Hickory Bunk Bed

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Originally I planned to make the bed from curly/figured maple, but 1) I don’t have enough of the curly maple and 2) at the time I only found hard maple for $7.99 bdft. I planned maple because it was part of a mixed lumber deal I found on FB marketplace.

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I thought about driving up to NC, but time is an issue. So I called a sawyer that I had previously purchased hickory from. He had just cut a maple log, so it’s no where near ready, but he has plenty of hickory—and my daughter, for whom the bunk is being made, likes the different colors found hickory.

A few hours later I’m home with three slabs (actually 6, but we cut down the 12’ slabs to 8’ and 4’). And the milling begins.

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Hickory needs sharp planer knives! After planing:

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My FIL has a drum sander, so several passes later:

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New knives to be installed in planer and hopefully run the rails through the planer tomorrow.

Bunk bed is loosely based on this design:

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drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Several years back, at the request of son/daughter-in-law, I made a set of bunk beds for my two grandsons....fast forward a couple of years and I made another set of bunk beds their expanded family (they now have four sons). The beds were fun to build!

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zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Changed out to new blades yesterday during the youngest’s nap time.

Long rails were planed and short rails cut. Forgot to take a picture of the planer shavings. Only managed picture of the short rails.

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zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Short rails planed.

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And filling knots with epoxy:

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I’m still getting a bit of tear out, even with new planer knives. I tried a light mist of water on the board and a lighter cut without change (two tips I read somewhere). Any other suggestions to avoid tear out with hickory?
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Donn,

Do you happen to remember the following dimensions: distance between floor and bottom bed rail? Distance between bottom mattress top and upper bed rail? Distance between lower and upper rails?

I’m laying out dimensions beginning with overall post height of 6’ and distance between floor and lower bed rail 12”. Rough estimates between lower mattress and upper rails is 27”, which seems too close.

Several years back, at the request of son/daughter-in-law, I made a set of bunk beds for my two grandsons....fast forward a couple of years and I made another set of bunk beds their expanded family (they now have four sons). The beds were fun to build!
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I’m still getting a bit of tear out, even with new planer knives. I tried a light mist of water on the board and a lighter cut without change (two tips I read somewhere). Any other suggestions to avoid tear out with hickory?
Tear out goes along with planing any wood with knots. Using a higher grade board with no knots will pretty much eliminate the tear out problem, but that's one of those "in a perfect world" fantasies. Wish it were different.
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
So far so good. Planer blades were new and are still sharp. I’m using an old glue line blade for ripping that seems to be holding up well. The sander is going to get another workout next weekend due to the planer tear out.

I’m way too spoiled by soft lumber—I had to rip some cypress today for workbench drawers. I thought I was going to fall over it cut so easily!

Zach, how’s the hickory treating your your edge tools?
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
Minor updates.

I’ve filled knots with 2 part epoxy over the past two weeks. A nice quiet activity for after my kids go to bed—except for the hairdryer.

Today I started on the rails. Originally I was going to clamp them horizontally and use my router with mortise good jig, but decided to go vertical. The jig was also tippy, so I ended up free handing followed up with chisels—glad this part will be hidden once the bed is assembled. The second picture is the throwaway jig used for supporting the router.

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zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
More time to work on the project today.

Mortised posts for bed hardware and used my reconstructed jig. I used plexiglass for the original base and dropped it, so I decided to use luan for this one:

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Then I tried predrilling and then running screws into the rails to determine spacing for cross pieces—apparently hickory is not as forgiving as pine. I predrilled with a 9/64” bit for a #10 screw (probably from Lowe’s several years sgoand this happened:

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Using a test piece I tried another brand of screw without predrilling and was able to run the screw in and remove without issue. Now another trip to the hardware store for more GRK fasteners!

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