This section is from the book "Amateur Work Magazine Vol6". Also available from Amazon: Amateur Work.
John F. Adams
The bedstead here described is an English design which appeared in the early part of the 19th century, and has a light yet strong appearance, which is very attractive. For a dark wood mahogany is the most suitable, and as the required quantity of lumber is not large, the cost for same would not make it at all expensive. Or bird's-eye maple, with light pearl stain, would be quite pleasing and would be out of the ordinary effects.
The head and foot boards are alike with the exception that the headboard is 6 in. higher that the footboard. The corner posts are 2 1/4 in. square and are 3 ft. 10 in. and 3 ft. 4 in. long, respectively for head and foot boards. The bottom ends are tapered down to 1 3/4 in. square, the taper beginning 10 in. from the ends. They are 4 ft. 6 in. apart, and allowing 1 1/2 in. on each end for tenons the top rail is 4 ft. 9 in. long. 1 3/4 in. wide and 1 1/2 in. thick. The curve in these pieces reduces the lineal length by 2/3 in., so the mortises in the posts are only 1 1/4 in. deep and 1 in. wide. It will be best to have the rails steam bent, as otherwise the assembling will be a vexatious matter. If steam bending cannot conveniently be done, the rails can be clamped down to a piece of rough timber, blocking up the center 3 in., and the mortises for the spindles cut to the proper angles.
The spindles, 30 in number, are spaced 1 in. apart, and require 30 pieces 3/4 in. square and 38 in. long; these being cut to give the long and short pieces for head and foot boards. The pieces at the bottom of the spindles are 4 ft. 7 1/2 in. long, allowing 3/4 in. tenons on the ends, 1 3/4 in. wide and 1 1/4 in. thick. In addition to the mortises for the spindles cut in the top sides, grooves 3/8 in. wide and deep for the panel board are cut on the under side. This can best be done with a 3/8 in. grooving plane, a wooden one costing but little and is always a handy tool for cabinet work. The pieces under the panel boards are the same length and width as the pieces above, but are only 1 in. thick. Grooves are cut on the upper sides of these pieces. The tenons on the ends are 1 in. wide and 3/4 in. long. The panel board is 4 ft. 7 in.. long, 10 1/2 in. wide and 3/8 in. thick, grooves 3/8 in. wide and 1/2 in. deep being cut in the posts between the mortises for the pieces above and below it. All grooves and mortises are centered in the pieces in which they are cut.
The sideboards are 6 ft. 2 1/2 in. long, and require two pieces 10 in. wide and 7/8 in. thick; four pieces of moulding 1 in. wide along the top and bottom outside edges, and two strips 1 1/2 in. wide and 3/4 or 7/8 in. thick, on the lower inside edge in which are cut slots for the bed slats. By inspecting any wooden bed, the spacing and dimensions of the slats may be obtained; the slats may be purchased of any furniture dealer. The moulding mentioned should be a plain pattern without sharp edges, which would splinter or break off with wear, and is fastened on with glue and wire brads.
It would also be advisable to bore holes and drive wire nails through the tops and bottoms of a few of the spindles, to hold the top rails from lifting away from the spindles. By cutting off the heads of the nails only small holes will be needed, which can be fitted with stained putty, using an oil stain. The tenons on the rails and pieces above and below the panel board should also be similarly pined with larger nails or wooden pins.
The tops of the posts are covered with caps cut from pieces 3 1/2 in. square and 3/4 in. thick; the edges being beveled off to a thickness of about 1/8 in. Shallow mortises fitting the tops of the posts are cut on the under sides of these caps, which are fastened in place with glue and a few long wire nails of small gauge.
The hangers for the sideboards should be a kind which can be attached with long screws, as it is a difficult matter to put in the kind commonly used on wooden beds, unless one has a small circular saw with which to cut the slots. The castors most appropriate are those having square ferules covering the ends of the posts, but whatever castor is used should have a screw plate large enough to prevent undue strain on the post, else it might be split when moving the bed about for house cleaning. The ball bearing castor which does not require cutting into the post is quite suitable. The materials for this bed will cost from $8 to $10, depending upon the price paid for the lumber.