The bed is built with a series of support slats that eliminate the need for a box spring, and the dimensions we show will handle a queen-size mattress. While mattresses vary in thickness, one that’s 8 in. thick will yield a 19-1/2-in.-high bed. For a mattress of a different size or thickness, simply adjust the dimensions as necessary.
Posts And End Frames
Rip and crosscut the posts to size. If you can’t
find 3-in.-thick mahogany, glue up blanks from
thinner stock. Cut the wenge blocks to size, bore
and countersink a screwhole in each, and use
glue and screws to fasten them to the posts.
Then, cut a 1/2-in., 45° bevel around the bottom
of each wenge foot (Photo 1).
Next, lay out the locations of the mortises in the
posts for the rail tenons and bedrail hangers. Rout
the rail-tenon mortises with a 1/2-in. spiral upcutting
bit and edge guide (Photo 2). Make two or
passes to prevent overheating the bit.
the mortise ends with a sharp
Note that the mortises for the bedrail hangers
have deep recesses to accommodate the hanger
hooks. First, rout these deeper portions with a
1/4-in. bit. Square the ends and switch to a 5/8in.-dia.
bit to rout the shallow portions. Again,
the ends and test fit the hanger plates
(Photo 3). Bore pilot holes
for mounting the
plates, but don’t install them yet. Use a 45°
chamfer bit in the router table to cut the 3/8-in.
chamfers on the long edges of each bedpost
Rip mahogany stock to width for the headboard
and footboard rails and stiles. Crosscut the rails to
length, but leave the stile stock in long blanks at
this time. Set aside one blank for the outside
stiles that have a panel groove on only one edge.
Mount a dado blade in your table saw and adjust
the fence to cut a centered groove in the edge of
the stock. Clamp a plywood auxiliary table to the
Veneering The Panels
We used birch-veneer plywood as the core for our
veneered panels, but any hardwood-veneer panel
will be fine. Be sure to orient the grain on the core
stock so it’s 90° to the face veneers. Since the
finished panels are small, prepare two large
panels, then cut the smaller panels from them.
Use a straightedge guide and veneer saw to cut
the veneer sheets to size (Photo 7). Make a
series of light passes–don’t try to cut all the way
through with one pass, since the veneer can tear
Next, cut the core stock to the exact size of the
veneer sheets and prepare 3/4-in.-thick cauls of
scrap plywood that are also this size. Finally, cut
sheets of wax or kraft paper to separate the
panels and cauls.
Use a foam roller to spread glue onto one surface
of each core panel, and then invert each core
onto a veneer sheet. Coat the exposed face with
glue and place another sheet of veneer on that
surface. Arrange the panels in a stack with paper
sheets between them as well as on the top and
bottom. Place the stack between the cauls and
apply clamps from the center toward both ends
After 2 hours, remove the clamps and place the
panels so air can circulate around all sides. The
next day, cut the panels to finished size and sand
the faces to 220 grit. Use a chamfer bit in the
router table to shape the specified edges of the
head- and footboard rails.
Assembly And Finishing
Starting with the footboard, spread glue in the
bottom-rail mortises and matching stile tenons.
Join the pieces and slide the panels into place
(Photo 9). Apply glue to the top-rail mortise-andtenon
joints, position the rail and clamp the
assembly. Repeat the procedure for the
Make the beam-support blocks and fasten them
to the headboard and footboard rails with glue
and screws (Photo 10). Apply glue to the post
mortises and rail tenons and assemble the
headboard and footboard. Make headboard caps
from 1-in.-thick stock, sand to 220 grit and glue
them to the top-rail edges.
Mark the hanger mortises on the rail ends and
rout away most of the waste. A thick board
clamped to the end of each rail helps support the
tool (Photo 11). Square the ends and use a small
chisel to cut the deeper recesses required to
accommodate the hangers. Chamfer the long rail
Make the square rail panels by gluing veneer to a
3/16-in. wenge strip and cutting the panels from
that piece. Mark each panel’s position and glue it
in place. Let the glue set for 20 to 30 minutes, and
then remove any excess. Fasten the poplar slatsupport
rails to the mahogany rails (Photo 12).
that the support rails are 1/8 in. shorter than
the main rails. Attach the support rails with a 1/16-
in. setback at the ends. Then install the bedrail
To assemble the bed frame, engage the rail
hangers with the plates on the bedposts. Press
down firmly on the rails to be sure that the hooks
lock into place. Next, make the central slatsupport
beam and install it in the support blocks
(Photo 13). Cut the bed slats from 3/4-in.-thick
poplar, chamfer the top edges and bore the
screwholes in the slats. Make sure that the bed
frame is square and screw the slats to the support rails and beam (Photo 14).
To finish, disassemble and sand to 220 grit. Then
apply a coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish
with a brush or rag. Let the finish soak in for about
30 minutes. Use a lintfree cotton cloth to wipe off
the excess and let the material dry overnight.
Lightly scuff the wood with 320-grit sandpaper,
remove the dust and apply at least two more
coats in the same way. Burnish the wood with 4/0
steel wool and polish with a soft cloth.
A Stylish Mahogany Bed To Celebrate 100th birthday.