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Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

author-gravatar chrislehr Aug 06, 2019

European Beech wood was used throughout this big boy bed, but the slat supports for the mattress were made with fir. #beech #toddlerbed

All of the Beech was 5/4 so the legs and headboard and sides are all laminated and doweled for extra rigidity.

The headboard and footboard use mortise and tenon joinery and nothing else.

The sides were incredibly challenging with the curve I added to keep the little one from rolling out of bed.

I intitially wanted them to have train rails as well, but the curve was too large to the trains to stay on.

The top billing for the kid of course, is the train rail on the headboard.

He loves stacking his favorites up there and playing while sitting in his bed.

Finish was Gel Stain walnut followed by several coats of semi gloss arm r seal

Hope you Like it, I know we do!


Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

This is some (not all) of the beech used.  I ended up underestimating my needs and had to buy twice.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Close up of the finished post tops.  This took MANY more cuts than you'd expect.  But once I got the dimensions correct it was highly repeatable!

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Footboard was the first thing assembled as it is only 3 pieces and not complicated.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Forming and planning the bed rail shape and design.  This was sort of fun because it was whimsical.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Glued up, now it was time to rough cut and begin shaping

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Here you can see some of the early shaping of the glued up side pieces.  I kept these tapes together for a LOT of this process just to ensure they stayed the same shape.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

The rails were the second thing I put together.  They were a lot more complex with the curves and design I desired.  I wasn't going off a plan, so lots of things were decisions on the fly.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Close up of my router matching with my cove bit.  Cove.  Simple.  GET IT?  SIMPLECOVE.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Another shot of the bed rail glue and screw up

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Close up of the bed slat supports.  The holes are for screws - these are the only hardware used aside from those to mount the bed rail hardware.  Note the cutouts here - that is for the slats to seat into and (hopefully) not slide around.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Close up of the lamination of the top part of the headboard.  I should have done this PRIOR to giving it an uneven clamping surface.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

headboard glue up.  I was solo, so not many pictures of me battling slat straighness and finessing the last mortises they sat in

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

And its in one piece!  This was a major hurdle in the project - the most complicated part was a single part!

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Which means I can start seeing it look like a bed (notice the clamps here holding it all together)

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

So happy the headboard is one piece now to drill a hole in it!

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

This is a hole I drilled filled with a plug I cut.  Behind the plug is a very thin, very long plane shaving of beech with a note written in sharpie on it.  I know not if it will be found in my lifetime nor my sons.  I hope it is never found, but if it is, it will hopefully mean a lot to him.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Bed hardware close up

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

"is my bed ready" was said 43,678 times during this project.  The answer was the same 43,677 times.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Fir bed slats.  These were really fun because they were super simple and just required rounding the edges, and a few coats of high gloss armrseal (high gloss for cleanability here!)

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Detail on the headboard rail - this accepts Brio and other similar trains.  Rockler sells the bits to make this profile as well.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Not pictured, but this does break down and uses Rockler bed rail supports, which installed very nicely.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Back right side - you can see here that this is made with 5/4 boards stacked, doweled, and laminated the second thickness to the top to build the shape of the rails.  

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Front Left angle

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Some detail on the top of the bed posts - no real math here, just lots of testing until I could make the points centered.  Love the way the gelstain applied here - really adds to the antiqued feel a bit

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

I decided the slats should roll up for easy packing/handling.  The nylon webbing was courtesy of my wife, which I then stapled and then hot glued down (concern was the staples rubbing/ripping the mattress here)

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Detail on the headboard.  This is the side you never really see, but you can sort of see my laminations and my efforts on joinery for those slats.  That was a one man glue up, and was crazy hectic.

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Overall shot of it

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Another view of the sidebboard

Photo of Big Boy Bed with a Brio train rail

Hey, that's me!  If I look tired, its accurate - I was SO happy to have this project done and ready to move out of the shop!

1 comment

That's such an awesome bed! Great job and thanks for sharing here on SimpleCove.

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