“Platform Bed” build is soon to begin

September 28, 2013

If you haven’t heard the latest Wood Talk episode then you missed me mentioning that I’m about to get started with a new project. Unlike the last couple of “small” weekend projects I posted videos on, this one is a lot different, I’m building my son Aiden a platform bed.

Platform bed from Matt's Basement Workshop

If you’ve been following the show since the beginning (or have been insane enough to go all the way back through the archives) you might remember that several years ago I built Aiden a dresser. I shared part of that building process with everyone, but unfortunately completely failed to document the whole process. I’m not making that mistake this time around, I’m planning on sharing as much of the process to build this bed as is possible.

As soon as I finish writing this post I’m heading into the shop to get started on the first part of the build, the “undercarriage” as I’m calling it. I’m confident this bed is wildly over-engineered (or foolishly under and I’m deluding myself) but I’d rather be safe than sorry and it’s a great excuse to spend more time in the shop and experiment.

Platform bed undercarriage

For those who are interested, the plan is to make the bed of solid maple for the show pieces and the “undercarriage” will be constructed from poplar. It’s being built for a queen-size mattress with no box-spring, just mattress and a over-sleeping teenage boy.

Again, I’m planning to document AS MUCH as possible of the build and already have the Sketch-up plan worked out for eventual release (and subsequent release if there’s changes down the road as it’s being built).

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  1. Matt, I like your design. Can’t wait to follow along on this build. A really useful tool for estimating how much deflection you are going to get is the “sagulator”. http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm

    It has options for most of the common wood species (poplar is listed as yellow-poplar) You can put in the dimensions of your rails as the shelf and the vertical pieces underneath the rails as the edging to get an estimate and at least play with how much of a change in deflection you could expect from using thicker/thinner materials. Estimating the dimensions from you image I was getting a max sag of ~1/4in with 3/4″ thick support rails and ~1/8″ with 1-1/2″ thick support rails.


    • Matt says:

      I love that calculator! 1/4″ sag is perfectly acceptable as far as I’m concerned.

      I think, combined with the slats, the mattress will more than compensate.

      Thanks for following along, more to come soon!

  2. glen says:

    Matt – awesome! Glad to see you tackling this project as a low platform bed is in my near future as well. Rock on dude!

  3. Mike says:

    Matt – something to think about when building platform beds. I travel about 30 weeks a year for business so have stayed at a lot of hotels and have slept in as many beds. Sometimes on platform beds, the platform sticks out too far from the matress and you knock your shin every time you try to get into the bed. It hurts like hell. So maybe have your son get in and out of his bed a few times and measure how close his shin gets to the existing bed rail. That will give you an idea as to how wide you can make the platform. Lots of people like the look of a wide exposed wooden platform but too wide and you are asking for bruises. Might also consider rounding the outside corners of the mitres a little bit for the same reason. keep up the great work and looking forward to watching the bed build.

    • Matt says:

      That’s awesome advice! Thank you!!!

      I had thought about something like that but figured I was overthinking it.

      • Mike says:

        Or you could go the other route and just put some of those pigeon spikes they use on tall buildings on the platform. Your son will learn pretty quick to keep his shins at a safe distance….

        I have two bed builds in my future (could be next year, could be 5 years, you know the drill) so I can’t wait to watch yours.

  4. Karin says:


    The bed is awesome. Greatly enjoy the video series. I am making a king size platform. I’m still in the planning stages. Any ideas on how you would tackle this? I want something I can disassemble if I were ever to move houses. Would you suggest I build two twin boxes as the base?

    • Matt says:

      I made a king size bed for my wife and I, but it wasn’t a platform version. If the platform was something along the lines of what I’m building right now then I’d probably consider designing it so it could come apart into four pieces for easy disassembly. Probably some sort of knock-down fasteners or connectors like these at Lee Valley.

      As for the box underneath. I like the idea of two boxes instead of one. It would give you extra support and rigidity in the center, where it’s needed the most on a bed this size. This would definitely make it easier to disassemble too LOL! Hope this helps at least a little bit.

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