Build the Project to Fit Your Mattress

    The dimensions given in the Material List on the facing page are for making a bed using a 10"-thick queen-size mattress without a box spring. There’s a 3/4" space all around between the mattress and platform frame. I suggest you spend a little money, and a little time, confirming the fit using your mattress and bedding. Adjust the dimensions to suit your needs. You can do that by making a crude test frame using 1x2s. Start large and slowly trim and make your test frame smaller until you get the size you want. You may also need to adjust the size and shape of the fill blocks (pieces 21).

    Construction Notes


    Don’t be lulled into thinking that this is an entirely easy piece to build just because it looks simple. Getting the mitered corners of the platform frame joined tight and constructing the base are a bit more challenging than they appear — simple things often are.

    All the exposed edges of the platform and headboards are rounded over with a 1/4" radius. Only the corners of the base need be rounded over. The mitered corners of the frame are aligned flush with #20 biscuits, and they’re joined with FlipBolt fasteners made by FastCap® (www.fastcap.com; 888-443-3748). A routing template is available for the FlipBolts, and you’ll need it to rout the hardware recesses correctly.

    Laying out the holes in the platform plywood (pieces 20) was a lot of work. I did it on my computer, and a drawing is included in the PDF form above.  There are 82 holes to drill! About half of them are countersunk from one side, and the rest from the other side. And to confuse matters even more, the two plywood pieces are mirrored images of each other when the drilling is done. Follow the layout, and you’ll be fine.

    Making the Base

    Cut the base parts (pieces 1 through 7) to size. Lay out and cut the half-lap joints of the base’s foot-end cantilevers (one piece 5, both pieces 6). Use a table saw or miter saw to cut the beveled ends of the cantilevers. Cut the grooves for the biscuits that join the short cantilevers and the second-from-the-end long cantilever.

    Lay out and cut the notches in the base sides and base end for the cantilevers. There are various ways to make these cutouts, but given the size of the parts, I suggest you use a router jig and router with a flushtrim bit. Rough-cut the openings with a jigsaw, rout the shape and square up the corners with a hand file.

    Cut the grooves for the plywood in the base sides, ends and support. Make the width of the groove match the thickness of your plywood. Machine the grooves for the biscuits that join the support and base ends. Carefully cut mitered corners on the base sides and ends.

    Dry-fit (no glue) the base together to make sure the plywood is not so large as to prevent the base’s mitered corners from closing tightly. You’ll also want to confirm that the cantilevers seat properly in their notches. Make any necessary adjustments, and then finish sand the exposed surfaces of the base sides and ends before proceeding.

    Assembling the Base

    First glue and clamp one base end to the center support piece. Glue and clamp one of the plywood panels to the assembly, then add the other plywood panel. Next, add the other base end. Now, all that’s left is to add the base sides. Here’s where it gets a bit tricky. My band clamps were not long enough to clamp the mitered corners, so I used the corner blocks (pieces 7) as clamping blocks instead. Do a dry fit to figure out your clamping setup before you go further, and then glue and clamp one base side at a time to the assembly.

    Round over the base corners. Lay out and drill the cantilever-to-cantilever half-lap screw holes, and the cantilever-to-base screw holes. Align the cantilevers to the base and drill pilot holes for the assembly screws. Install all the base assembly screws. Set the assembled base aside for now.

    Building the Platform

    The 6"-wide frame sections are built up (three pieces per frame section) slightly long, and then mitered to their finished lengths. Be very careful when you cut the mitered ends. You could easily goof up the ends by not cutting the miters perfectly at 45°. Test your machining setups thoroughly on scrap wood before proceeding. My 10" miter saw was too small to cut the mitered ends, so I used my table saw with a sliding table attachment. I trimmed a little bit at a time until the finished lengths were perfect. Before making the cuts, I placed a 3/4" spacer under the shorter inside edging piece to bring its height up equal to the outside edging. That way I could make the cuts face-up to reduce tearout.

    Cut the frame pieces 11 through 18 to size plus 1/4" longer. Miter the ends, but leave the pieces long. Rout the 1/2"-deep FlipBolt cavities in the ends of the frame plywood pieces 11 and 12. Use the manufacturer’s template and a short-top bearing flush-trim bit or a template guide bushing and straight bit for the routing. Glue and clamp the frame edging pieces to the frame plywood pieces. Make the headboard cleat (piece 19), attach all the cleats, and miter-cut the ends to final size as described earlier. Assemble the frame upside down on your floor.

    Cut the plywood (pieces 20) to fit in the assembled frame. Mark the plywood faces up/down, right/left, head/foot, and outside edge as shown in the Drawings. Lay out and drill the screw holes and cut the biscuit grooves as shown in the drawing on page 45. Screw the plywood pieces to the frame and round over the bottom edges. Next, you can flip the platform over, and set it on sawhorses. Round over the top edges and corners. Drill the lag bolt and #14 screw clearance holes through the frame at the head.

    Make the fill blocks (pieces 21) now, but don’t attach them to the platform plywood (using double-stick carpet tape) until you carry out the final bed assembly.

    Bringing it
    All Together



    Constructing the Headboards

    Make the headboard supports (pieces 28). Drill the desktop fastener counterbore holes (pieces 29) and rout the rounded-over edges.

    Cut the headboard plywood (pieces 25) from one sheet so the grain flows smoothly across the headboard faces when the bed is assembled. Leave the plywood pieces about 1" wider and 1" longer than their finished dimensions, and laminate them together to make the two 1"-thick panels. That way, you don’t have to worry if they slip slightly out of alignment during glue-up. When the glue cures, cut the panels to their finished size, and add the edging (pieces 26 and 27). Miter-cut the edging to hide the end grain. Rout the rounded-over edges.

    Wrap up construction by aligning and fastening the headboard supports to the platform. Attach the headboards to their supports. Use a 10-1⁄2"-wide spacer to align the headboards parallel to the platform.

    Finishing Up

    Disassemble the bed, finish-sand the parts and ease any sharp edges. I used Danish Oil Finish as a topcoat, then added nail-in nylon feet to the bottom edge of the base. While this “floating” bed doesn’t really defy the laws of gravity, the effect is convincing. A solid platform will keep it firmly grounded for years to come.




  • by Matt Hocking

    Original Deck:

    Denise DeRose Turns to Purses

    Original Body:

    When woodturner Denise DeRose saw a woman carrying a small bandsawn box, about the size of a paperback book, as a handbag, “a light went off in my brain: why couldn’t it be a vessel? Woodturners make vessels. I started thinking about it, and I got consumed by it.”

    The first purses Denise made were canteen shaped, with a flat wood front and a channel for the strap inside the bag rather than outside. Lately, she’s started experimenting with therming, a traditional turning technique that’s been used for centuries to turn multiple objects mounted parallel on a lathe. Denise is using the technique for clutch style purses: she turns the two flat sides of the bag using the therming technique, band saws the edges, then cuts the pieces in half lengthwise and hollows out the inside by hand or with a Forstner bit.

    She’s also working on figuring out a routing system on a track for use in constructing her handbags. “You’ve got to be able to rout a shape that’s roundish but not round and has nice, clean lines,” she said.

    Denise herself is not a purse person. “I am the last kind of person you would think about when you think about handbags,” she said, with her focus being more on the functional than a fashion collection. As an art piece, though, “I think about handbags as a metaphor. What is it a woman brings with her? What is it she leaves behind? Few things are more connected to a woman than her handbag. What does a woman carry?”

    None of the handbags she makes exceeds 12 inches in diameter, and her source for many of those 12" pieces of wood is cutoffs from instrument companies. Like the wood used in a violin or guitar, handbag wood needs to be stable, and companies who sell billets for construction of those instruments often have cutoffs she purchases. “I do a lot of glue-ups, or turn two discs and hollow and laminate them together,” she said.

    One reason Denise likes the fiddleback maple she often gets from the instrument cutoffs is because of the way it takes a finish. “A handbag finish is crucial. It’s not something to just sit on a shelf; it’s in someone’s hands all the time.”

    She likes to use fabric dye, in a variety of colors, on the wood for her handbags, and fiddleback maple lends itself well to dying because of its chatoyance. Her Flower Drum Song bag, made from fiddleback maple dyed with red fabric dye with a lacquer finish, is one of her favorites: “It looks like wood and you can see that it’s wood, and it’s elegant and attractive.”

    She also uses pyrography in completing the finished designs on her purses. “It’s a good way of defining areas, especially if you use dye or paint. It burns fibers of the wood and keeps the paint or dye from traveling, so it will stop where the burn lines are.”

    Prior to her focus on handbags, Denise turned many salad bowls — including one, upon request, that was 30 inches in diameter, made from walnut. Getting that up on her lathe, Denise said, required “a jack and three teenage boys” — and it’s one reason she has rigged up a winch system from the I-beam of her garage shop. Mostly, though, the challenges of salad bowls focused on design elements: “Is it going to be deep, is it going to be shallow, is it going to have a big foot?”

    These days, in addition to design, she has to turn some of her focus to hardware. Since she can’t find hinges for some of the shapes she makes — she needs them to open round, rather than flat — she’s been doing some metalsmithing to make her own, such as those for a Bentou Box purse.

    She hasn’t counted all the purses she’s made so far, but says she has a long way to go. “I think creativity arises when you limit yourself. You don’t walk in the door of the shop and say, ‘What am I going to make today?’ You know what you’re going to make, and you work within the parameters.”

    For Denise, woodturning helps define those parameters. “Woodturning is my passion,” she said. “I’d much rather work with the lathe than with any other tool in the shop.


  • by Ian Kirby

    Using a Coachmaker and shoulder plane, you can cut an attractive, fielded, profiled panel that is perfect for creating the bottoms of drawers.

  • by Matt Hocking

    • Don’t skip grits. A rule of thumb is to start with 80-grit and move successively up to 180-grit.

    • Plan a consistent sanding pattern for your project, so you don’t skip over an area.

    • After each pass, make sure you have removed the scratch marks from the previous pass.

    • If you use a power sander, it’s OK to sand across the grain, but the last pass should be done by hand in the direction of the grain.


  • by Bill Hylton

    Making doors conventionally with plywood and standard bits is a hassle, but Instile and Rail bits cut clean, strong grooves in plywood easily.

  • by Rockler

    Learn about the different types of router bits designed for a CNC routing machine. Covers V-groove, End mill, Ball-nose and Surfacing bits.

  • by Rockler

    While it's possible to turn a bowl with just a faceplate on your lathe and maybe a shop-made jam chuck, it's a lot easier if you equip your lathe with a four-jaw chuck. As the name suggests, this type of chuck has four jaws, and these jaws can be adjusted in and out to hold a workpiece, either by contracting around a turned tenon or expanding into a recess you turn in the workpiece. Most chucks also include a large screw insert for mounting blanks for shaping and turning the tenon or recess. Four-jaw chucks are an investment, so you want to choose wisely. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when deciding on the best chuck for you.

  • by Rockler

    DIY Drying Rack Project - learn how to make your own wall mounted, expanding drying rack.

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    How to make your own Irish Parlor Clock, complete with diagrams and material / cut list.

  • by Rockler

    Whether you build it yourself, or buy it ready-made, here's what you need to know to get the best router table for your woodshop.
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