Wednesday, March 31, 2010

As you all know, we've been working on getting our bedroom put together. We've posted about it before here and here. One big piece that is missing, however, is the headboard.

Here are some of the beds I've been stalking online. Now, if were were millionaires, we would buy Pottery Barn for all of our stuff (that and Restoration Hardware). The bed below is gorgeous, and I'm sure well-made, but seriously, who buys this stuff??

Here's another PB product, a comparative steal at $400 cheaper...

Let's come back to reality now... here's the Tar-jay knock-off. We're now down in the 3-figure price range instead of the 4-figure (a place I'm a little more comfortable). This bed is well-reviewed and popular but being from Target, the quality and durability may be questionable.

Target Avington Bed - $199

It seems to be a good price, so this is actually a viable option for us! But, there's one more option below...

Farmhouse Queen from - ~$120

Knock-Off Wood is a website written and maintained by a woman named Ana. She posts step-by-step plans and materials lists for wooden projects with simple designs. Basically, she reverse-engineers the plans and often bases her designs off of Pottery Barn originals. She claims the bed above can be made from pine for about $120. In this way, you can be sure what your product is made of, and finish it however you see fit (like the antiqued look above).

Byron and I are actually considering taking on this project. We'd have to rent an air-nailer and buy a few other things, but it seems simple enough. Take a look at the plans in the link above and let us know what you think. Do you think we can do it?


  1. Go for it! Comments:

    Why rent a nail gun? Pre-drill all the nail holes and use an old fashioned hammer. Tap them down till they get close to the surface and knock them down with a nail set. I built 3 sets of bookshelves and am halfway through a cabinet set so far this year and between that and all the other stuff I have built I have never seen the need for a nail gun.

    I took a look at the materials list and she says you can use studs for things. Don't. Buy the clearest straightest 2"x12"x the longest you can get and rip the pieces to width on the table saw or with a circular saw. Clear meaning free of knots.

    Buy the wood a week before you are going to use it and sticker it in your work shop (or living room) to let it acclimate. If you go with my 2x12 comment then let it dry for 2 weeks. Otherwise you will get everything stuck together then it is going to move on you. If the wood is wet then you will get gaps in your headboard as it dries. If drier than your house then it will absorb moisture and split apart.

    Put glue on all contacting surfaces except where the vertical slats but against each other on the headboard. If you don't and the headboard is attached to the bed frame then everytime you get in and out of bed the bed is going to creak. It will drive you nuts. I learned that one the hard way.

    As far as finishing goes I have had good success with TransTint Dyes blended into clear water based polyurethane. Finish up a sample panel first though.

  2. Thanks, Matt! This is enormously helpful! How do you think we could modify these plans to attach to our existing standard metal bedframe? (Or should we just build it as planned?) We don't yet have a circular saw, but would it be difficult to rip something down that long? We're probably not in the market for a table saw at this point...

  3. Check out too!

  4. Another long reply:
    I don't have a metal bed frame around to look at and all that I see on Google image search have brackets on the ends to attach a headboard to. Drill holes through your legs that line up with the brackets on the frame. A single hole should do with 3/8"-16 or larger bolts. Drill the holes 1/16" larger than the diameter of the bolt. Use carriage bolts, and with the head of the bolt on the visible side tighten the nuts down. Use washers under the nut to evenly distribute the load. The heads of the carriage bolts are domed so they will look ok on the visible side. Else cover them with "Bed Bolt Covers". The holes must be straight and perpendicular to the face so a "portable drill guide" or a "drill guide kit" might be helpful. Everything in quotes is available from:

    Rockler Woodworking and Hardware
    7402 McKnight Road
    Pittsburgh, PA 15237

    or at

    A cheap table saw is more of liability and danger than useful. The scabs all up my left arm and a pinky finger that doesn't bend straight are testimony to that. A good circular saw and a pair of saw horses is more than you will need for this job.

    Notice I said Good Circular Saw. Again a cheap saw can be a pain in the ... The Bosch and Milwaukee brands get consistently good reviews. You want a stiff base plate and good sight lines. Being able to see what you are cutting while cutting it is a good thing.

    Home made circular saw guides make replacing a table saw with a circular saw a snap and help out even the cheapest of circular saws. More here:

    I have 16", 30", 52" and 96" versions that I use to break down plywood and make cross cuts on large panels. The 16" version has a fence built on its underside to automatically square it to the workpiece. Clamp both ends of the guide down and cut. The lady at Knock Off Wood says she uses a chop saw (Compound Miter Saw). The circular saw with the guides works just as well. A straight edge on the guide is key. If you make a small one you can check the straightness with the edge of your framing square. If you make the long one you can check the straightness with a thread pulled taunt across the face. Stick evenly sized spacers under the ends of the thread and measure the distance between the board and the thread along the length of the board. If the distance is the same then the board is straight.

    Get a glue with a long open time. Tightbond III has a 10 minute open time. Anything from Gorilla Glue = FAIL. It just does not work well with wood. Even their wood glue.

    Thats all I can think of right now.

  5. Salvaged panelled doors turned horizontally with crown molding added could achieve a similar look. Have seen this done on HGTV. Alternately, a skilled carpenter could build the bed in question in less than a day -- and that would be affordable. Whatever you do, it will be lovely like the rest of your new home!

  6. More table saw replacement goodness here: