Henry’s Bed

Hello and welcome to my blog. Last year we were expecting a new addition to the family, Henry Richard Holcombe, who was born on April 11th 2015.  As we were awaiting Henry’s arrival I knew that I would need to make some changes to what would be his room, notably a crib, kid’s toys and a bed for us to use until Henry was old enough to use it on his own.

I designed a low bed that would accommodate an extra long twin mattress, allowing it to be used as a single bed until Henry is out and on his own.  At that point a partner bed would be built and king mattress installed on the pair.

I decided to build the bed in American White Ash, utilizing a joined construction of a perimeter frame supported by a central support beam.  The support beam would be tied into the perimeter frame with outriggers tying into the legs and joinery at the head and foot of the bed.


The first step I took in creating the bed was to join the central support to the head and foot frame members utilizing a tusk tenon.  A tusk tenon is a joint popular in western timber framing.  The joint consists of a center tenon protruding from a support beam with sloping supports.  The joint is fully housed in the receiver and locked together with a center pin.





The sides would join up to the central stretcher, at the leg connections, using outriggers would would tie together using rod joints and wedged with sachi pins.  The rod joints are a long free floating tenon which passes through the center supporting member and ties into the outriggers, the outriggers are housed in the center support to locate the assembly and keep the joint tight.



Next I cut twin tenons to join up the end framing members to the sides.


Followed by tapered sliding dovetails in the side rails to receive the outriggers.



To attach the legs I decided to make use of another tapered sliding dovetail, further supported by a stub tenon.  A tapered sliding dovetail is a pretty strong joint, but I wanted to eliminate the possibility of the joint wiggling back and forth and so adding the stub tenon eliminated the possibility of that movement.



The frame was now able to be joined up.


One corner was left loose on each side of the bed until the slats were fitted in.  The slats were rabbeted on the ends and slid into grooves running along the length of the bed rails and center support.





Finally the last wedges could be fitted and the frame made ready for an oil finish.


Once completed the bed was installed into the room, and mattress placed on top.  It was ready for many late nights and midnight feedings with the expectation that as time goes on my son Henry would be able to utilize the bed for many years to follow.

Thank you for following along with this build, I hope you have enjoyed.