How I Create Art - The Build ProcessWoodworking

Building a Platform Bed With Floating Shelves Reading lights and a Sheepskin Headboard

Building a Platform Bed With Floating Shelves Reading lights and a Sheepskin Headboard

This was a fun build, the frame and shelves are made from walnut, The sheepskin is a synthetic material so no sheep were harmed, and cool Jetsons space looking reading light.

Affiliate links to some of the integral products I used:

• Assorted Dominos –
• Titebond CA Glue Medium –
• Titebond II
• Incra Miter Gauge 1000HD
My Typical Consumable supplies

Video Recap

For this week’s project I’m building a platform bed from walnut, with floating shelves and a sheep skin headboard. And it has lights

The frame of the headboard is going to be mitered at the corners so to be sure they come out tight; I am taking a little extra time prepping the material.

I started out ripping the rough stock a little wider than needed so if there was any tension in the wood and it warped. I would have enough material to correct it at the jointer and planer.

Once I had the material squared up, I set up a feather board at the table saw to help keep it tight to the fence while I ripped it to the final width.

I then set up the table saw to cut the miters.  Since the material was a bit long I clamped it to the miter gauge to help keep the material from wobbling around during the cut

Then I did a test fit to be sure all the corners lined up.

Once I was satisfied with the fit, I used some CA glue to add some pine clamping blocks to give me something to clamp to hold the joints tight while glue up.

Wood Slicer resaw bandsaw blade

I used a domino in each corner to strengthen the joint, and a slow setting epoxy so I would have plenty of time to finesse the fit of each miter.

While the frame was drying I moved on to making the bedrail to go under the headboard. This piece is where the mattress supports will be attached to.

Since this support would be hidden under the mattress I used Alder as it is a cheaper wood.

Once I had the piece cut it to length, milled it flat and square at the jointer I cut it to final width at the tables

I centered the rail on the bottom of the walnut frame and temporarily clamped it in place

Once held in place I marked out for some dominos to help add some strength and keep the pieces aligned during glue up.

From There it was gluing in the dominos and spreading some glue on the rail and clamping it up

Now to beef up the frame and to add some visual appeal, I added a walnut filler strip where the mattress and lower shelf start.  I used some dominos to help keep it aligned to the face of the frame during glue up.

I used parallel clamps that where long enough to catch the top rail of the headboard frame to help keep everything in plane.  This made gluing in the filler strip much easier.

The headboard is almost done except the shelves and sheepskin, but I’ll come back to that towards the end of the build.

Right now I’m joining and milled up some more 4/4 alder for the frame that supports the mattress.  These are going to attach to the side skirt boards and the foot board.

I ripped them just tall enough so they would accept the knockdown hardware and set just below the walnut platform to hold the mattress in place.

Then I cut them to length.  Since they are so long and unwieldy I clamped them to the miter gauge when I cut them to ensure I got a straight cut.

I milled up a piece of walnut for the skirt part of the footboard, and glued the alder mattress support to it.

While the glue was drying on the footboard I laid out the knockdown hardware on the headboard.

I built a plywood jig the same size as the hardware, and clamped it to my layout lines.

To set the depth of cut, I bottomed out the bit and used the hardware itself to set the depth stop on the router.

Then using a pattern bit, I followed the template and routed out a notch for the hardware to sit in.

I cleaned up the rounded corners left by the router bit, and repeated the same process for each corner of the bed.

There was one more step, the matting piece needed a place for the hooks to go into the wood and not interfere with the two pieces latching together.

I laid out the relief slots with a pencil and using a similar width router bit I fee hand routed the slots.

To attach them was easy enough; Just pre drilled some holes and screwed them down.

Then it was the same operation for attaching the matting piece to the side skirt boards.

Now I am on to building the walnut side skirt boards.  Ripping to width and milling to thickness.

I cut them to length using the same clamping method as before.  This has worked out really well in getting a perfectly square cut on the ends of long boards.

I wanted to be sure you couldn’t see the end grain of the alder on the head board so I notched the side skirt board so it would hide the end grain when installed.

I held the piece in place and laid out for the notch.

I forgot to hit the record button when I cut the notch out but here it is.  I spread some glue on the support rail and aligned it to the edge of the notch for a tight fit to the headboard when installed.

Once I got it all lined up I just tacked it in place with a brad nail while I lined up the other end.

There was a slight bow in the center so I pulled it in place with a clamp and put a few brads in until the glue dried.

Then I milled up some 8/4 walnut for the platform frame that is going around the mattress.

Cut it to length with the same clamping method to the miter gauge

Laid out for dominos to attach the top to the skirt boards

And glued and clamped it together

It took a bit to get the 1st few dominos lined up.  But once it was together, the dominos kept it all lined up while I got it in the clamps.

Once the glue was dry I sanded off the squeeze out and did a little test fit to be sure the skirt board    would pull tight to the headboard using the hardware.

Now I need to make the platform for the mattress to sit on, so I ripped a bunch of slats to support the mattress.  To reduce shipping weigh and make it so I could roll the slats up together I beveled the sides.

I cut each one to length and test fit them.  I installed them the full length of the bed, because if you don’t use a box spring, the mattress has to be fully supported underneath or you void your warranty.

Before I was done, I did install a center support using the same hardware as the sides to help support the mattress slats.

Then at the end of the build I stapled some nylon strapping to keep all the slats together during shipping and allow me to just roll them up.

Back to the headboard it’s time to build the floating shelves.  Since the shelves are going to be modern in design, with no end grain showing.  I am going to veneer them, and miter all the corners together.

I started off by shop sawing all the veneer I needed at the band saw, and cleaned up the saw marks at the planer.

I cut the veneer to the width and length I needed, and then used some veneer tape to prep them for glue up.

I had quite a few parts to glue up so I got the veneer bag ready to go so I wouldn’t waste any time and I could quickly load the bag.

I always glue the seam in case there is any shrinkage in the veneer it won’t pull apart at the seam.

Tape the ends to hold it together while I slide it in the bag.

I kept an eye on the clock so I wouldn’t go to long between the first piece I added glue to and the time I seal the bag to apply pressure.

I hooked the vacuum up and made sure everything had stayed in place while I was loading the bag and left it under pressure for about 30 minutes before taking out of the bag.

Once out of the bag I started to cut them to size.  I set a stop on the miter gauge to be sure all the pieces would come out exactly the same length.  You can cut a perfect miter but it’s not going to close up tight on all edges if they are not the same length.

While I had the miter gauge set up with stops,   I cut the front and side pieces as well.

Since the shelves have five pieces to hold together and I have to get 8 miters lined up perfectly at the same time.  I added a few dominos to act as a third hand to help hold things in place while I got everything adjusted.

To cut the dominos on these narrow fronts I screwed a stop block to my table with an opposing 45 degree angle so it would trap the narrow piece making it safer to cut the mortise.

To bring the inside of the shelf to the right thickness as well as give me some meet to screw to when installing the shelf on the headboard.  I glued and tacked in place a plywood filler strip.

Then I started applying glue, and dominos to all the surfaces, as I worked my way around the shelf

Once I had all the parts in place, I used some CA glue along with some glue blocks so I could pull the miters tight with clamps and adjust the fit as I went.

I used a slow setting epoxy for this glue up so I had plenty of working time to make adjustments to ensure I had tight miters on all sides.

I did the same process for all four shelves.

Once the epoxy was dry I removed the clamps and knocked off the glue blocks with a light tap from a mallet and chisel.

Now that the shelves are made it was time to have something to attach them to, I ripped a piece of plywood to size, and laid out for the shelves and the 2 reading lights.

I drilled a hole on each side of the plywood for the base of the reading lights to go through,

I then attached a spacer block so the upholsterer would know how big the base of the light is.

I did a quick test fit and sent the plywood sheet up the street to my upholsterer friend to have the apply the sheep skin

Don’t worry no actual sheep where skinned in the making of this bed, it’s a synthetic sheep skin, made from chemicals, so that’s better right?

While our plywood panel is getting upholstered with our synthetic sheep skin I milled up and install a strip of wood to the inside of the frame so we would have something to screw the sheep skin panel to.  I installed the cleat on all 4 sides.

Once I got the sheep skin back from my upholsterer, I unwrapped it and it slid perfectly into place, I used the air hose to fluff the fibers back up.

To attach it to the frame, I screwed it from the backside to the cleat I had installed earlier.

Now it was time to install the floating shelves, but I needed to make a custom bracket to give the shelves some strength in case someone got a little frisky they wouldn’t rip off the shelves.

So I started out cutting some flat bar the same width as the shelves, and cleaned up the burr with a grinder.

Next I laid out a hole pattern so I could bolt it to the headboard and to the shelves.  I center punch each hole so the drill bit wouldn’t wander when I started it.  Then spent some time at the drill press drill, drilling out the holes.

I cut some round bar to act as the support brackets.

Then built a jig out of scrap plywood to hold the piece in place as I welded them together.

Then I used that same block to locate and drill the corresponding holes in the shelf.

I slid the brackets in from the back side, and attached them with screws, and slid the shelf onto the brackets, securing them in place with some long lag bolts.

Installing the lights was pretty simple; I feed the wire through the hole, attached the mounting bracket to the light, and attached the bracket to the back of the bed.


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I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.

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