Hey everyone. I finished these solid maple bunk beds a couple of weeks ago and I’m feeling pretty happy with how they turned out. I think they look real nice. It took me two long, cold months in the shop to build them. It was a lot of work but definitely worth it and now there are signs of spring so the cold doesn’t even matter. I did learned a lot and I’m sure I made a few mistakes along the way. The funny thing is, I can’t really remember what they were. I definitely cursed a lot and drank a couple of beers but that comes with building anything. So we’ll say I didn’t make any mistakes…

I do think these bunk beds are the nicest thing I’ve ever built (I know I say that every time). It may not look like much, but there was a lot of detail that went into them. When I started building them I had an idea of how they would look. I’m sure all bunk beds look the same, but I think they are a step above the rest.  I really like the style of Scandinavian furniture and I think they fit that category. Or maybe it just looks like I glued some wood together and put a mattress on top and bottom. That works, too. But I can say these are better than my last piece and the piece before that. When I was young I had quotes all over my bedroom. One of them said, ‘Practice without improvement is meaningless’. I’m sure that is debatable, but you know what I’m saying, right!?   I’m just trying to keep it real with myself and the people who read this. I fuck up all the time and things break, but I’ll fix them and push forward. When I do mess up it’s not because I cut corners or rush things. I just don’t have the experience or expertise. I’m consistently reading and researching proper techniques, so hopefully this will lead to a decrease in my mistakes. Well, lets jump into the the bunk beds.  It’s a big one.

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First you need to buy a shit ton of wood. Hardwood holds up better. Next, rob a bank if you want to build it out of hardwood because it is expensive as balls.
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I had to order the maple in from Nova Scotia. An actual a transfer truck backed into my driveway.
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I started with the bed frame. I glued two 6” boards together to make 1′ frame (good math, right!?). I put little pieces of wood under my clamps because the glue has a chemical reaction with the pipe clamps and stains the wood.

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I glued the legs up.
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The fun part. It took me probably thirty hours to sand everything smooth. My thick eye brows kept a lot of dust out of my eyes. It’s a great safety feature I was blessed with.

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I had a tear out.
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I glued it back in place and just sawed the rest off.

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I used a square to help cut the bed frames to length.

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Next, I needed to start thinking about how I was going to support the mattresses.
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So I cut some strips.
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I glued and clamped them to the frame.
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added some screws for extra support

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It looks like I know what I’m doing.
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I started to put the bed frames together. I marked out where I wanted to put my screws.

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I marked and counter sunk some holes.
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I borrowed some corner clamps from Juddy Judson Sr’s shop (my grandfather).
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Screwed them in place.
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Made sure everything was square.
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Looks like a rectangle.
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I rounded over all the corners.
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Sharp corners and little boys don’t go together.
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I added another strip on top of the piece for more support for the bed slats.
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I made a a jig to line up the holes for the bed frame and the legs.
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This jig makes sure all the holes line up perfectly.
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I clamped the jig to the base.
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Drilled a hole through the base.
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I did the same to the legs.
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I put my bolts in. Originally I was going to paint the bolts all black but decided against it.
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Well, welll, well.
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I then transferred marks where I wanted the top bunk to sit.
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And I did the same.
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Couple of nice holes.

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If you look closely, you can see my bud, Shawn Meals Doogs MacDougall, helping me lift the bunk up. It was heavy as balls.
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Testing out how strong the bunk was. Action shot 1
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Action shot 2
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Action shot 3… Get up there.
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Action shot 4…. Don’t fall (or fart).
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Action shot 5 – Perch and pose (I guess I didn’t know what to do with my right hand).
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You can see how the bolts come through.
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Double checking to make sure the slats fit.
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I added extra reinforcements to the bed frames using these brackets.
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I notched these supports in for extra support for the slats.
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I started working on the stairs.

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Looking like bunk beds.
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I put some red oak plugs in. I think it’s a nice contrast with the maple

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Getting so close. I stopped taking pictures at this point. Well, I just forgot. I sanded everything  again. I put a wipe on poly on. I sanded everything between coats. I did that four times and they were finished.

 

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The cutest model.

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That’s how I built bunk beds. I’m sure there is an easier and faster way to do things, but I’m happy with the way they turned out! I still have lots of things in the hopper I’m trying to get done, but lately I feel like I’ve been stuck in a gutter filled with old, wet leaves. I’m not being as productive as I’d like to be or maybe I’m just trying to do 27 things at once and nothing is getting done…. I’m sure my wife could direct you to the correct answer.

Well, that’s all I have to say today. Have a great long weekend everyone.

Brett

 

Below are a few buildfs I finished but never posted about.

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We’re best friends.

 

 

 

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